50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #19 – Drive home in my pajamas

OK, this didn’t start out as one of my crazy things. It was, however, pretty out there for me and definitely qualified!

20151202_153742

This is how I started my day – reasonably well dressed library branch head!

Nicole Hampton-Montgomery and I have co-lead the Parent Child Mother Goose program in Logan Lake for five or so years. We love it and we love singing and rhyming with all the little ones (age 0-5) and their parents. Each Mother Goose session runs once a week for eight weeks. On the last night of each session, and sometimes on random nights, we will have pajama night and everyone, parents, kids, and Nicole and I all wear our pajamas. It’s a lot of fun and they like seeing us dressed funny.

mother goose feet

Pajama night at Mother Goose – not showing faces for privacy reasons and also we just like feet pictures for some reason. Those are my Santa socks up near the top.

Now, Nicole and I have matching pajamas because she was lucky enough to find them at the Walmart in Merritt. She texted to see if I wanted a pair and I said, Hell ya! Who wouldn’t want a pair of blue flannels with Olaf from Frozen on them??? Duh!

20151202_191225

Later, Nicole and I in our matching Olaf pajamas. She hadn’t yet thrown down her evil dare.

I always come directly in my dress clothes from work and change when I get to the high school where we hold the program. Usually, I change back in to my dress clothes to do the 45 minute drive home….. usually!

On December 2nd, Nicole, one of my best friends, threw down a serious dare. I went to go change after everyone had left and she, in a most horrible and evil way, said “I dare you to drive home in that!” It was just like that, she threw down a serious dare and there was no way I could get out of it. “Come on, Crazy girl, show us what you’ve got.” She just stood there grinning, taunting me.

In reality she wanted to leave and didn’t want to wait for me to change, but when a dare is thrown down it’s a big deal. I had to do it.

The dress boots – the only shoes I had besides the Santa Claus socks I wore that night to complete my ensemble, made the outfit.

I reluctantly agreed. I don’t wear my pajamas out in the real world. I’ll wear a lot of other embarrassing things but I cringe if I have to run out to the car because I forgot something and I’m in my pajamas. Apparently, though, according to a visual survey at Walmart – for most people it’s not that big of a deal!

20151202_191418

How I drove home that night, pretty much convinced for the entire 45 minutes that I was about to be arrested for multiple fashion violations.

So, dreading it, I got in the car and started the drive home. I was a bit paranoid… what if I had a tail light out? I renewed my insurance… didn’t I? What if I’m in an accident?

I’m pretty sure I was the most cautious driver on the road that night, particularly given the fact that I know some of the Logan Lake RCMP officers and getting pulled over by one of them would only make the situation worse… much worse!

On that note, my drove home at about 7:30 on Wednesday nights is usually pretty quiet. I see some traffic going to the mine, and some skiers once I hit Stake Lake. On that night, however, I saw a record number of emergency vehicles with their lights on. It was unbelievable! Police, ambulances, all over the place!

When I finally got home (slower than usual) and my mom greeted me at the door she was visibly surprised. “It was a dare,” I told her, without waiting for her to comment. “I blame Nicole!”

Why was this crazy?
Not sure but for some reason, my pajamas are meant for lounging at home or singing The Wheels on the Bus at Mother Goose! This was just wrong!

Would I do it again?
Not if I can help it!

Advertisements

50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #18 – The Moustache Miler – Spontaneous Mingling

I really hadn’t planned to go to Vancouver late in November. It’s not usually a time I drive down unless I have to because the roads can be very hit or miss. After meeting Gord Kurenoff from the Vancouver Sun at the Rock n Roll 10K, though, I suddenly realized I needed to do something a little spontaneous. He invited me down for the Moustache Miler – a fundraiser for prostate cancer and part of the activities planned for Movember. The idea is you run, you wear a moustache, and you have fun… all for a good cause. I realized I could get some business done as well when I came down so I threw caution to the wind and registered. I didn’t plan a lot, I felt very disorganized, and yet I just went for it. I planned two business meetings for the same trip to maximize my time and then I enjoyed two solo nights in a hotel with no schedule other than running the race on Saturday.

Gord and I had became friends on social media and he nudged me into coming and wearing a costume for the event. He was running as a moose with a moustache – a moostache (Gord is bursting with puns!).

20151121_101812

Gord Kurenoff – Moostache Miler

Deciding on a costume that Gord suggested, I promptly got busy doing other things and didn’t get my costume together much before the event. In fact, the important elements in the costume didn’t come together until the night before.

The Costume

My costume? The Swedish Chef from the Muppets! Gord had listed off a pile of famous moustaches for potential costumes and when he said the Swedish Chef a lightbulb went off in my brain! I love the muppets, I love the Swedish Chef… and hey… I’m Swedish!

