After reading my Clementine interview, Tamara wrote me some very kind words, some of which included a thank you for inspiring her to "get back there." (Hands down my most favorite emails from strangers). She also said she's decided to embark on her very own 100 first dates adventure. Of course I needed to know more 'cause I'm nosy so here's what she shared:
How do you feel about love? Need it, want it?
As cliché as it sounds, I love love. In all its forms, and am so thankful for the love that I have in my life. Wonderful family, a great network of friends, my French Bulldog, Truman, that thinks I'm pretty fantastic even on my worst day. For whatever reason, romantic love and finding someone to share that with has been hard for me to find -- but I definitely want it, and I know it's out there somewhere. We're both apparently just a little slow to bake, and not quite done cooking yet.
What have you learned so far from your relationships?
Ha! All I know is I know nothing, or at least that's how it feels sometimes. But I do thank all of my past whatever's for their very valuable lessons:
1/ Communicate. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need and for what you can do to best support your partner.
2/ Be true to yourself. You're not going to be for everyone, and that's ok.
3/ Being single is a whole lot better than being attached to the wrong thing.
What do you like about being in a relationship? What do you like about being single and dating? What do you hate?
I jokingly refer to myself as a highly functioning introvert, but it's really true. That whole getting to know you phase is exciting -- and exhausting. I love finally being able to completely relax and just let the air out of the balloon. But for now, I'm learning to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
What's the dating scene like in Houston?
I've been in Texas 16 years now (really?!), and just relocated to Houston from Dallas last year for work. I realize I have to be careful how loud I say this in front of my Dallas friends, but I love this city. The Houston I've come to know is relaxed, laid back, and incredibly diverse, with an amazing restaurant, art, culture & entertainment scene. It's been very easy to meet people and for Houston to begin to feel like home.
A survey just released this month by U-Haul ranks Houston first in top 10 destination cities for 2014. Maybe that has something to do with it -- so many transplants, and we're all trying to make a connection. My dating life has definitely experienced a jumpstart, but like anything else when there's lots of choices, it seems no one's too quick to settle down wondering what else they might find out there.
You recently experienced a break up. What happened?
It was the relationship that wasn't quite a relationship. Leave it to me in a city of 2+ million people to find the one guy living on an island. Literally. We were introduced by mutual friends over the holidays. He's from Houston on contract for work in St Thomas, so we were arguably doomed from the start.
After five months of furious texting, phone calls, FaceTime, one perfectly boozy long weekend in St Thomas and a week’s vacation spent back here with me in Houston, he still answers less than enthusiastically, "I dunno, kinda, I guess…" when our best friends ask if we're officially dating. Hey, I don't need the guy that has it all figured out, just the one that at least knows I'm part of the equation. Next...
Why do you want to start your own 100FD project?
I was so inspired by the idea. I don't have a huge volume of experience. I've been a relationship dater my whole life -- my handful of first dates have more often than not turned into 2-3 years later...and ending frankly 2-3 years too late. It's an opportunity to redirect my frustration & disappointment into something positive & productive, have some fun and learn something about myself and others along the way.
What do you hope to learn from your experiences?
OK, I'm going to be totally transparent here. All of my relationships have ended pretty much the same way -- me left standing alone, wondering what the heck just happened. The common denominator in all this is me, so, hopefully, I'll gain some insight into exactly what it is I'm either doing or not doing to repeatedly end up with the same result...or prove to myself, once and for all, that maybe there's nothing wrong with me, I just haven't found my happy ending yet.
What qualities are you looking for in a partner?
Can he make me laugh, does he make me laugh, oh, and can he make me laugh? That's a big one for me. Life is challenging enough not to be able to laugh at yourself and with each other. And, ultimately, someone that I can trust with my independence. That can take the lead, share the weight and allow me to be vulnerable occasionally. And I promise to do the same.
Any last words?
I figure this is at least a 2-year project, so check back in with me, I'm sure I'll have some good stories to share! In the meantime, I'd love to hear what others are experiencing out there in the dating world, so definitely get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
For these 2015 Olympic Dating Games I hereby pass the torch to Tamara. May the force be with you and your dates. Houston, watch out, she's solid gold.