Date Reporters

Sona’s New Motto: Ignore the Left Sidebar, Pay More Attention to Dates

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This is the latest post from our San Francisco-based Date Reporter, Sona. Catch up on her story here.

Looking back at every guy who’s broken my heart, even in the tiniest way, I see a pattern: hifalutin business types and socially awkward overworked techie boys who refuse to make effort, who’d rather play games than court a woman.

Jared* was different. Our backgrounds and lifestyles couldn’t be more different. But I have never experienced a guy who was so darn sweet. I’m not jumping the gun on him after three dates —when it comes to relationships, no matter how warm, shallow, and calm the waters are, I wear a life vest and carry a signal flare. That’s how much my guard is up. And in all honestly, our final date did lack a solid connection and felt a bit forced; another date is not in our future. Plus, he actually likes cream cheese in his sushi, which is just a deal-breaker.

Nevertheless, it was Jared’s gentlemanly behavior that really impressed me. Before our second date of sushi and sake, he came to my apartment to fetch me. He complimented my appearance. He brought me flowers. Flowers! No one besides my parents has ever given me flowers. For our third date, he asked if he could make me dinner at my apartment.

While none of these behaviors sound extraordinarily debonair, perhaps it’s an indication of dysfunctional my love life has been, and how high my tolerance used to be for crappy behavior. I once dated a guy for five months who never once told me I was pretty. Another one completely ignored my birthday after we’d been dating three months. One guy made me take the bus to our Valentine’s Day date, even though I had a sprained ankle and he owned a car. I’ve sat through countless dates where the guy talks about how much funding his startup has raised, complains that “all women in San Francisco are ugly”, and boasts about the number of notches on his bedpost.

The sad part is, the overwhelming majority of these guys fit into the mold I’ve created for a prospective mate. I’ve always had tunnel vision about who I am willing to date: elite education, prestigious job, world traveler, networked. The male version of me on paper. These are my baseline filters that I apply to prospective dates — it’s even easier online, because I can simply click a button to hide anyone who doesn’t fit my basic criteria then rate their profiles on humor and lifestyle.

Luckily, I’ve come a long way in not allowing men to mistreat me and setting boundaries. Nevertheless, maybe it’s time to reevaluate what I consider my ‘type’ and date the unexpected. That means choosing more guys like Jared based on interests and personality, the types of dates he suggests (art walks! Frisbee-golf! blowing bubbles in the park! mocking hipsters!). And paying less attention to the left sidebar on his profile.

Ultimately, how a man treats me and makes me feel is more important than how he makes a living.

Sona is a Midwestern transplant living in San Francisco, where she’s lost her tolerance for cold weather and is attempting to become a wine snob. She works in online advertising, figuring out the best way to make advertising useful and not distracting. She’s a runner, reader, and a pro at spreading out her vacation days to travel the globe. Because we know you can’t get enough of her dating stories, read more on her blog, UrbanCourtship.