Aside from a chef’s hat I got at Value Village in the Halloween area, a white apron from Krista Dick, and a plaid shirt I already owned, I had no idea how I was going to pull it off. How would I make my moustache and eyebrows? They were the key element in the costume. It wouldn’t be a Movember costume without a moustache!

It wasn’t until the day before the race that I was walking around downtown Vancouver looking for an idea when I finally came up with it in a cheap Vancouver souvenir store. I felt bad, for like a minute, but the colour was perfect, the price was right, and I had brought a sewing kit just for this purpose. That night in the hotel room I got to work.

RIP Squatchi

20151120_181510

Yup, I did it 😦

I skinned the little guy, one of the Vancouver Olympic mascots, and made eyebrow shaped pieces that I sewed right to the chef’s hat (stroke of brilliance)… I had started out thinking I would tape them to my eyebrows or my glasses but this worked way better. After a few attempts that didn’t look right I finally got a pair that worked. I had to wonder if Vanoc (the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee) or the IOC (International Olympic Committee) was going to come after me for desecrating a sacred mascot from an event that happened five years earlier… they have spies everywhere! And who knew my hair is the exact same colour as Squatchi?

Next, the moustache. I carefully studied pictures of my hero and finally came up with an appropriate mustache shape. There was so much mascot hair all over my room I’m sure the cleaning staff were going to be seriously confused… or maybe they were just too smart to ask questions.

I used double sided tape for my moustache, which worked in the beginning but by the end of the run had no stick left. Gord told me later that the moustaches always fall off due to the sweat factor and the best results came from using the glue that people stick false eyelashes on with. Obviously, I’ve never used false eyelashes… that seems pretty obvious.

Gord the Moose and I had fun. I met his awesome (and very tolerant) wife, and his mom and step dad who were doing their first 5K walk that day.

As a run it sucked – don’t wear flannel when running… I also can’t believe how poorly I run whenever I’m in Vancouver, it’s like I can’t breathe because of the humidity. But, I finished, got lots of high fives, lots of laughs, and had a really good time.

I still know nobody there except Gord and his family but I had a lot of fun.

Why was this crazy?

I don’t usually go to small events like this alone when I don’t know anybody. My introvert self kicks in and wants to hide in the corner and wish it would all go away. Not saying I didn’t do that, but at least I showed up! I didn’t say no just because I knew exactly how I would react. I forced myself to interact with strangers, have fun, and be lighthearted. Leaving the after party in the early afternoon I was exhausted… mingling is very hard work for an introvert!

Would I do it again?

Ugh. Yes. I will probably never like being in that position but every time I put myself out there it will likely be a lot easier. The run itself was great fun – I’d love to see one in Kamloops, and I’d definitely go do it again… but maybe not wear flannel next time!

Oh, and did you see Gord’s blog? I made two of his blogs this year and even his year end review… gotta up my game next year to three or more!

20151121_112214

Got the moutache medal!

50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year # 17 – Wear a wedding dress

white weddingSo, obviously, I’ve never been married and I’ve never even really entertained the whole big wedding dream idea. It’s safe to say that even if I was going to get married, the whole wedding industry would collapse if they were relying on my business. The spectacle, the attention, the formality – I usually don’t even like going to weddings.

When my 50 Crazy Things list came up it was a bit of a joke that I should wear a wedding dress before my 50th birthday, even though at the time I hadn’t even gone on a date in years. I planned to wear a white running outfit with a white tutu and veil at a Colour Me Rad race but I couldn’t get the dates to work so I let the idea go until Jody Lenarcic, Krista Dick, Monica Williams, Trisha Cooper and I started planning our girls weekend at the Rock N’ Roll 10K in Vancouver in October. We were thinking of costumes and suddenly I got the idea that I could go as a Rock n’ Roll bride and that would satisfy the crazy thing. Well, apparently you can’t have a bride without bridesmaids! When I asked them if they would be willing to participate in my special day they all shouted “Yes!” and started pestering me about colour schemes – I was instantly overwhelmed.

The plan progressed and since I didn’t want them to go to a lot of expense for this, I said they should wear black and then they could put coloured tutus and accessories over top. I had transfers made for their shirts and I wore a white shirt and white tutu with some black accessories. Easy!

They each picked a colour and had hair things (name… kind of like a garland?), arm warmers, and skirts in their chosen colour. I made the transfers for their black t-shirts and at the last minute I had a stroke of brilliance (not even bragging!) – I looked for the font I knew must really exist and I was rewarded with much joy… the Iron Maiden font did exist… we were going to be the Bride and the Brides Maidens! It was brilliant! The front of their shirts said “Brides Maiden” and the backs said “We knew the bride when she used to rock and roll.” The front of my white shirt just said “Bride” and the back said, “Nice day for a white wedding.” I had a black veil, grey lace sewn to my waterbelt, a huge spider engagement ring, black lace arm things (name…I have no vocabulary for fashion), and we were all covered in tattoos… some were real… some, including all of mine, were fake. We also had plastic bouquets – all spray painted black. I have to say, we looked freaking awesome!

