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Wongstar Moves In, Day 2: the Kitchen

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Video blogging is so much more efficient than actually writing down a bunch of stuff! haha! Well, it apparently takes 20 minutes to upload a 5-minute video onto YouTube, so while I wait for that I can then start creating a blog post, take a shower, brush my teeth, etc…

Today’s introduction is brought to you by White Tiger. I got to sleep here last night on the air mattress but today is White Tiger’s first day…Welcome to our crib! Today we focus on the kitchen…

YouTube Preview Image

and you heard right. Tomorrow I have a date at Ikea with an online suitor. (Hey, I’m a resourceful girl who is currently without a car.) Low-priced Swedish furniture and Swedish meatballs! Maybe I should bring the Flip and we can act out a scene like in Ikea Heights or 500 Days of Summer. But I promised that I wouldn’t make him act. :D

just another dating blog… on exes

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Now that my last race report is done and I have 6 weeks reprieve til I leave for the next one, I can go back to writing about completely non-triathlon related stuff. Like dating. This seems to be a much more popular topic than triathlon, for the same reasons that terrible reality shows on dating are extremely successful. (Yes, I admit that I too have been fascinated by Tila Tequila, NEXT, and Rock of Love.) Maybe I’ll start checking in once a week with “Wongstar’s Weekly Wooer Woes.” Yea or nay?

First I’ll have to say that as a minor internet celebrity, all potential suitors should know that I automatically come with a bright orange sticker on my head that says “Google me at your own risk.” This is my way of saying I have the right to blog about past dates and take no responsibility for any hurt feelings should a former suitor “accidentally stumble” on my blog. (Stalker.) That said, names have been omitted to protect the innocent and repulsive. ;) You’ve been warned!

Today I’m going to talk about running into exes. I’ve been doing triathlons long enough (over 10 years now) and have dated enough athletic-minded folk (triathletes or those that years later might have gotten into triathlon) that it’s inevitable I start bumping into them at random races (especially with the amount of racing I do) or say, training locales back home that we both used to haunt.

I will have to say, as picky as I am, once I do find someone somewhat worthwhile, I am not usually the one who breaks things off. Ok, sure, I’m usually (always?) the one that ends up moving away, but I’m such a romantic sap that I believe true love is worth crossing oceans for. It’s not my fault that the guy never feels the same way now, is it? No matter, I get over it soon enough, and my consolation is fancying myself as The One That Got Away. Makes me feel like less…pathetic of an anomaly for still flying solo when nearly all my grad school classmates are engaged or married.

This was confirmed last week when I ran into an ex at one of the five or so swimming pools I rotate through when back home in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was the one that spotted me, and I really had nothing to say, finished swimming before he did and made a quick escape. After arriving home, an unfamiliar phone number called, and having deleted it years ago, I made the mistake of picking up. (After having my cell phone and thus all my phone contacts stolen in Thailand, really, it could’ve been any one.) Oops. After mumbling something about bad reception, I hung up. He then proceeded to call back three consecutive times. I was wise enough to now save his number and label it “Don’t Answer.”

insert evil laugh here….BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

It’s good to be The One That Got Away.

This does beg the million dollar conundrum: better to delete an ex’s phone number so you don’t drunk dial him, or keep it so you don’t answer it when sober?

Happy true love hunting, everyone.

where baseball bats are made.

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

whoa that's a big bat! "that's what SHE said."

Ok, DUH, how could I forget to put “see where baseball bats are made” on my list of things to do here in Kentucky? Especially in Louisville?

and that's why they're not called Wilmington Sluggers.

Now while some of my teammates have been known to follow the World Series when we are overseas at training camp, my own personal interest with baseball has been limited to “hmm, should I let him get to first base or *gasp* second base tonight?” ;) Or, hey! Jew Day at the ballpark! But even so, of course I’ve heard of Louisville Sluggers…  The official bat of Major League Baseball. As you recall, Delaware doesn’t have an MLB team…

Well, neither does Louisville. Despite all this baseball bat-making. Their minors team that plays in Louisville Slugger Field is called the “Louisville Bats.”  Their mascot is the winged creature that Batman emulates…cute and corny right? The Wongstar loves a good pun!

Coach can't teach me to swim, time to take up a new sport.

So here at Ironman central, you can actually get a personalized official IRONMAN Louisville Slugger bat! With your name enscribed on it! Now how sweet is that.

I bet you could get your finish time laser-engraved on it too.

