Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not for the indecisive

I have been meaning to post that photo for a long time. Yes, it's a real sign, taken by me. It's at the Target store here in Tacoma (and quite possibly can be found at a Target store near you). The sign actually makes sense in context--these doors are opened manually and swing both ways but these particular doors are designated as the entrances to the store. For absolute accuracy, the sign should read "Do not Exit; Enter Only" but it is more amusing this way.

In other life news, things are not so good. I feel bad about complaining because I know that things could be so.much.worse but I am a selfish beast and all I can focus on is my own pain. I really don't like my job and I can barely drag myself in most days. It doesn't help that I often sleep through my alarm. My alarm clock is far from arm's reach so that I have to physically get up and shut the thing off. But either I often sleep through it or shut it off and lay down again without really being conscious of it (I say this because sometimes I wake up on the couch even though I fall asleep in the bedroom). Regardless of the reason, whether physical, psychosomatic, or psychotic, the end result is the same. I'm often late for work (often really late) because I don't naturally wake up early (and can sleep soundly even with the sun shining on my face) and my boss is out of patience with me. On one hand, I can't blame her but on the other hand, I can't really bring myself to care all that much because I am so irritated and fed up with management at that place. I'm dreading my upcoming review because I am pretty sure I am going to be eviscerated (and will be my first ever non-good review). My boss had a talk with me about my attendance and then said "this month will be a fresh start" by which I have come to realize doesn't mean that I was meant to improve but meant that I was never supposed to screw up again.

I'd like to get another job but there's a hiring freeze at the agency and there just aren't many positions open, even for transfers. I'd even be willing to step down a pay grade if I could find something interesting.

I have since come to the conclusion that I am Depressed. I'm on medication for it but it doesn't seem to be working or at least not as well as I'd like it to work. I've even started going to talk therapy because perhaps all my behavior really is just psychological and if I could figure out why my nightmares are running my life instead of my dreams, then things will get better.

Or maybe I am just a lazy b*tch and need a hard kick in the ass.

This is probably not a really good time to start dating, either. Yes, it's true. About a month ago, I decided that I should start dating and signed up for both the Stranger's Lovelab (my profile is here) as well as eHarmony (not linked because you have to sign up to see it). I decided to try this dating thing since I knew it would take awhile to find someone and I thought it would be good to start while I wasn't feeling lonely or desperate. I have gone on more "dates" over the past six weeks than I have in my life (mostly because I never did the traditional dating when I was younger) and there are a few things I have learned.

1. Dating is exhausting.
2. Dating is expensive.
3. Dating really isn't all that fun.

The LoveLab is more a personal ad site than a matching service. It provides the hosting service and private communication (so you don't have to give out email address, phone number, etc) but all the other work is up to the participants. It's up to you to search, communicate, "flirt", etc. It's a lot of work and time which has yielded very few results--by which I mean just actually meeting someone. Of the 26 emails I sent, I received four responses. Of these four responses, there were three meetups. The first one was a jerk who insulted me as soon as he found out where I worked, the second one went well (I thought) but didn't hear back from the guy for several weeks (when he mentioned he was dating someone else), the third guy either didn't show or we missed each other. The fourth guy never made it to a meetup because after a few emails, he told me he'd started dating someone else so it made no sense to meet. I did appreciate that the guys who told me they were dating someone else (even if it weren't true).

I admit that I have higher expectations for eHarmony but so far it's been a disappointment because this is actually set up as a matching service. eHarmony has a "guided communication" service which I admit is useful. After setting up your profile (which is what your matches see) and filling out your match criteria (which is surprisingly comprehensive), you are sent matches. You can immediately skip the guided communication if you both agree to it; otherwise, the process is this:

Stage 1: send five questions (selected from a long list) which have multiple choice answers. For example. "where would you rather go on a date?" and the responses are a) symphony/ballet/a lecture that appeals to you both, b) sporting event, c) movie, d) nightclub to go dancing, or e) fill-in with your own answer. All of the multiple choice questions have the fill-in option.

Stage 2: send your list of 10 must-haves/10 can't stands, which are selected from a fairly exhaustive list. (It's hard to select just 10.) This list covers issues of sexuality, romance, free-time, personal-space, hygiene, religion, intellectual matters, attitudes toward money, and gender roles.

Stage 3: After that, it's three questions that are answered in your own words. You can select from a list of questions or choose your own.

Stage 4: Direct communication, either through email or phone via the eHarmony site.

At any time, either one of you can "close match", which is essentially a way to tell a person you aren't interested without having to go through the "it's not you, it's me" speech.

I have to admit I've been more disappointed with eHarmony if only because I expected more from the service. I get several matches a day, which is great, except that about 90% of the matches never respond to my initial communication. (I can't remember if there has been anyone who has contacted me first.) Currently, I have 67 matches (in which there has been no communication from either person), 70 in communication phase (most in stage 1), and 76 in the archived tab (in which the match has been closed by either one of us).

Out of a total of 213 matches, I have reached Stage 4 communication with exactly two, and one of them closed the match afterward (to my disappointment because I thought things were going well). I've reached stage 3 with four others, two of whom I've responded to and two others I haven't.

One of my friends says not to get discouraged because I just haven't had enough dating experience yet. A few other friends who have gone through eHarmony said that it does take awhile. And my self-confidence has taken a beating, and I think this is making me more depressed. Part of me thinks I should keep at it because it's a way of working through a problem and part of me says to give it up already until I can at least get a point where my other emotional crap is under control.