Conveniently the run is right before Halloween so we got great costume accessories at the Halloween Spirit Store and Value Village. Being frugal, we also realized that with a bit of tweaking we could use most of our accessories in our Sugar Plum Fairy costumes for the Santa Shuffle in December. Bonus!

20151023_110226

5 women, 2 nights, 1 SUV stuffed to the rafters

The trip was a riot, as always. We had five women in a quint hotel room at the Y Hotel Residence in Vancouver. It was like a pajama party for the over 40 set and all five of us had our own beds. Monica expertly handled all the ironing duties for getting the shirts done and we all spent the night before the race eating rockets (Halloween candy… prerace carb loading), drinking a little bit, and having a blast. Huge shout out here to my neighbours Patty and Stacy who let me print all the shirt transfers on their inkjet printer since my laser printer wouldn’t cut it.

20151024_073624

Hotel room selfie the morning of my big day

The morning of the race our costumes came together. Rock N’ Roll races are known for their costumes but this was pretty new to Vancouver so we didn’t know how many others would get into the spirit of the race – a lot did – including my future groom!

Wait for it….

We made our way through downtown Vancouver to the shuttle that would take us to the starting line. Already we were starting to turn some heads and get some laughs. The starting area in English Bay was a lot of fun. There were lots of costumes! We were getting our picture taken in front of the Inukshuk down by the water when we saw another group of costumed runners and in them was my future groom… Alice Cooper! A guy dressed as Alice was there and we had our picture taken with him. It turns out he belongs to a huge Running Race Costume group that I also belong to on Facebook and we both posted pictures later.

20151024_084723

Hey mom… I met a guy!

We also met Vancouver Sun sports blogger Gord Kurenoff, a former Kamloopsian, who included us in his blog. He’s an awesome guy and very inspirational.

As we ran the race Trisha went ahead as it was her first 10K and we didn’t want to slow her down. Monica and Krista run together so they took off too. Jody and I hung back and enjoyed running alongside women dressed as the Absolutely Fabulous duo and others. I have never had so much attention in a race – but a lot of people actually thought it was a staggette and I was really getting married. People were congratulating me all over the place. I tried explaining and finally Jody said to me, “Give up. Just say thank you!”

20151024_114354

We finished the race and had a blast and that night, over dinner in Chinatown, we were already thinking of what we would do for next year – it will be hard to top Bride and the Brides Maidens!

Why was this crazy?

Oh please! Have you met me? I am seriously not the wedding dress type. So many people were excited that I was going to wear a wedding dress, though, until they saw what it looked like. Then their dreams of Vesta in a poofy wedding dress exploded in a burst of gothic-looking confetti.

Would I do it again?

Hell ya! Would I do it for real? Not bloody likely! Hue thanks to Jody, Krista, Monica, and Trisha for being the best bridesmaids EVER!

50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #16 – Ride on a motorcycle

Let’s just make this clear – Born to Be Wild is NOT my theme song!

IMG_0565

Yes, I rode a motorcycle. Yes, Tracy Odber survived!

To say I’m not into motorcycles would be an understatement. Not only do they not appeal to me, they scare me. I hear the horror stories and I know friends of friends who have (fill in the blank with any selection of motorcycle horror stories). So, because I actually fear them, I know I had to add it to my list of 50 Crazy Things. Luckily, I have a large contingent of friends who were more than happy to help me get out of my comfort zone on two wheels. A number of my friends are Harley Davidson enthusiasts, a few like other brands of bikes, but they are all touring enthusiasts and they all get very animated when talking about sitting for his many hours in the hot sun wearing leather and nearly getting hit by other vehicles. My… that sounds like fun! (not!)

So, early on when I was planning my list I had plenty of volunteers. Around the time I decided to do it, some were away on motorcycle trips (go figure), but the two I fully expected to do this with, Tracy and Yvonne Odber, were at home and Tracy was more than willing to let me sit behind him and squeeze the stuffing out of him while he steered. What a guy!

Yvonne and I made plans to get together on September 29th because our lives had gotten way too busy. I didn’t realize I would also be riding the motorcycle that day. When I got to her place I had to turn around and go home to get changed. I wasn’t riding a motorcycle in shorts and flip flops! Jeans and runners it was.

Tracy and Yvonne ride a bike they have named Autumn. She is a 2015 Harley Davidson Road Glide CVO (whatever that means). Before I got there Tracy polished her up so she was sparkling in the sunshine. I’m pretty sure he would have been polishing her whether I was coming or not. I don’t think that bike ever gets very dirty!

Yvonne lent me her leather jacket and a helmet. Tracy lovingly showed me all of Autumn’s special details – the chrome, the holographic paint job… I’m sure there were other things. From an aesthetic point of view, Autumn is very pretty .. even I admit that.