After today’s ESPN interview (where I declared I wanted me some KFC at the finish line), athlete registration, and pro meeting, Kellie took me over to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, where all the baseball bats are made. They’ve got a giant glove…

me and Kellie--champion homestay!

to go with the giant baseball bat outside.

I feel like I'm on "Honey I Shrunk the Kids"

Gear bags are packed and tonight is the night to sleep! Very cool catching up with my teammates here, and also Jeff (Team Glas!), Minsok and Bliss from Singapore/Austin, Sugar from our forum, and some of the TNT LA crew.  But I have yet to meet Louis in Louis-ville ;)

Jew Day at the Ballpark

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Things to do in Delaware #3: Watch a Blue Rocks game.


The Blue Rocks are a minor league baseball team here in Wilmington. As we all know, Delaware is a small state, so we don’t have our own major league team. (The Phillies are only half an hour away.) But apparently the Blue Rocks are the farm team for the Kansas City Royals. Now, my knowledge of eastern USA geography I admit is sketchy (though getting better by the day), but even I know that Kansas City is closer to the middle of the country, so I too am confused. Anyway, the cool thing about minor league games is that for a $6 ticket you can sit pretty much anywhere you want, like right behind the home plate.

Travel sponsor Mark has appointed himself as the Jiminy Cricket of my dating life, to act as my conscience while I try to strike the balance between kicking arse at triathlon while pursuing true love. I believe his exact words were “No monkeying around, focus on staying hydrated and thinking about next week’s race; also taper doesn’t mean it’s ok to be on your feet walking for 8-hours…”

So the next date should involve some sitting down then. And nothing better than going to a Blue Rocks game on Jewish Heritage Day with a nice Jewish boy. I mean, it would’ve just been wrong to go out with a Christian or Mormon or Muslim guy on the Blue Rocks’ Jewish Heritage Day, right?

Welcome Jews to Jew Day at the Ballpark!!!

My residency director and former boss, Gary, is Jewish and has always encouraged me to date a nice Jewish boy.  I believe his exact words were “Once you go Jew…” I don’t really know what happens after the dot-dot-dot but if you follow my blog you know I am pretty open-minded about various religions.

So the Jew and I were going to see if it was easier to spot Jews in Wilmington as opposed to spotting Asians. I learned that Jewish kids have to go to Hebrew school on the weekend when growing up, like Chinese-American kids have to go to Chinese school. I was hoping we would get those cute little Jewish hats (OMG they even make Batman ones) as part of Jew Day at the Ballpark, but no such luck. The only thing Jewish about Jew Day was that they played “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in Yiddish. And the Jew that happened to be sitting next to me.

Rocky Bluewinkle, get it???

So the main mascot is “Rocky Bluewinkle” the moose, who came around the stands greeting fans, but I refused to give him the time of day because I only had eyes for…

MR. CELERY!!!

Unfortunately this photo of Mr. Celery is from elsewhere on the internet because Mr. Celery was NOT to be seen at this game. But I had heard so much about him, and really wanted to meet him, take a photo with him, and get his autograph! He was THE reason to come see the game! (No offense to the nice Jewish boy.)

I know you guys enjoy the failed dating stories, so here is how it all went down:  it started raining during the game…we were without an umbrella and got soaked…and our home team was down 5 to zero at the fourth or fifth inning when the game got postponed (and eventually cancelled).

another couple was having a much better date with umbrellas.

No Mr. Celery–SO DISAPPOINTING!!! Later I found out from Wikipedia that he only comes out to “CEL”-a-brate when the Blue Rocks score a run. OHHHH.

More Mr. Celery from elsewhere on the internet:

To top it off, the Jewish boy tells me there is a Hebrew version of the famous Philly “LOVE” sculpture in Israel…yet when asked if he knew how to say “love” in Hebrew, he was stumped.

it's "Ahava" in case you want to impress me.

Now riddle me this: what exactly is the point of dating a nice Jewish boy if he can’t declare his love for you in Hebrew?!

A Superstar’s Quest For True Love

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

On the free online dating website I am using (I refuse to pay for such services), there is a section in my dating profile with the prompt “On a typical Friday night I am…”

I left that part blank.

If I were truthful, it would say “smashed from training, emailing Coach a training update, and trying to write a blog about how fascinating and glamorous my life is.” If I were extra truthful, it would also say “oh, it’s Friday night? Because that describes every night and I often lose track of what day it is.”

"So what do you do for fun when you are not training?" I go boyfriend hunting.

