Vote For Me While I’m Still ‘SingleInMy30s’

2013BestNicheDatingBlogYesterday I woke up to the exciting news that this blog, SingleInMy30s, was a finalist for the Best Niche Blog of the Great Dating Blogs 2013. I’m honored to be chosen especially as this blog hasn’t seen quite as much activity this year as in previous years that I’ve been writing it. Those of you who have been on the journey with me for a long time remember my online dating play-by-plays, sharing the crazy emails I’d get and my pointing out the far-out profiles I’d come across. You’ve been there when I’ve had my heart broken, when I’ve broken hearts, and you’ve been cheering me on in my quest for love.  You’ve even offered your support when I’ve revealed my health struggles. Some of you I have grown to consider friends, close friends. I can’t thank you all enough for for continuing to read this humble chronicle of my dating life, sharing in my joys and occasional sorrows.

I’m proud to be in such good company in the Great Dating Blogs competition. There are so many fantastic dating bloggers out there, truly, and you really should take the time to read some of their posts. Some are absolutely hilarious, some are incredibly inspiring, and others ponder great issues that we all wonder about but may be afraid to voice publicly.

VoteForMeThis may be one of my last years where I fit my particular niche of SingleInMy30s. While I’ll undoubtedly continue to write about my life, the content and tone will certainly be evolving. It would mean a great deal to me to celebrate and honor what has been a home for me here since January 2011. So consider clicking on that button to the left and vote for me under ‘Best Niche Blog’ of 2013.

Love, lust and romance to you all!

SingleInMy30s

30-Day Blogging Challenge, Day 1: Me in a Nutshell

Inspired by Miss Jess Downey, I have decided to start the 30-Day Blogging Challenge. Most of my readers know I tend to write long, emotional entries about the ups and downs of my dating life. I thought this would be a nice alternative to get me in the habit of blogging more regularly and to perhaps allow me to reveal a side of me that you don’t often get to see.

So first, a little about me: I am, as my pseudonym implies, single in my 30s. This is a rarity. While this blog has revealed a serial dater, I am more a serial monogamist. Except for brief interludes, I have basically been in serious romantic relationships since the age of 17…until more recently, hence this blog.

In addition to blogging about dating and relationships, I write about health and wellness. It’s a subject I know more intimately than I ever expected I would, and I have turned it into my strength, rather than a weakness. I also am on leave from being the editor/writer for online daily hometown news.

I currently live in Connecticut again, where I grew up. With my parents, and there is an extremely good reason for that. I also live with my 5-year-old cat, who is not my substitute child, though he sure is loved.

And now for 15 interesting facts about myself.

1. I have lived in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Connecticut, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Yes, Las Vegas, baby!

2. Up until grade 5, I wore my hair in braided pigtails nearly every single day of school. I was long known in my hometown for those and my begged-for tumbling displays at recess.

3. After locking myself in the bathroom when I was a kid, I never close any door at my home all the way shut…unless the niece and nephew are sleeping over because I need those precious hours of sleep in the morning.

4. I have traveled cross-country several times and been to Toronto, the Bahamas, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, England, Switzerland, Austria, The Netherlands, Thailand and Nepal. Has that satisfied my wanderlust? It’s only just scratching the surface.

5. The reason I went to Toronto was to meet a man I stumbled across on the Internet…back in the ’90s. We had spent a couple months IMing, video chatting and talking on the phone beforehand. I still count it as one of the best weeks of my life.

6. While I have had multiple sprains and strains growing up as a competitive gymnast, soccer player and track and field athlete, I only broke a bone once. It was in Germany when I was 16, insisting on playing soccer with the boys just like I had since I was 5. After the hard fall, I kept playing, and in fact didn’t get treated for it until I was in France several days later.

7. I am 5 feet and have been a lightweight most my life, but I am very strong. I have literally pulled down trees, yanked out bushes, and carried sheet rock more than twice my size. I was an indoor rock-climbing maniac thanks to my arm strength. In middle school, I broke the record for doing the most pull-ups for a girl. A little more than a year ago, I finally broke my own record. Not bad for an ole’ gal.

8. I was 17 when I had my first real kiss. I was 17 when I had a lot of other firsts.

9. I am the proud aunt of an almost 4-year-old nephew and an almost 2-year-old niece. They are adorable, funny and incredibly smart.