20150929_160039

Me  – smiling on the outside, screaming on the inside. Tracy – smiling all the time.

After all of that Tracy got on the bike and I got on behind. It was surprisingly comfortable. Autumn is meant for touring, long rides, and the comfort of the person riding in the back. I’ve seen many others (many on my online dating matches) that don’t look nearly as comfortable. Yvonne says there are times she could fall asleep on the back of the bike. I’m pretty sure I would never get to that state of relaxation on a motorcycle but good on her.

My thing against motorcycles is the feeling of being exposed and vulnerable. If anything happens there is no big car frame to offer at least a first level of protection. There’s a leather jacket – not very comforting! Plus, there’s that speed thing (a recurring theme in these crazy things) and the leaning into the corners… just typing that makes my stomach lurch! My 2007 Honda Fit doesn’t lean… ever! Tracy, to his extreme credit, barely leaned into any corner we drove on… bless his heart! I think he may have actually done this for his own safety and the continued structure integrity of his rib cage. Too much leaning and my panic may have limited his ability to breathe!

The ride itself was surprisingly peaceful and nearly pleasant. We went out to the airport and back along Ord Rd. Tracy didn’t lean much, we could actually talk, and there were hardly any cars. I consider this a win. Tracy’s ribs arrived back at the house in relatively the same shape they left in. My thighs, however, were exhausted from squeezing tightly the entire time – good workout!

Why was this crazy?

Oh, the usual – not big on being out of control, being exposed, being vulnerable, etc.

Would I do it again?

I still felt vulnerable, but being alive makes you vulnerable so it’s a risk that can be taken. I wouldn’t say I was dying to jump on a bike again, but if the opportunity arose I wouldn’t necessarily run away screaming. I wouldn’t be jumping up and down in excitement either. I would say it wasn’t as bad as I expected it would be and I’m really glad I did it.

Thanks so much to Tracy and Yvonne for making this happen for me!

20150929_162528

Tracy, Yvonne, and Autumn… motorcycle freaks but I love them anyway!

50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #15 – Beat the Blerch – Get out of control

reeds

This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it is a huge deal to me.

I am always the person who organizes, plans, controls. I don’t always want to be but often that’s the role I fall into and I do it fairly willingly. When something needs to be organized, the people I am with often look to me. I used to resist this, but I often end up with this attitude of, “I’ll do it because nobody else will.” That’s probably not true, but that’s the way it feels.

Lately, having started running with Jody Lenarcic and her wonderful husband, Gerry. I have been given the opportunity to let go of control a bit and it’s been quite liberating. Gerry is also an organizer, and when we run he picks our route and makes sure we don’t get lost on the trails. It felt a bit weird at first, but now it’s a lot easier. We run in the Lac Du Bois Grasslands area just above Bachelor Heights in Kamloops. There is an extensive trail network for runners and mountain bikers and this area is right above where Jody and Gerry live.

It feels a bit alarming but even though I’m pretty famous for memorizing landmarks and trails, I would have a hard time running in that area by myself. In the past year I’ve ceded control to Gerry when it comes to trail choice and making sure I don’t get lost.

We decided to do the Beat the Blerch 10K run in Seattle. The run itself is fantastic – one of the best I’ve ever done. It’s the brainchild of a writer and cartoonist known as The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman). He wrote an essay / book called The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances. In it he describes a creature called the Blerch – that voice in your head that tries to stop you from bothering to reach your goals. The idea is that the Blerch is always chasing you, trying to get you to succumb to laziness and excuses. The goal of any runner on any run is to literally beat the Blerch and not let it catch them. For this race, there are live guys dressed as Blerches chasing you on the course, there is a couch for you to rest on, magical fizzy grape juice and cake at the water station, and lots of people in costume. It was our first time at this event and it was outstanding. We will definitely be doing it again.

The crazy part of this trip, however, was only partially the race itself. It was the fact that I consciously, and deliberately, let go of control and refused to let myself organize anything. We had an entire weekend just outside Seattle and I organized nothing. I felt a bit panicked and out of control… like I was going to forget something, or be surprised by something, the whole time. Well, I was surprised… by a lot of things.

When I think about signing up for any race I always look at past results to see roughly where I would finish. I deliberately don’t do small events where I would likely finish last and they would be waiting for me to finish… memories of high school. I usually choose bigger events where I will likely finish somewhere in the middle.

For this event, I refused to let myself look at past results. Instead, I looked at all the fun we could have. Jody and I don’t run fast but we do like to have fun.

I also gave up all control – hotel, transportation, restaurants, etc… all of it… to Gerry and everyone else. There were 5 of us and I controlled nothing the entire weekend. I thought I was going to have a heart attack but I did it. Gerry picked the hotel and reserved it, I jumped into the backseat of their truck and took on the role of passenger. Diane and Catherine met us at the hotel. Right now I can’t even remember which hotel it was… this is astonishing for me!