For some reason, Wongstar fans seem particularly fascinating with the dating life of a single pro triathlete girl. Anything to do with a date or terrible pick-up line mentioned in a Facebook status update seems to go viral immediately. So I figure why not indulge you guys on what it’s like for someone with my strange lifestyle to go boyfriend hunting.

The travel sponsor is concerned that going on dates means I am not focused enough on my training and racing. Well, at the moment I am the most focused on my triathlon career that I have ever been in my life. Honest. I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. I think Coach would approve of my quest for true love too–he knows a happy Wongstar is a fast and healthy Wongstar. After all, most of my teammates are in very solid relationships: married, engaged, or practically engaged. Chrissie Wellington herself found the time to land herself a nice boyfriend and she seems to be doing all right, breaking world records and stuff.

It seems that those on the team fall into two categories…those married to or dating other pro triathletes (typically also on the team) and those married to or dating other (tri)athletes, or at least, someone in the triathlon or cycling industry. Of course, most of them were already in established relationships prior to being on teamTBB with the craziness of traveling the world and living out of a suitcase.

Hmmm. So I tried some of that. Dating another pro triathlete and dating age group triathletes. It is really hard to date another pro triathlete who is not on the team as they are usually training and racing somewhere else in the world (and I am not about to date one of my guy teammates; they are like my brothers, ew). Plus these non-teamTBB pro guys usually have very different training philosophies and the last thing you want is for someone to put any doubt in your mind about listening to your own coach.

Age group guys then. Oh yes, we’ll have lots in common and we can train together. I have since learned to be wary of any guy who professes to be your #1 fan in order to date you. Totally skeezy (no offense to my fans out there, just be forewarned that I won’t date you) and he only wants to go out with a pro chick so he can brag to all his triathlete friends that he did, get his hands on your free schwag, and learn all your training secrets so he can get faster. Also the ego thing. Initially he’ll think it’s hot that you can chick him, but soon enough he’ll get all resentful and feel you are threatening his manhood.

So, then I thought, how about a non-triathlete? How do I meet these guys? Aha…online dating. I don’t have time to go to bars and meet guys the normal way. Whatever the normal way is.  Someone please enlighten me? You may recall I did a dating splurge back in January before deactivating my account.  I reactivated it in Spokane because I am such a nerd and wanted to find a date to the Star Wars Concert (success!), and then realized that if I don’t actively pursue true love, it certainly won’t come find me. So I pressed the “restart” button on the quest. Here are things I’ve learned:

  • If it weren’t for the internet, I’d have no game.
  • It is extremely easy to get a date. :)
  • It is extremely easy to go on many bad dates. :(
  • It is much harder to go on a great date.
  • My screening process has been very highly refined since I was just an online dating newbie in January. The more selective and picky you are, the higher the success rate of a date. I try to reassure myself that I am not being a total bitch when I ignore 97% of the messages I receive from the unsuitable suitors, I am just saving everybody (especially myself) from wasting precious time.
  • The closer you are to a big city, the better the selection.
  • I prefer not to tell a guy what my actual occupation is until he gets to know me a little first. I want him to like me for the person I am, not what I do for a living. And, um, really hope it doesn’t scare him away.
  • I am a total grammar snob. I just can’t date a guy who doesn’t know how to use an apostrophe correctly.
  • If a guy also rides bikes and finds out I do, and asks me to go on a bike ride…as our first meet-up…I find that a complete cop-out. I would much rather get pretty and go out on a proper date than get gross and sweaty and do something I already do every day. My homestay hosts find this interesting, and believe I feel that way because it’s my job. But I’d done the “bike date” thing back in college and grad school and I still thought it was a cop-out back then.
  • I don’t expect a guy to launch himself into a long-distance relationship with me after dating me only a few times before I have to pack my bags for the next destination. If he says he will, he is totally lying and will dump my foolish ass right after kissing me good-bye at the airport. That probably sounds bitter, but I’m much more realistic and wiser than I used to be. :)

Through it all, it is still in my nature to be optimistic and I continue to hold onto the hope that someday I will find that special someone who will think I am worth the trouble. Because trouble I am. ;)

Oh and for the record, just because I’ve had bad experiences dating triathlete boys does not mean I have ruled you guys out completely. Clearly I have just not met the right one yet, and I challenge you to be the exception! ;) In fact, I think I will brainstorm up a “Win a Date with the Wongstar” contest in the next few weeks…

The Wongstar: Larger Than Life

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
Asian Triathlon Superstar dwarfs Chinatown

Asian Triathlon Superstar dwarfs Chinatown

Triathlon superstars make the most of active recovery days. They go sightseeing in new cities, get in some light exercise to keep moving, and go on dates. All at the same time. (Yes, and Hello Panda-hunting while on a date proves what a successful multi-tasker I am.)

where to play mini golf in Philadelphia

where to play mini golf in Philadelphia

The active recovery exercise of choice was miniature golf in Franklin Square.