10. I have a strong fear that I will never be able to have children of my own one day, biologically or otherwise.

11. I tend to organize potato chips by size and M&Ms by color before I eat them.

12. I am a true melting pot, with African, Bulgarian, English, French and Native American heritage (and probably more.)

13. I haven’t been legally been able to drive a car since January 2010 for health reasons. It is one of my biggest frustrations.

14. I hate reading directions, but I am a great troubleshooter, creative cook and baker as a result.

15. I have recorded an album, become a professional writer, traveled to incredible places, swum with the dolphins and knocked off so many things from my “bucket list.” But I still think that bucket list won’t carry much weight for me until I find that lifelong love. In spite of everything, I’m still a romantic, so sue me.

Why I’m Not Cut Out For Reality TV

Yesterday I was invited, as I know many of you have been in recent days, to be on a “major network reality” TV show about singles. While it is kind of cool to be asked to apply to a show, even though it refers to itself as “Real Housewives only with single people”, there are several reasons why I cannot even give it a second thought.

For one, I unfortunately do not live in NYC. A lot of the time, I’d like to say that I do, and perhaps one day I shall. But right now, I live the state next door.

For two, my life really is not cut out for reality TV.

It’s true—I can be flirtatious and a total ham. I’ll talk with foreign accents and skip in public. I can perform my own music to a crowd, and I’m not afraid to pick up the mic to belt out a song at karaoke. I’ll serenade a stranger or break dance on city streets for an urban scavenger hunt.

At times, I can do such spontaneous and out there things, I even surprise myself. When I was 19, I met a Canadian halfway in Toronto for romance. Several years later, I flew to the other side of the world for an adventure, after only three weeks of thought and preparation.

But in general, I am pensive and often quiet. When I’m not being a workaholic, it’s not uncommon for me to spend a couple hours a night reading a novel with pleasure. Sometimes I choose that over picking up the phone to answer the calls of my friends who undoubtedly will desire a ridiculously long conversation.

While I wouldn’t say that I am shy—I can literally spend hours talking to strangers—I rather like to observe and study people. As an editor and writer not a TV personality, I prefer taking the time to carefully craft my words rather than try to be on-the-spot witty and charming. And then of course on TV there’s that whole deal that you also have to be incredibly photogenic—though an ex said in undisguised envy that I never take a bad photo, he is sadly mistaken; I just know my good angles and how to hit delete with the digital camera.

I can be warm, generous, and kind. Friends and former lovers have called me “the sweetest thing.” But on the other side of the coin, I can sometimes be cold, shut-off and sarcastic. And though I hate to do this, and rarely do, I have an English major’s vocabulary to verbally toss barbs that people are still picking out months later.

While I am not proud of this, I am also the Queen of the Dear John letter. Afraid of conflict after months of a boyfriend trying to convince me I don’t really want to leave, I feel like writing a letter is the only way I can make my exit.

Yes, I voluntarily blog about my dating life. I relish sharing tales I selectively pick from my adventures in romance. Notice I said selectively. While some stories I seem to spill in all the nitty-gritty detail, in truth there are a lot of things I choose to leave out.

For instance, I’ve only lightly touched upon the whole disappearance of the V-Man. I’ve brushed it aside with first dates and ridiculous correspondences from OkCupid.

It’s not so much that I’m trying to hide it from you. It’s more that I’m trying to process things, and when I do, I tend to draw into myself. I cut off contact with friends. I become a hermit, spending a lot of time alone in my dark bedroom. I swim in these deliciously gray and rainy days and write fiery entries in my paper journal.

I haven’t poured out my heart on here how it feels to be abandoned by one of the only people in my life who I thought would never, could never, abandon me. One of the few true friends through some of the lowest lows and greatest peaks of my life just disappeared out of a crack in the window like a wisp of smoke from the last fire of the winter. Offering no explanation, I came up with two not-very-flattering reasons for that exit, and naturally, he neither admitted to it nor denied it. He said nothing at all.

Just the thought of putting these emotions and all the rest of my single self out there in front of a camera makes me freeze like a deer in headlights. My blog is anonymous for a reason. A few of my readers know my name. I believe only one of you knows me personally.

It’s not that I am ashamed of who I am—it’s just there are parts of me that I don’t think my parents or siblings need to see. There are parts of me I don’t want some of my happily-married-with-kids friends to see. Not to leave out the exes and former lovers. Ay.

So that’s why you won’t be seeing me on reality TV any time soon. I am sparing you from the awkward, odd, sometimes ugly and cruel, single world of SingleinMy30s in the flesh.  There’s something to be said for the mystery of just words.

