Disclaimer: There’s some language, some blunt things and I don’t want to offend my family or any one who is sensitive. In life and blogs, don't take things too seriously. :)
The phrase, "dating in New York City," brings up different emotions, stories and memories for each of us. I've heard funny stories, sad stories, unbelievable ones and on a rare occasion a really beautiful one. I would love to spend the next few minutes re-telling the most hilarious, awkward, crazy, unacceptable first dates I have encountered in this city. However, I like to think Karma is real and I am going to be respectful and save the tales for my book. :p
When I think of dating, I think, “Oh great,” and I mean that in a very cynical, sarcastic, somewhat positive, optimistic and negative sense. Dating is supposed to be fun right? Meet new people, have new conversations, learn how someone else views the world... it sounds fun in theory. I am always looking to meet amazing people who are fun to be around, who I can laugh with and go on food expeditions with. I am looking for a challenge and I know I am looking for someone who is up for the Kendra challenge. That said, and I know I am not alone when I say, I have been on some of the most bizarre first dates ever. I think I am pretty easy to talk to, and because of that men really talk to me! I get so much TMI I feel as if we're in a therapy session. FYI, I am not licensed, and even though I may look sympathetic to what these men are saying, inside I am freaking out and I am starring right through their eyes looking for an escape route.
Don't get me wrong, I have had some great dates (like two) and I have had some really peculiar dates (too many to say). Some last two seconds, enough to see them and runaway, some last five minutes enough time to shake hands and say listen, this isn't going to work (your online photos were taken 10 years ago and you’re in an outfit my Dad would wear- no offense Dad). Some last a couple hours, enough for a drink or two and a conversation that keeps me interested, but not enough to make me want to see them again, and regardless of the time frame, out of the number of dates I have been on, I have been on two dates in NYC where I wanted to see them again.
There were a few things that separated the second date worthy man from the first date dead end man. I got nervous when I saw them, my blood started flowing, my heart beat faster, I was excited, I smiled a lot, I laughed a lot, I had a good feeling, we were able to carry a conversation, connect intellectually, they did everything right (like pay for the check without hesitation) and most importantly we BOTH wanted to see each other again. This sort of thing is a two way street and is super rare. There were two people that I wanted to see again and one out of the two, evolved into a relationship. Although it wasn't meant to be and we eventually decided we were not on the same page, I gained a friendship so I can't say my dating experiences overall have been a total loss and failure.
Candidly speaking, I have met really interesting people and I think they're all special in their own ways. They will certainly be second date worthy to some other woman, but just never for me. Some of the men I would have loved being friends with, but being friends with the opposite sex at my age also seems like an impossible thing. I'd love to be able to have guy friends where we hang out and go out and have good time, but someone always has to fall in love!
I seem to have sent more, "I am not romantically interested in you texts," that I am starting to feel like a mean girl. Every date I have been on, they always ask to see me again. But I never feel it! It goes to show sometimes chemistry is one sided. I think even though I am pretty serious when I first meet people, I also smile and exude a certain energy that makes people feel comfortable. That's why I always wanted to be a journalist because I loved interviewing people and learning about them. I am good at that part! In most situations unless I feel threatened, I try and create a space of warmth and comfort for people when they're with me. I try and avoid awkward moments at all costs.
I want people to be their best versions when they're around me. That doesn't mean fake, because I like to see the emotional, dramatic, temper tantrum, negative in people too, because it allows me to understand them and lets me know they're real. I am simply saying that I want people to be honest with me like I am with them.
Maya Aneglou, who I often quote said, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I love this quote. It's like when someone tells me they don't want kids, they're emotionally unavailable, they don't want a serious relationship (aka just looking for sex), they just want to have fun (aka I’m dating several people), I know to stop, realize I am at a dead end, and walk in another direction. I don’t want someone who makes everything absolute and certain. I want someone who lives in possibility! It has taken me a while, to realize this, but now I know. Everyone serves a purpose in our lives because like I said in my "Chemistry" post, nothing in life is random.
I am grateful for the experiences I have encountered. I am learning, evolving and getting stronger. I am not going to settle and no one else should either! There are a few people out there we are all compatible with. It might not be forever, but I do have an optimistic feeling that I will eventually meet a true game changer.
I’ve been meeting people out, online (the worst!) and getting set up through friends. Although nothing has really clicked yet, that’s okay. Online dating deserves a blog all on its own, and not just a blog entry, but an entire blog dedicated to the outrageous behind the scenes of what we really go through! The weird creepy photos, the awful messages, the people who think you will message them back; it’s a comedy show!