Ben Franklin Bridge

Benjamin Franklin Bridge

All the famous Philly landmarks are appropriately mini size to go with the mini golf, so you feel like Godzilla

…or at the very least, like the girl in Monsters vs. Aliens

I am not sure if I am better at swimming or miniature golf…but somehow I still won. ;)  At one point in the game, golf temporarily evolved to billiards to get my ball unstuck.

my ball is stuck in purgatory.

my ball is stuck in purgatory.

There was even a miniature version of the “Rocky Steps” in front of the mini Philadelphia Museum of Art.

made famous by that scene in Rocky

made famous by the Rocky movies

According to Wikipedia, “Tourists and local residents often mimic Rocky‘s famous climb, a metaphor for an underdog or an everyman rising to a challenge.”

Ok, so I didn’t even make it to the top of the steps in the mini version, but the photo had to be snapped before the mini golf attendant yelled at me (again) for climbing over things I wasn’t supposed to.

Wongstar the underdog rising to the challenge!

Wongstar the underdog rising to the challenge!

I rather enjoyed being larger than life…

attack of the ginormous triathlon superstar

attack of the ginormous triathlon superstar

Of course I’m sure you all have the same burning question…

Wouldnt you like to know.

Wouldn't you like to know.

“So Wongstar, was it true love???”

Well, you will have to check out the tabloids for yourself. But don’t believe everything you read. A triathlon superstar likes to keep her fans full of suspense and intrigue. ;)

I’m getting married in St. George!

Friday, April 30th, 2010
courtesy UtahStGeorge.com

courtesy UtahStGeorge.com

It’s so pretty here that every time I go outside, I am just enthralled with how beautiful it is. So much so that I’ve decided I’m going to get married here. Never mind that I have yet to figure out who (or even meet) the lucky future Mr. Wongstar will be. Odds are that he is probably not a native of San Francisco, or even California, or even the USA, and a lot of couples with geographically split-up families end up getting married in Vegas, so everyone can fly in there from all over the world relatively inexpensively, and then shuttle over here to St. George. We can have our bachelor and bachelorette parties in Sin City, a la The Hangover…Beck made me watch it to prepare for this trip–so awesome I want to steal a tiger too!

ANYWAY.

Speaking of true love and things of that nature, I got some love sent to me in the form of RACE WHEELS (!!!!!) from Token and my first package from CAMELBAK!!!

Thank you Token for my C50 race wheels!  50mm clinchers :D

Thank you Token for my C50 race wheels! 50mm clinchers :D

For the longest time Coach said I could not race with race wheels until I showed him a bike split worthy of race wheels. So the last 8 ironmans I have done whilst racing for TBB have all been on my baby training wheels. I have graduated!

High Rolling baby, just like Ill be in Vegas!

"High Rolling" baby, just like I'll be in Vegas!

As for Camelbak, I have proclaimed my love for them over and over, and was waiting for the right time when I got fast enough to approach them for sponsorship. One day when I was in Thailand, I got an email from them asking if I needed anything. I was so excited I nearly peed myself, and immediately wrote back saying “I WOULD LIVE AND DIE FOR CAMELBAK!” (I am full of life and passion, so sue me.) Not that you’d be surprised, but I seem to lose a lot of brain cells when packing and leaving training camp…especially after doing a 3-hour run the morning of my first flight. I left my favorite Camelbak out to dry (didn’t want the sweat to turn to mildew in my luggage)…and uh, really left it out to dry as I left the country without it.

*squeeeee* Camelbak loves me too!!

*squeeeee* Camelbak loves me too!!

So did I need anything from Camelbak? I only realized I was without one when I started packing for my trip to St. George! Well my whole love affair with Camelbak is kind of like when you have a die-hard crush on a super cute boy and he finally notices you…and maybe just maybe he likes you back! Just in time for the race, Brian from Camelbak OVERNIGHTED me the 2010 Classic (I’ve been racing in the red one) in the color I wanted…the sexy silver one! THANK YOU BRIAN!!