Underneath the Veil

The veil has been lifted. My anonymity has been compromised. Due to some recklessness on my part, Mr. Etiquette was able to find this blog through another twitter account of mine that was dumbly linked. I feel vulnerable and exposed. I feel like an onion that has been peeled down to its most fragile layers.

Do I overreact over the fact that my alter ego has been revealed? Truth be told, there aren’t all that many things so secret and sacred within this virtual home to my innermost thoughts and feelings that I wouldn’t tell my nearest and dearest at some point or another, when the timing was right.

But I wanted to be the one to call the shots, to have control over the timing. To be in control of when and how the story would be told. I am not a perfect person. This blog does not always reveal me in my most shining moments. It reveals me in pain, confusion, lust, and anger. It captures ecstasy, unbridled passion and joy, and most of all hope. It watches that hope come tumbling down.

No, what I regret most are the words I have vented here thinking the subjects would never read that I wrote in frustration and anger, from a place of pain and confusion. Mr. Etiquette, specifically, is no monster. He is not an evil man who deserves to have his heart broken again and again by me, just because his actions repeatedly break my heart. He is a good man with a loving and gentle heart. For whatever reason, we just keep clashing against one another. For many reasons, we just can’t move beyond the past, and forgiveness seems futile if we can’t forget enough to give each other a fresh start to accept each others love. We’ve both made our mistakes. Yet you don’t get to see his side of the story here, do you?

So that is my regret: breaking his heart all over again by reading words he was never intended to see. Hearing things I said about him he was never meant to hear. Finding out things about me that he was better off not knowing. Yet maybe, it helps him realize no one is perfect. He’s found all my cracks. Maybe it makes it easier for him to run to the hills like a big part of him has been tempted to do lo all these four months.

Regardless, I feel exposed, vulnerable and sad that my words not only have the power to inspire, to create solidarity, and to entertain, but to also pierce a heart, to cause confusion, anger, and pain that may never be fully healed. My words have the power to shatter a good man’s faith in me. That makes me ill to my stomach. Yet I guess that’s what I signed up for here.

From here on out, I will choose my words more carefully. Tell my story without getting so personal that it lacerates someone’s heart and soul. Who knows whose others eyes are watching and reading? And I still want to be able to wake up and look at myself in the mirror in the morning and be proud of this blog, be proud of the voice I share here.

No Blogger Is An Island

This post was partially inspired by mychickenfeed‘s great  Message in a Bottle post. Go read it!

A dating and relationship blogger is a mysterious animal. To the untrained, outside eye, we are a group of narcissists who get off on spilling our guts to strangers. We get a high when someone reaffirms what we’ve shared with a comment or shares our posts with their own readers. It appears as if we are simply artists, who carefully craft our words for a little sympathy here, a little humor there, and some sexy naughtiness in between. Little does the outside world know about that beautiful network of community, fellowship and neighborly love that we build amongst ourselves, crisscrossing blogs and twitter feeds like spiderwebs.

Even as I spill out gut-wrenching entries that reveal pain or confusion that I am going through, I am indeed aware that somewhere out there someone else might be reading this. This brings me an embarrassing amount of comfort. It shows me that I am not really alone out here in this small town in Connecticut.

When someone takes the time and effort to connect with me on a comment, I feel solidarity. Yes, someone else is going or has gone through this before. Or someone has the wisdom and cajones to tell me to “wake up, SoloAt30, you need to drop this guy like a bad habit,” giving me that extra encouragement and push I need to make that call I’ve been knowing I need to make to end a destructive relationship. Most recently, I especially have jstedham, TheSingleFilez, mychickenfeed, Taylor Cast, MyPixieBlog, and the mysterious Jean to thank.

I have friends and family in my daily life who are there to provide support and encouragement. Yet there is something about the anonymity of my blog that allows me to feel free to share details I may not always even tell one of my closer friends. You may judge, but I won’t feel it so acutely. You may disagree, but I can respect it better because I hear it from the distance of the web. Best of all, from my words alone, I know that some of you may start to sincerely care for my well being and are looking out for me like the sister or extra brother I never had. There is something extremely reassuring about coming to the home of my blog with my thoughts, feelings and words, knowing you will read them and treat me with care.

I’ve had fellow bloggers DM me to act as mentors. I’ve been DM’ed out of concern I was making the right choices. I’ve been welcomed with open arms to a lovely and amazing community of fabulously talented bloggers and all-around awesome human beings.  No blogger needs to be an island, and for this I am eternally grateful. Thank you, my dear readers!