I think it’s generally a good thing that I’m usually the organizer, but I think it’s good to not do it every once in a while too. The biggest thing I had to learn was to just let it happen, enjoy the process, and embrace the surprises that came my way when I wasn’t so busy making things happen.

We left on the Saturday and the run was on the Sunday. We were staying on the edge of Kirkland, WA (home of Costco) and all of my travel companions decided we would go down to Lake Washington to find a restaurant for dinner. Catherine had been there before. I was along for the ride and agreed to go anywhere. It turns out the waterfront area of Kirkland is spectacular and we were treated to a good dinner, and a fantastic walk after where we enjoyed one of the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen. I took hundreds of pictures. We walked along the dock area looking at all the boats, enjoyed the amazing array of street performers and public sculptures, and just had a wonderful time together. I probably would have looked for a restaurant close to the hotel and I’m so glad for the surprises we enjoyed that evening.

20150912_19151220150912_191632

20150912_191225

This sculpture of kids playing Red Rover was too tempting – Gerry had to play.

 

The next day we went to the start area, which was somewhere in the country (??? no idea where) – I didn’t actually memorize the map of the area like I had before.

It was pouring rain and beautiful. Jody and I didn’t have a spectacular run – we hadn’t trained as much as we would have liked and the humidity nearly did me in. We didn’t finish last – I think we were somewhere in the middle. I don’t really know because to this day I haven’t looked at the results. I know I had a great time, and I know my time probably wasn’t great… if that makes sense!

When Amanda and I went to Florida in February I also gave control to her for the Disney World portion of our trip, and with good reason, she’s a Disney freak and possibly even more of an organizer than I am. She was brilliant! If you are thinking of a trip to Disneyland, check out her new blog Call Me Sweetness. I was in charge of our Universal day, however, so I still had some organizational responsibilities. It turns out they didn’t work out so well and we had to improvise… but no matter.

Why was this crazy?

We all have roles in our lives that we are comfortably, or uncomfortably, slotted into. These are the roles we are expected to fall into when we are with our friends, family, coworkers, etc. I am always the responsible one… it’s who I am. Choosing to not be that person, while not being irresponsible, was definitely out of my comfort zone.

Would I do it again?

Oh yeah! Not only does it make me try on and embrace a different role, it was unbelievably liberating. I felt like I was floating, often without direction, and going where the wind, or the people I was with, decided to take me. It’s a good thing to practice. It was definitely uncomfortable, but I just had to trust the people I was with and learning to do that is a very good thing as well.

50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year – #14 – Go on a date

“active geeky girl seeks active guy with manners”

Ok, it’s taken me a long time to organize my thoughts around this one. This crazy thing, going on a date, was actually completed in August but here it is in January and I’m finally writing about it. The thing is, it doesn’t really have an ending.

I took myself out of the dating pool years ago for various reasons and I thought maybe it would be time to dip my toe back in the water again. The problem is I meet very few single men in my life. I work primarily with women, my library patrons are either beyond creepy, happily married, or over 90, and I’m not a person who goes to bars. I just don’t meet a lot of guys.

Just as I was figuring out how to approach this a friend had some success with online dating. Now, I was the first person to criticize online dating at the time, and for many years before this. I know a lot of people who have tried it and I believed it was a meat market for desperate people. I went into it with an open mind, however, and I was pleasantly surprised. As an introvert, my happy place is online where I can mingle from the safety of my own home. Online dating is perfect! It’s almost like online shopping but there’s no shopping cart.

star wars

I decided to check out Plenty of Fish. I wrote up a profile, rewrote it 10X, got my friend Tammy to check it over… perhaps not my best choice, added some pictures, and once I stopped shaking, I made my profile active… for about five minutes before I hid my profile again in absolute horror.

I immediately got a long list of matches and the contents of this list made me promptly rethink the whole dating concept…. and my lot in life. A convent suddenly looked pretty good.

dating jack

About 40% of my list looked like they were regulars on Duck Dynasty (click link to see what I mean). They all wore camo, were proud of their ATVs and their hunting skills, had long beards and beer bellies. They probably didn’t like Shakespeare. My heart sank. This was not looking good!

The next 40% looked like they were auditioning for Sons of Anarchy (click link if you don’t know). I have a lot of very good friends who live for their motorcycles and even wear leather and all the Harley gear. I’m not that person. I did ride on the back of a motorcycle for one of my crazy things (blog post to come), but it’s not really my thing. Plus, they ride touring bikes, these guys rode bikes with the wide handlebars, loud engines, riding low, all leather and tiny helmets…. definitely not my thing. My heart sank just a little bit more.