Im bringing sexy-bak with Camelbak.

I'm bringing sexy-bak with Camelbak.

Yesterday Canadian pro Miranda Alldritt picked me up for lunch and registration. We’ve been doing all the same Ironmans this year since Malaysia, and Coeur d’Alene will make it 4 for 4. Something new at this event…AIRBRUSHED TATTOO BODY MARKING. NO WAY.

Miranda is #61, and will be for an entire week until this wears off.

Miranda is #61, and will be for an entire week until this wears off.

I had them paint my forearms as I am racing in my usual longer sleeve superhero-esque race top.

first you get a special stencil.

first you get a special stencil.

Then you get airbrushed with black paint!

Then you get airbrushed with black paint!

then they blowdry your arm and baby powder your skin.

then they blowdry your arm and baby powder your skin.

I’m #57.  The bib numbers have your last names on them, I will have to embellish mine with a STAR after the WONG. ;) Like Rachel on Glee who puts gold stars after her name, because she’s gonna be a star!

The number tattoos look much cooler when you wash the baby powder off, I swear.

The number tattoos look much cooler when you wash the baby powder off, I swear.

Back on the homestay-front, it’s Landon’s 7th birthday on Ironman race day, so we celebrated last night with the family. He’ll have another party with friends on Friday, and then Saturday will be an all-day party when he’s helping out at Run Aid Station #4 (at mile 3).

Birthday cake!  with ice cream of course!

Birthday cake! with ice cream of course!

I miss little kid birthdays. And by little kid birthdays, I mean my own. I remember how fun it was to only get toys. One year my mom got me a GLOBE. If I knew what the F-word was back then, I would’ve said “WTF Mom?!” I was probably only 8, who the heck gets a boring old globe for their 8-year-old?! I totally resented that gift and shoved it in the back of my closet.

no stinkin globe for this kid, he got Transformers, trucks, games, and a future trip to Disneyland!!

no stinkin' globe for this kid, he got Transformers, trucks, games, and a future trip to Disneyland!!

But maybe Mom foresaw something that I never did…that someday I’d become a world-traveling international triathlon superstar. 8) Thanks Mom! and happy 7th birthday, Landon! :D

easing the pain of no prize money

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

How to become an international triathlon superstar, step #6: Get called up on stage to win a cool trophy, and learn to use said trophy appropriately.

Who cares about the race, how about the awards and the after party? Mom & Dad want to see that sweet trophy I won!

Just a short procrastination on the race report…which I will do soon too because I need to cram in Mandarin Chinese lessons REALLY QUICK as I’ve been invited to the press conference at Ironman China! *squeal*

So this was my very first awards ceremony at a WTC Ironman event where I got called up on stage as a pro!

Here I am!  I have arrived!

Here I am! I have arrived!

I was actually the very first athlete to be called up! They only announced the top 5 pro men & women and the women got up there first, even before the amateurs…

CHEESE!

CHEESE! I think I am the happiest!

It was a little surreal actually, standing right next to former teamTBB alumnae girls Belinda & Hillary who had taken 1st and 3rd. Years ago as an age grouper I had really looked up to them and wow, things have certainly changed.

raise your crystal trophies up and yell HUZZAH!

raise your crystal trophies up and yell HUZZAH!

I couldn’t help thinking of the awards ceremony at my first Ironman 8 years ago, when I sat with my mom looking at the faster athletes getting called up on stage. I told her I wanted to be up on that stage one day. She had said “Of course you will some day” but moms are supposed to say things like that. And I didn’t actually mean up on stage for the pro category, I would’ve been quite happy with getting top 5 in my age group! I’ve never even won my age group in an Ironman!

Belinda making her speech. I took some mental notes.

Belinda making her speech. I took some mental notes.

The boys were next:

HUZZAH!

HUZZAH!

Hiro and his big paycheck! He was like team captain for the weekend.

money money money!

money money money!

Sometimes the awards ceremony is a bit of a drag, but not when you have Haamonii Smooth Shochu as your liquor sponsor!

how to enjoy the awards ceremony: sharing harmony

how to enjoy the awards ceremony: sharing harmony

The Japanese know how to party:

Maki says her dad drinks shochu every night!

Maki says her dad drinks shochu every night!

Emma won her age group AND her first ticket to Kona! This is why she is also the perfect wing-girl to go trolling for boys with:

did she find a stud muffin?  did she??

did she find a stud muffin? did she??