There's this Ted Talks (video) where this woman, Amy Webb hacks the algorithm of online dating. (See transcript by clicking Ted Talks ). It's amazing. She literally found her husband this way, and what I liked about it was that when all her friends and family were telling her she’d find someone if she stopped being “so picky”, she researched and created her own system instead of compromising on her non-negotiables!
I don't like it when my friends tell me that I always go for pretty boys or that maybe I should date someone more "mediocre" because they're literally telling me I should settle. I will always encourage someone to strive for the best. And yes, I have some superficial requirements, but I KNOW men have them too. I realize some men are not into Asian women, or short girls and that’s okay. We all have a type or something we are attracted too. I think that’s totally fair! I am searching for a connection with someone beyond the physical aspects too, so don't get me wrong!
We are human! I figured, if I don't find my perfect tall, dark, handsome, successful male that must have the 20 adjectives that are deal breakers to me, so what! I will keep focusing on me, my career and adopt babies from around the world when I am ready. I don't need anybody. But for sure, I'd certainly like to find someone amazing to travel with and create something really cool with. In time, if it's meant to be, it will happen serendipitously, like all the things in my life have.
I don't think I am crazy for knowing what I want, and I think it's actually amazing that I know what I want because for a while I didn't know. Two years ago after my first date with my ex, I called my best friend excited for the first time in a while. I told her, "I really like this guy, but I have a feeling he's going to break my heart."
She laughed and said, "Just make sure you know what you want."
I replied, "I don't know what I want."
She said, "This is the boy whose going to teach you what you want!" Whoa was she right! I have learned so much over the past couple of years and even in the past couple of months, I have really solidified a lot about my goals and what I am looking for in someone.
Being single has given me time to date myself, spoil myself and love myself. “If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?” I think everything starts with self-love and a strong foundation. I am not looking for someone who makes me happy. I am looking for someone who makes me happier. Someone who makes me a better person and pushes me and challenges me to be the best I can possibly be!
First dates are the first steps in figuring this all out. Typically after an exchange of phone numbers, I will text with these men to get a better sense if they’re worth my time. The few online people who get the secret code (my phone number) must send me updated “prove you’re not a catfish” photo before I agree to meet them. A lot of these conversations are a dead end, because they put so little effort in texting, which takes no effort at all, and I don’t do lazy. I prefer someone who’s going to be a gentleman and take care of stuff. My thought process is that I take care of things all day long; I want someone who wants to take care of me! I don’t babysit men, I’m over the “man child” and I am ready for someone who is accountable and awesome!
They have to pass the height, good job, good family, initial attraction test before I’ll meet them. Honestly, as more of these dates fail, I get a little harsher with the testing. My time is valuable and so is theirs, and I am getting really good at keeping things efficient!
On a first date, or even first impression, I am sure I come off as serious. My friends here have this joke about meeting me for the first time and being scared of me. My bestie here said, "You have this stand offish demeanor, look on your face kind of like, "don't fuck with me." I don't think it's all the way true, but I can't necessarily deny it.
I am guarded for sure and it takes a while for me to open up completely to someone. I am like that in friendships, workships and relationships. I am in protection mode at all times, and until I trust you, my walls stay up. Thank you to those beautiful people in my life who saw past my impossible iron Kendra made gate, and my intimidating seriousness, which of course isn’t really who I am, it’s just the outer layer. For each friend I have made in this city, you all saw something in me and likewise. We connected and felt a pull and we explored it and became great friends! Sometimes men will see something in me that they want to explore and sometimes I meet someone who peaks my interest and I want to know. Sometimes I am interested in someone, who is not interested in me so the pickiness goes both ways. First impressions are everything, but not necessarily absolute!
When we first meet people we are judging them and rightfully so! There's literally a chemical reaction happening in our brains letting us know if there’s anything signaling YES! For me personally these things surface within the first five seconds of a date, and it really takes one look to access if it's going anywhere. As crazy as that sounds, you just know. So first dates, obviously I check to see if I am attracted to them. If I am not, that's a runaway situation. If it’s an online date meet and greet I am checking to see how accurate their profile pictures were and I am checking to see if they're good in shape. AKA, how bad did this person lie on ok cupid? I try and meet online dates immediately because I am not wasting time texting someone who is totally weird in person. People are not always as they seem, in fact they almost never are. Geez. I wonder if men think the same thing about me. Are they pleasantly surprised when they meet me or disappointed? I guess, when they ask for that never going to happen second date, I know it was pleasant for them. Ha.