After that it got scarier, 10% were just downright creepy. A few library patrons (not the good kind) showed up. Guys who take bodybuilding, and their love for steroids, a bit too far also made an appearance. Then there is a special list I’ll describe later… I call these the all stars. Even if I found the right guy and was in a relationship I would keep my account hidden so the writer in me would have access to characters nobody would believe really existed. These guys are a goldmine for a writer!

The final 10% on my initial list actually gave me hope for humanity, and most of them live in either Vernon or Kelowna. Kelowna must have a serious lack of single women because easily 50% of my most interesting matches are from the Okanagan.

Thoughts on the Dating Process

Rejecting isn’t easy – It never occurred to me that I would have to reject men who asked me out. This was not really a part of my existence before, so the realization that I had absolutely no skills at rejecting people was really shocking. When I first had to start doing it I made a commitment to be kind. It’s hard to put yourself out there and I of all people should know that. Each time I’ve had to do it I feel a little ripped apart inside and it’s almost physically painful. To the guys who have actually read my profile and approached me I have been kind. The other guys, however, the “hey baby how’s it going?” guys, who admit to using drugs in their profile and obviously didn’t read the part in my profile that says any kind of drugs are 100% out of the question… I don’t have as hard of a time rejecting them. I consider my profile to be a bit of a literacy test… if you can’t read and don’t make it to the end of my profile, you have no chance and I’ll pretty much know right away.

Am I too picky? I’ve also put a lot of thought into what were the characteristics or qualities that made me dismiss someone outright based solely on a profile. Sometimes I noticed I would dismiss someone because of his height (too tall or too short… I’m 5’4” so I really don’t have any room to judge). Sometimes it was purely because they liked watching MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). I mentally eliminated someone because he was too good looking. Sometimes the writing snob in me reared her fiery jaws and I eliminated someone because they couldn’t string two sentences together. I went through a brief phase where I eliminated every one of the guys who had a dead fish in their profile picture – easily 50% of my list! Come on, guys! I don’t care if you fish but it almost looks primitive… “Look ladies, I can provide food!” I couldn’t believe how many of them had a dead fish in their profile – big fish (marlin, sturgeon), little fish, salmon, all kinds. It was like show and tell, but smelled like fish. Is this really their best selling feature? I’ve had to let that one go a bit and get over it, but seriously… pick a different picture!

Many of the reasons I rejected men were completely unreasonable. I find this fascinating and it’s really made me look at my interactions with strangers and how people get through my minefield of defenses. This is now an ongoing quest to understand myself better. I’d like to try and figure out why I can like one person instantly, and dislike another person just as fast… and what those opinions are based on. How often do I reject someone really awesome based on a trivial detail like not having a grip on ‘There, their and they’re’? Even the guy I eventually went on a date with… I rejected him right away because he said his idea of roughing it was when room service ended. I figured if he even considers room service I’m not in his league.

The All Stars

Now, remember that 10%… the All Stars? Fodder for writers hungry for original characters? Here are some examples of creatures I’ve encountered on the dating journey thus far. These people have been matched to me, many have viewed my profile, but only a few of them have actually contacted me.

Creatures I’ve encountered…

  • 20 year olds pretending to be 45 (creating a fake profile with the wrong age) because they dig older women – the first time one of these guys contacted me I was dumbfounded… no, I’m not your Mrs. Robinson… and you don’t even know who she was!
  • Dominant seeking submissive … I’m gagging just a lot!
  • Submissive seeking dominant… get a backbone!
  • Man looking for ‘discrete’ companionship – his status says he’s not single / not looking. This guy still views me at least once a week. Because he doesn’t have a picture he can’t contact me… To contact me you have to have a picture and have to be between 43 and 55 years old (unless you’re lying like the 20 year olds – see above). If he does  contact me my “be nice” button will definitely be malfunctioning at the time.
  • Guy looking for immediate company, just in town for the night – profile picture shows jeans with the fly undone and Calvin Klein underwear – seriously??? Get a life!
  • A couple seeking a threesome – just… NO!!!!!
  • A guy seeking a threesome and companionship for his wife while he’s away on business – do I even need to explain how much this grosses me out??
  • A woman to man transsexual – actually looks like an interesting person to know but definitely not what I’m looking for as a date.
  • Conspiracy theorists – my favourite! One step away from a tinfoil hat… trying to convince me through their profile of government secrets, Hollywood mind control, blah blah blah.
  • His headline says, “I guess all the good ones aren’t on Plenty of Fish” – seriously dude, what does that say about the person who bothered to read your profile… let’s just think about that!

