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Newfound Friendship with a Girl

Daisy FlowerLast month my friend and I went dancing at a club in San Diego.  Through him, I was able to meet a girl named Mary.  I was surprised when she seemed into me from the start.  “Wow, you’re so tall!” she said, gazing into my eyes with a wide smile.  Her energy captivated me.  We chit-chatted a bit, and I got her email while my friend got her number.  I emailed her a few days later, and we decided to meet for boba milk tea.  We would end up talking for four hours!

“You have this incredible energy about you,” I said.  “I love how free-spirited you are.  You’re the type of girl I’ve always wanted to meet.”

“Why, thank you.  I’m just being me.  I think you’re very special yourself, and not like the other guys I meet.  I was trying to get your attention all night, but you never asked me to dance.  Your arms were crossed, and I just thought you were conceited.”

“I had no idea you were even looking at me,” I said, laughing.  “I was also probably just being timid.  You know, it’s so interesting how we assume things about other people all the time, and most of those assumptions are probably way off.”

“I agree.  It’s really sad, but I guess we’re only human.”

Over the course of the night, Mary kept gazing at me with her piercing blue eyes.  I’d blush, get shy, and then look away briefly.  The more we chatted, the more we realized all the things we had in common, one being our love of walking places.  Eventually, we even discussed plans of doing a walking trip together on the beach.  We’d start in La Jolla or Del Mar and travel-walk without a set destination, a visceral adventure I’d always wanted to experience with a girl.

When the night was winding down, Mary clasped my hands and we mimicked the way we’d hold each other’s hands on the dance floor.  “Your hands are so soft,” she said as her fingers rested in my palms.  “I feel it.  We definitely have a connection.”

“I’m just really grateful a girl like you actually appreciates a guy like me.”

The entire time I was in awe of this girl, how she showered me with so much attention.  We had the type of communication I’d always wanted with a girl.  I couldn’t stop thinking how we had only just met.  Mary seemed drawn to my shy and sweet side, and that highly reassured me.

At the end of the night, I walked her to my car.  “I think we’ll be really good friends,” she said.  She opened her arms, and we embraced.

My body loosened.  Relief washed over me.  I’d always longed for friendship with a girl like her.  At once,  I held romance, beauty, and friendship in my hands.  Pain lifted.  Mary, Mary, I thought.  There’s definitely something about Mary.

Online Dating in San Diego

DSC01577I just finished reading the front-page article of the weekly San Diego Reader, and I felt compelled to write down my thoughts.  On the cover is the drawing of a nervous-looking, attractive blonde with bright blue eyes and juicy red lips with fingers raised to her mouth in shock.  The caption reads “B-but he seemed so…SINGLE!”  Welcome to the world of online dating.

This final front-page article of 2012 is fitting, as many out there–myself included–have had their fair share of struggles with dating.  I will add that in the last three weeks, I have noticed that several of my friends have managed to find a significant other.  I’m sure the holidays–or being able to find someone to share the end of the world with–has a big part to do with these last-minute connections.  After all, who wants to spend this beautiful time of the year alone when everyone else is happily paired?

Oh, the trials and tribulations of navigating the dating world!  The article touches on a lot of important ideas and focuses on how prevalent online dating has become due to sites like Match.com.

The author pretty much verifies what I had thought all along: most people who do online dating are more interested in quick hook-ups than in establishing actual relationships, and that many people lie–they are someone completely different in real life than who they claim to be online.  For guys, in real life they are six inches shorter, fifty pounds heavier, and make less than a quarter of what their online profiles would suggest.  For girls, in real life they are five to twenty years older, one to six inches wider, and don’t have the bikini-ready frame of their online profiles.  For both guys and girls, EVERYONE in San Diego is honest, easy-going, fun, outdoorsy, and loves to surf!

Don’t you just hate liars?  I sure do.  The same goes for players.  Dishonesty is the worst way to begin a relationship.  As for players and people who hop in and out of relationships, it sickens me to think of someone shuffling from one person to the next without much regard.

How do I feel about dating in San Diego in general?  Like the article states, it sucks to be a man in “Man Diego.”  The girls/women here know they’re attractive and most only seem to look for a certain type.  I’m positive they need open themselves to new and different types of people.  Having grown up in San Diego, though things are much better now, I feel many of the females here solely seek out those light-eyed, clean-cut surfer dudes to the exclusion of all others.  And though there are a ton of surfers in San Diego, many still complain there aren’t enough good and available men around.  So, the problem is a lack of quality versus a lack of quantity.  Good and available men are hard to find, but that’s because we exist in your peripheral vision.  Open your eyes and your heart and perhaps that wonderful guy you didn’t see before will open your world.