When I meet someone (first date or just out and about) I always question the attraction levels, seeing if there’s chemistry, personality characteristics that come through immediately, I look at what shoes are they wearing, I check to see if they bite their nails, have long nails (disgusting) or have any other weird ticks or habits, I look to see if they have nice hands, if they are dressed well, if can I stand their voice. I read their body language, I watch their eyes and see if they can hold eye contact, that helps me determine their confidence levels, I listen an exorbitant amount and let them tell me about them, so I can pick up on red flags (brings up the “ex-girl friend,” club rats, alcoholics, drug addicts, selfish pricks, etc).
A lot of judgments on both sides surface, and to some I might sound like a crazy person for all the judging, but we are all doing it. It's okay that I want someone who wants to hold the door open for me, a man who gladly picks up the check because he is financially stable and because he wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s okay I desire a gentleman! Not because I expect it, but because I want someone who wants to do those small gestures. I can tell a lot about a person based on their shoes, and sometimes the shoes are a deal breaker. Cargo shorts freak me out and American Eagle T-shirts on a 35-year-old bothers me. It doesn’t mean the person is awful, it means they’d have to have the most incredible personality for me to get past all of that materialistic non-sense. It’s like me showing up in booty shorts and a crop top with a tattoo on my hip. I am not a brand person, I in fact shop EVERYWHERE and I shop for items that don’t have an embroidered emblem on them because I don’t think it matters. I prefer to be neutral and appreciate a man who has style. Nothing wrong with that!
My mom told me that I could potentially pass up on a great guy because he wasn’t 6’0 or taller. I laughed and thought, “Well, yeah I actually am shutting out a lot of potential men.” I know a lot of men who won’t date a short girl, and that’s okay. I get it. I am subconsciously looking for a partner to potentially create babies with one day, and I can’t help that I am trying to subconsciously have taller kids. LoL. Who knows? And things change. I will change my mind about some of these things, no doubt. Some things I won’t budge on (like must have good job, workout, must have hair, must be educated and smart, must have great skin, etc).
This all being said, second dates just don't really happen. Possibly because I am picky, I have high standards, I am too shut off at first, or they’re just weird! I was hanging out with a group of friends a couple weeks ago and most of us were single in the room, and we all agreed that we all found it hard to meet great people in the city. Six young attractive professionals all found dating impossible! You would think with the millions walking around here that we'd meet more great people, but the truth is, it's very hard to connect with someone emotionally and physically that you want to date more than once and they too feel the same way.
I think it’s apparent I am a little frustrated with the lack of connection I seem to be having, but at the same time, I am learning so much about myself that every day I get a little more comfortable with “single.” I feel very firm about the boundaries I have set for myself, the deal breakers, the rules (that are meant to be broken, under the right circumstances) and the confidence I have in myself now. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone and I just need to keep living my life. People tell me, love happens when you least expect it. That’s a really great saying and all and I think I have actually told this to people once upon time (sorry), but in truth, things don’t just happen to us. It’s about timing. Being at the right place at the right time and staying in action. I am in constant action and always on the go and I am realistic enough to know that some guy isn’t going to just sweep me off my feet one day. I have had some really strange things happen to me in regards to timing over the past few weeks, where I thought the universe was trying to tell me something profound.
For instance, I was on a date with one guy. We had planned to get a coffee, but the coffee shop was too crowded on this beautiful Saturday. I had thought about going for a walk in the park close by, but decided I wanted to sit and have a tea. We went to this tea place on the corner near Un. Sq and life chatted. I knew when I first saw him it was never going anywhere, but I was down to have a conversation and meet a former professional athlete who I could potentially learn something from. My online profile did say that I was only interested in “new friends” so by him assuming otherwise was his projection, not mine. We ended up having a really amazing conversation about the world, the laws of attraction and fitness related things. I even brought up the topic about how hard it was to find what I was looking for in the city. He asked me if I knew what I was looking for, and I said yes.
At that moment, I started thinking about this guy (Let’s call him Z) who I had met months back, very organically outside my office on a random Fall day (really cute story actually) and then re- connected somewhat inorganically, but serendipitously shortly after my break up.
I had seen Z a couple times and I couldn’t stop thinking about him. He was someone I was really attracted to, (a second date not impossible), someone who danced circles in my head, someone who had potential and that I was interested in knowing more about. However, I knew he was kind of this player, serial dater and didn’t really care because he wasn't trying hard enough to see me and spend time with me. As I am thinking about him, the guy I was having tea with brings me back to reality, and with such certainty says, “Finding what you want is not hard at all.”