Friends of mine have encountered guys who look nothing (I mean NOTHING) like their profile picture. One guy sent a friend a recent picture and he went from cute and fun in his profile picture to serial killer in about 2 milliseconds. She also got a “dick pic” from another guy … yup… an erect penis as a guy’s profile picture…DELETE! Another friend was chatting with a guy she liked when he finally told her his marriage had recently broken up and he was actually into cross dressing… would that be a problem with her? …. PERHAPS!!!!!! She also sent me a screaming message when she was matched with her cousin – ah the perils of small town online dating… I was crying I was laughing so hard!

dating michelle

The Rosie Project

When I started my crazy things last February it was on a plane to Florida with Amanda. I was listening to the audiobook of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. This is a brilliant and hilarious book about a man with some unique views on the world who has recruited his friends to find him a wife. He has a very special list of criteria and a multipage questionnaire to quickly eliminate women who don’t meet his criteria. Of course, it all goes horribly wrong. I actually burst out laughing on the plane, which made Amanda look at me like I had four heads. She read it after and also burst out laughing. I highly recommend this book. It gave me a perspective on dating that has kept me thinking through this process. Of course, when I listened to the audiobook I hadn’t yet added dating to my list of crazy things.

My first contact

I wasn’t going to write about this guy but since he’s shown up again I think I’ll add him for your reading entertainment. Right after I put my profile up he sent me a message. We chatted for a bit. He seemed OK although I couldn’t see his face in his pictures (too far away). His picture showed him on a stand up paddleboard so at least he liked being outside. His profile said he was 51 and he liked a lot of the same activities I do. He asked for a picture of all of me because he could only see my head. All of my pictures were from the shoulders up. Fair enough, I thought, but I could see where it was going. I was very honest in my profile that I still had some pounds to lose. I sent a fun running picture and said he’d need to send one that included his face. He promptly disappeared. It was actually a good thing it happened. I then added this to my profile:

…And if you’re looking for a tall thin super model good luck with that. While I am super, I am not tall. I am curvy and very fit. If you’re my age and looking for mature life experience and conversation wrapped in a 25 year-old body then please keep looking.

The reason I’m including this loser in this blog posting is because he gave me one of the greatest gifts I could ask for. After our conversation and the picture incident he started changing his profile picture almost by the hour – some had his face, some didn’t. I kept him on my ultra match list (the list I could delete from) because I obviously got to him and it was pretty entertaining.

Then he removed his profile and I forgot about him. He reappeared a few weeks later with a different user name. Now this was getting really interesting. He messaged a friend of mine (close to my age). I told her about my experience so she ignored him. Guys, women talk… you’re in a small town… might want to think about that! Then he checked out another friend, she just turned 30, and I told her. She said he was seriously creepy. She had also signed up on another dating site and told me he had a profile there too. That profile said he was 55, not 51. So all this was mildly entertaining when one day he messaged me again. By now I had some good full body pictures on my profile so he knew what I looked like. He was on his third or fourth user name by this time. His message was, “How’s your day going?” Elated, I responded that my day was pretty awesome. He wanted to strike up a conversation. He didn’t get what he was bargaining for!

“You know you’ve message me before right? And you disappeared after you asked for a full picture of me.”

“Oh, I…. uh…My account got deleted.”

“Actually, we were messaging by email, which has nothing to do with your Plenty of Fish account. And I could see you online for weeks after as you changed your profile picture multiple times to include your face. And you have another profile on another site that says you’re 55.”

“I uh… so, what do you do for a living?”

{ignore}

Perhaps my “Be Kind” rejection button was malfunctioning that day… actually I turned it off but I took the high road and didn’t say what I really thought of him! I still keep him in my ultra matches because he’s still pretty entertaining and he has a new username almost every week.

I think every person, male or female, should have that Pretty Woman moment at least once in their lives. It’s the moment where Julia Roberts walks back into a store that refused to help her, dressed to the nines. She says, “Remember me? You wouldn’t serve me… big mistake…big… HUGE!” and then she walks out. I’m pretty grateful to this guy because he gave me my Pretty Woman moment. … big mistake… big…HUGE! I had a big huge grin for the rest of the day.

pretty-woman-wp-1

Crazy Thing Completed

To meet my criteria for a crazy thing, I only had to go on one date before my 50th birthday – my cousin suggested I should have to go on 50 dates … not sure I could handle that. I’ve actually been out with four guys since I started the process. Two of them have become very good friends. The first one I went out with is one of those friends. I’m not mentioning names, careers, or other details. Instead, you get to just sit back and enjoy the high standard I’ve set for ‘excitement on a first date with Vesta’. Let’s just call my first date in decades… Fred.

be yourself

So Fred messaged me. He said, “I’ve read your profile….,” this was good, he passed the literacy part of the test, “and I’d like to go out for coffee with you.” We chatted for a few days while our schedules worked themselves out and then met for coffee downtown.

In online dating terms, this is considered a first meeting before you go on an actual date. This is where you make sure the profile fits the person, determine they’re probably not a serial killer, there’s no Cyrano action happening with a friend and an earbud microphone dictating the conversation, and usually there are plenty of exits for easy escape. I was nervous, and at first we couldn’t find each other… he was outside and I was inside. Eventually we got it all figured out and had a great time chatting on an outdoor patio over coffee and tea for a couple of hours. We really enjoy talking and have lots to talk about together. We decided to walk around downtown and it was awesome.