Steamin’ It Up, Old-School Style

“How do you always get mascara all over your face?” my mom asked coming out of her bedroom when I came in tonight from my third date with The Brit. “Maybe you should stop wearing any mascara at all.”

“It’s raining out,” I said. She gave me a look that told me she wasn’t buying it. “And I’m always rubbing my face,” I added, which is true. It might also be because I just spent the last half hour making out in The Brit’s car in our driveway, I thought, but I knew to keep that one to myself.

“This is a bit dodgy, isn’t it?” The Brit commented, as we paused for breath, in the close quarters of his VW Bug. “D’ya think your parents are going to get upset that we’re basically parking in their driveway?” It was a good question. But his car wasn’t too big, it was dark and raining, and we were safely tucked under the cover of some lush tree branches in the side driveway. “Your dad’s not the type to come out here with a bat or anythin’, is he?”

I responded by leaning in for another kiss. (No, Jaysey818, it turns out we didn’t need a lesson at all this time.) And no, Dad wasn’t home. Otherwise, he’d have the binoculars and flashlight out the window, recon-style.

After a lovely dinner at an Indian restaurant that The Brit likes–my stomach was totally fine, thank you very much, you guys–we didn’t want the date to end quite yet, but we didn’t know where to go. it was raining, otherwise we could go for a walk. Neither of us felt like doing any drinking. The Brit thought of taking me to his place, and I could meet his cat, but he said it was embarrassingly messy right now. Most of the stores would be closing soon, but we decided we’d pop into the nearby Marshall’s just for something to do.

The Brit looked at a few shirts, asked my opinion, and then the store announced it was closing. Not wanting to be pressured by time into a sale, The Brit left without any new clothes. We shrugged, restless but lacking too much imagination, so he ended up taking me home. I did notice he parked the car in the side driveway instead of just pulling up idle behind my unused car, so I smiled as he came in to kiss me. I wasn’t prepared for how much we were going to steam up the windows.

“Perhaps we should have gone to the park for a proper parking after all,” he mused later.

This of course reminds me of Bridget Jones’ Diary, where Bridget tells Mark Darcy: “Wait a minute…nice boys don’t kiss like that.” His reply, “Oh, yes, they fucking do.”

The only unfortunate incident of the night is that I started talking about blogging. I wasn’t even drinking, I tell you. I was talking about my health blog, which covers a range of health topics, from unusual disorders to alternative medicine to nutrition transformations in schools to traveling while disabled. This was all well and good until I started babbling about my other blog; yes, this very one.

“Am I in it?” he asks. Then throughout the rest of dinner, he tries to throw in, so you talk about x in this blog, which is called y? Fishing for the name, which I refused to give. I told him there is nothing negative to report about The Brit. However, it’s too soon for him to see this side of me, or to hear way too many details about my messy dating life. If he ever earns that right, or if I ever get up the cajones to share this blog with anyone in my personal circle…that’s because I will have reached the stability in my romantic life where I feel free to be completely open about my past because it is…in my past.

I did say that I may copy my personal guide to having great sex and email it to him, however. Though I do personally (through pseudonyms) mention previous lovers, which is not a good thing. But that can be easily edited.

Speaking of previous lovers, Harlequin Hero of course informed last night that he’s coming back up here at the end of the month. Don’t know how long he’s staying but he said of course he wants to see me. And it should surprise no one that Mr. Etiquette called me while I was on my date. I ignored the numerous buzzes I received from various people during the date, but I just knew one of them was from him. He surprisingly didn’t leave a message, which only leads me to conclude he knew I was on a date. T must have told him I was “out.” Screw him and his jealousy. He only calls when things are bleak with Sara, which of course is frequent lately, especially now that we’re talking again. Might need to cut off this “friendship” deal completely.

The Brit brought up a wedding in Michigan he was invited to go to this summer. He is friends with the groom, met the bride once, but knows no one else at the wedding. He feels terrible if he says no to it, though. I was wondering if he wanted my opinion, or if he was putting out feelers if I might want to go so he’d know someone else at the wedding. Seems a bit early for him to ask, since he’s a laid-back, average-paced guy. He brought up getting there via a road trip, asked my opinion on whether I thought it’d be a decent ride, etc.  Probably was just asking since I know this part of the U.S. better than he does. The groom’s not a best friend, so I honestly think it could be fun if we were still seeing each other, but whatever. I won’t ponder it further unless he specifically asks me.