I looked at him in disbelief.
He said, “Look outside and tell me everything you see that is blue.” I looked. I pointed out the signs, the clothes, people’s shoes, the buildings with blue tiles, the storefronts and lastly, the clear blue sky.
He said, “See how easy that was? You didn’t see blue before because you weren’t looking for it, and when you looked for it, you found it immediately. The thing with the law of attraction isn’t just about finding what you want; it’s about being the person the other person is looking for too.”
I sat there in silence for a solid 10 seconds and processed everything he said. I started thinking about this Z who I really wanted to get to know and how it wasn't working out, how I would have liked to have spent a beautiful Saturday with him (instead of the current date I was on), having a meaningful conversation people watching. Z had everything that I was looking for in someone, yet lacked the emotional connection I needed (deal breaker), and as I am thinking about Z, as if I am willing him in my life at that very moment, he walks by.
I mean seriously??? Out of all the streets in this city, the time of day, the fact I was literally thinking about him and he passes by? What are the chances??? It was so surreal and it made a huge impression on me because this was the second time where I crossed paths with someone in NYC. It's not as big as we think!
This all happened so fast and Z and I made eye contact. He smiled something ridiculous and he continued to walk by with another girl by his side. He was on a date with someone, as I was too and I sat there for another 10 seconds in silence feeling like someone just punched me in my stomach. From that moment on I was on a totally different planet. I couldn't tell you what the rest of my date was like, what we talked about or how we parted. I was 100% not present and I felt like the universe was shaking me up and throwing me in space with nothing for me to grab onto. I felt out of control.
I thought about that moment all night, and perhaps for days after, actually, I am obviously still thinking about it. For some reason it really hit me hard because I thought that it meant something profound? I don’t know. I think over time, what I realized was the universe was telling me that by seeing him on a date with someone else (my projections were right) and by me being on a date at the same time (me of course wanting to be with Z, and Z not wanting to be with me) that because Z and I were NOT on a date with each other, we weren't meant to be. We were two different fonts trying to be on the same page of a book, two different vibrations, and in the grand scheme, a potential amazing love story, just wasn't going to pan out. I guess it’s a let down feeling or disappointment. A temper tantrum for a 20- something-year-old female who didn't get what she wanted.
I feel sometimes we connect with people who we’ve crossed paths with in a previous life, or maybe in another life we will know each other. Bonding with people is a really beautiful thing. I will always value meaningful connections I have with people and I think connecting with Z and then not being to explore it, through me off. I am the kind of girl who gets what she wants, and Z was something I thought I wanted but couldn't really ever get a grip on or understand. Hindsight, it was never me, it was always him and his blocks, and through the experience that’s what I discovered.
I think for a few reasons, I will remember this Z, not just as a date story, but also because of what I learned while knowing him. He’s not a mediocre anybody that didn't mean anything. He actually helped me heal in a few different ways and connecting with someone again after a breakup made a very big impact on how I viewed connection and men. I created a new goal for myself and it was to stop saying negative things about my body and men. I’m not fat, I work incredibly hard on my body and I needed to stop beating myself up. I also kept saying I hated men, when in reality I love them and think they’re such a beautiful thing that balance out us female madness. “What we think, we become,” so I decided that if I kept saying men were shitty and the worst, I would meet shitty and the worst. Changing how I think about things has made such a big difference in the past two weeks. I feel stronger and better than ever.
Needless to say, dating is insane and I do it because I am looking for someone great. It’s definitely not my top priority like it was two months ago, because rushing into something was never a good idea and I would like to continue to take the time and enjoy right now and enjoy myself. I work out a lot, I eat whatever I want, I go sit and read at the park and lay out, I make dinner plans and lunch plans with amazing women, I make time to blog and research for my business model, I shop (way more than I should) and I walk around with no intention, listen to music and drift into another world. Taking that trip to Costa Rica was such a powerful experience, that I want to travel all the time. I am planning on going to Thailand and Croatia and even if it means I go solo, l will carry on happily!!
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” ― Maya Angelou
Much love from this second date impossible city. XO
This blog represents my thoughts and what's going on in the world through my eyes. It's personal, real, sad and funny and is an outlet and a way to share with you, my life and the adventures of this amazing city and beyond.
“Ask for what you want and be prepared