When we said goodbye and agreed to go out again he hugged me and then we went our separate ways, and immediately a friend, Tomena, who I hadn’t seen standing nearby grabbed me and asked how I was… busted! She totally knew. It was pretty funny.

The Date

A few nights later we met downtown and as I was walking to where we were supposed to meet I walked right by him (doh!). Both of us were tired. He’d had an unexpectedly stressful day at work and for me it was Wednesday… my busiest day of the week. Dinner was good and we finished early. There was still plenty of daylight and it was a nice summer evening so we walked around downtown, still enjoying the excellent conversation. I should add at this point that I was pretty sure we wouldn’t be a couple – too many things we didn’t have in common, but I really liked him as a friend. You can’t underestimate the value of great conversation.

We ended up in Riverside Park and stood and watched Music in the Park for a few minutes before we continued on with no destination in mind. Heading back downtown there was a train coming so we walked over the pedestrian overpass.

Now, this is where I will trump most people’s stories of their first dates. As we walked I was watching Fred while we were talking. I did notice the two young guys we walked past who were sitting on the top level of the overpass. Remember, I walked right past Fred when I was going to meet him – I am at times easily distracted and don’t notice key things in my surroundings… this is important!

As we were walking down the stairs on the other side of the overpass, he pulled out his phone and started dialing. I asked what he was doing, and very calmly he said, “Calling 911!” I was, to say the least, stunned.

“Why?” I asked.

“Didn’t you see? That guy had a gun!”

Now, what I observed was a guy in a white hoodie and another guy playing a harmonica… that’s it! I didn’t even see the gun because I was looking at Fred, and apparently I only notice clothing and musical instruments.

For a guy who says he was scared to death, he looked exactly the same as he had ten minutes earlier. We walked into a parking lot, out of sight of the overpass, and he gave the information to the dispatcher. He was still on the phone when we heard multiple sirens coming from multiple directions. Now, this was getting really interesting.

Not wanting to be seen as the ones calling the police, we walked around the block and came back down third, ending up in the alley between the Bank of Montreal and the old Burris Clinic. We watched as two police cars, lights on, had the end of the overpass blocked off and they were hauling the two guys off in handcuffs. Then Fred’s phone rang. It was the police. They were sending a police car to us so we could give statements.

So, the police car, and the very young and handsome RCMP officer, pull up and Fred has to get in the car to give a statement while I wait outside. My phone then beeps with a text. It’s my friend Marianne. I tell her I’m on a date and my date just got into a police car to give a statement. Marianne was, understandably, excited and we had some serious fun texting when I told her how cute the cop was. I wish I had secretly taken his picture and sent it to her.

Then Fred got out of the police car and I got in to give a statement that basically said I saw nothing. The police said that one of the guys they arrested had assaulted a police officer a few months earlier and they were pretty happy to be able to get them off the streets for a little while.

After this Fred walked me to my car and we had some laughs about our first date. I knew there were no fireworks but I had a big grin. I’d broken the ice and survived my first date in decades. I had a great time, and I had the BEST FIRST DATE STORY …. EVER!!!!

If there aren’t lights, sirens, and handcuffs on a first date it just doesn’t measure up… the bar for my first dates is now pretty high.

Why was this crazy?

Let me count the ways!

Would I do it again?

Absolutely. The thing with online dating is that it’s not much different than the old fashioned way of meeting people. The people I meet online are the same people I would meet at a grocery store, in a bar, on a bus, and in all the other places people who fall in love first meet. Admittedly, online dating in a smaller town like Kamloops is different and more difficult than it would be in Vancouver or another larger city. It’s particularly hard if you grew up here and know half the town.

I’ve always been happy on my own. I’ve never been one to go from relationship to relationship, or suffer because I’m not in a relationship. I’m not willing to settle for someone just for the sake of not being alone. I’m pretty fine alone and very happy. I want someone who enhances my already excellent life. I’m sure there’s a cross country skiing geocacher with a love of Shakespeare, cello music, and sushi out there for me… and if there isn’t, I already have two new friends that I didn’t have before. That puts me firmly in the win column.

By going on my first date, and having the experiences I’ve had so far, it’s really taken the pressure off going out with a guy. I don’t get those nerves anymore – or, not as bad. I don’t take things as personally. This also puts me firmly in the win column and not just for dating but for life in general. I’m much more confident and much less worried about what others think of me.

I haven’t shared all of my dating experiences here… I’ve only scratched the surface, but don’t think I’m letting this gold mine go to waste. There is some pretty awesome material here for a novel or a screenplay and I am keeping meticulous notes! Plus, who knows… I might just meet a keeper… or some more new friends.

titanic