I admit that when a woman only dates a certain type of guy, I cringe.  Given that a woman often tries to “change her man,” I suspect that many often end up in a vicious cycle of dating the same type of guy over and over again until she gets what she wants, always claiming “this one’s different” while playing the nurturing role of caretaker by secretly trying to change him.  In reality, what needs to change is the type of guy she dates.  The secret to breaking the cycle is to go out and date an Asian guy.  He’ll rock your world and make it whole, and have you start believing again.:)

But, back to the topic of online dating in San Diego.  I say, why not?  Through Facebook and the Internet, you can get to know many people you would not otherwise have had the chance to talk to.  It’s easier to find common ground that you think.  Why limit yourself only to those you brush shoulders with when there’s a much bigger segment of the population you’re completely missing out on?  When getting to know someone online, not only can you see someone’s pictures and judge physical attraction, but you can immediately read his/her stats and find out his/her hobbies to see what you have in common.

With online dating everything happens at a fast-forward pace–you find a lot of general facts about someone in a short amount of time–but you miss the little details, which reveal more about someone than a list of superficial information.  But, I guess that’s better than in real life where people often just don’t take the time to get to know each other at all.  At times, I feel like you literally have to crash into someone just to get his/her attention!

A final, but very important, piece of advice I have is to take time getting to know someone whether online or in real life.  Find out if you’re compatible before moving forward too far too fast.  Similarly, stop judging people before you get to know them.  You’ll be surprised at how skewed your judgments are.  Allow yourself to get through the initial barrier of “He’s not my type,” “He won’t like me,” or “We don’t have anything in common,” and learn to see someone for who he/she is and not as who you hope or expect him/her to be.  Basically, accept people for who they are while remembering to broaden your “type.”  Oh, and though dating in real life and online can seem like a numbers game, no treating it like a buffet!

Have any of you tried or thought about online dating?  If not, what’s stopping you?  Or, have you ever met or came across someone online with whom you felt a connection?

Online dating isn’t for everyone, but it’s an option worth considering if only to meet new people.  And please, don’t forget about the Asian guy.  Who knows?  Your significant other might just be a mouse click away.

Horseback Riding on the Beach in San Diego

Ever since I saw the movie Titanic where Jack says to Rose he’ll one day take her to ride horses on the beach, the image of a guy and a girl galloping off into the sunset has been imprinted into my mind.  I loved the idea of a couple doing something few have thought to do.  Two people.  One shared experience.  Love and romance captured.

Over the years I wondered if it was possible to ride horses on the beach here in San Diego.  Being a city with plenty of spectacular beaches and tourists, you’d imagine it readily available to engage in this activity.  You can ride “ponies” in Rosarito, Mexico and horses at Shelter Island, but a pony is not exactly a horse and Shelter Island is a bay.  I’m talking a stretch of coast, crashing waves, open ocean.

Then I heard about a place in Imperial Beach where you can ride actual horses on the beach.  I had to see it for myself. After some research, I arrived at Border Field State Park, parked my car, and took out my mini bike and road it on the paved road for 1-2 miles to get to the beach.

It was just me (plus a border agent) and miles of empty beach, not even a single palm tree.  I walked along the shore and plopped myself on the sand, sitting on the plastic bag that came with my 5-rolled tacos for an impromptu picnic. South of me was a large flock of seagulls.  I waited.

The tide began to recede.  And then the first trio of them arrived.

How awesome the riders and horses must have felt having an entire beach for themselves.  I smiled at them as they passed, all the while munching away on my tacos.

The moment held me in a daze.  One of those times I wished I had a girl to enjoy the experience with.  It wasn’t just about being at the beach or seeing horses, but the adventure of getting here, the process of discovery.  Strolling along a private beach with a girl, I thought.  We’d be free to do whatever we wanted to. No towels, no showers, no problem.  We’d dip our toes in the water, relax on the plastic take-out bag from Roberto’s, look out into the Coronado Islands, and we’d be happy.

Later, as I walked along the beach, I took a candid photo of a couple.

I thought they were part of the group tour, but it turns out they came separately, and it was their first time here.

The guy handed me his camera and I took some photos of him and his girlfriend. I thought of how Jack said to Rose: “We’ll ride horses on the beach, right in the surf.”  This image that had been in my mind for so long had come true, vicariously.  Fifteen minutes later as I was leaving, I caught a final shot of the lovebirds heading off into the horizon.

Check out http://www.happytrails-usa.com/beach.htm if you’re interested in renting horses to ride on the beach in San Diego.