Speaking of boys, the whole point of racing Ironman on the pro circuit is to meet the hot (and tall) foreign ones. No more silly age groupers for me. Here is my 5th place male counterpart, Andreas:

5th place is a good start

5th place is a good start

He didn’t make the money cut-off either. Thus, we would soon make good use of our very practical trophies.

all done! best awards presentation ever!

all done! best awards presentation ever!

When all was said and done and all award winners announced (and the bottle of Haamonii shared around the table), the ceremony ended with a bang. Hiro and Maki said that this is what my prize money was spent on:

good-bye prize money!

good-bye prize money!

It was then on to more celebrating…so what was it I said about our trophies being practical? I was told that they were made of local Langkawi crystal.

both beautiful and functional

both beautiful and functional

This is my new Slovakian friend Marek with his pretty nails, the only pro I outswam. He said I came by like a shark. Funny how speed is all relative ;)

prettiest fingernails of all the pros

prettiest fingernails of all the pros

The new trophies and new friends helped ease the bitterness of not winning any money this weekend!

no prize money, someone else buy the drinks!

no prize money, someone else buy the drinks!

Disclaimer: the Wongstar encourages responsible drinking. Please don’t drink and drive. However, if you are a nerdy guy trying to impress a nerdy girl, by all means attempt to drink and derive.

Valentine’s Special: the conclusion of dating shenanigans (for now)

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

or “all I ever needed to know about dating I learned from the Wongstar’s blog.” …NOT! ;)

As promised, whatever happened to the dating shenanigans? Well surely that was a fun experiment, but now I’m back at training camp and focused on the only boyfriend that counts…to be introduced to you very shortly… :D

So in the span of 19 days in January, I went on 7 actual dates with the 4 eligible bachelors who passed my rather vigorous online screening process. They came in a variety of flavors (Chinese, Cuban, and two varieties of vanilla–one being ex-Mormon/ex-vegan). Heights ranged from 5’11″ to 6’3″–believe it or not, my favorite one was the shortest. See! I’m not such a height snob. Dates varied from a $130 basketball game (2 X $65 tickets which I found an insane amount for the guy to spend on a first date, not that I complained) to a touristy stroll on the Golden Gate Bridge ($2 in quarters for the parking meter).

Fascinatingly enough, my screening process was so successful that 3 of the 4 guys had all founded and ran their own companies (at the strapping young ages of 26, 31, and 32). Apparently I seem to attract guys who are also ambitious and pursuing their dreams. However, I did let one slip through the cracks…the 36yo currently unemployed former professional triathlete. (Big mistake. I should’ve known better.)

As an upcoming international triathlon superstar on the dating circuit, one contemplates various questions as she gets to know these bachelors…

  1. When do I tell him I’m a pro triathlete?
  2. How many showers does it take to wash off the chlorine stink after marinating in the pool for 3-4 hours earlier that day?
  3. When do I tell him I live with my parents?
  4. When do I tell him I’m leaving the country?
  5. When do I tell him I actually live overseas at least 6 months of the year? (last year was 7…)

Let’s start with question #1…when do I tell him what my actual job is? Well some of you wonder why that might be a problem, and indeed it used to be my favorite pick-up line at bars when I first got my pro card. Then I soon realized that as intriguing as it is to say “hey baby, I’m a pro triathlete,” it also tends to scare boys off. Somehow it sends this message:

Or as one of my guy friends has told me “You might as well cut their balls off.” Yes, I am one intimidating girl. Just like Kung Fu Panda, guys are afraid they might go blind from overexposure to pure awesomeness.

During the screening process, there was one candidate who wanted to initiate an online chat. Unfortunately I realized too late that my GoogleTalk had been set ages ago with my blog URL as its status. After some hello’s and mostly silence on his side, he finally eeps out, ”I’m reading your blog right now…”  ”…damn you are intense…”  ”…I need to spend some time reading this.” After having access to the wealth of information on me, he refused to tell me much about himself (oh! that’s fair), and so…no first date. Must suck getting your balls cut off.

For the boys I actually met in person, I tried a few tactics. A couple of them I told before we met in person. (and they still wanted to go out with me? Score!) On one first date, I tried not to mention the pro thing…but then I felt deceptive and there were some awkward silences that needed to be filled. The last one I just told right away when he asked me in person…”So, what do you do?”

In the end, I realized it didn’t matter because, dammit, I am just so damn Google-able that you don’t even need to know what my name is to find me on the internet. Great for marketing yourself as a pro triathlete, not so great when trying to stay relatively anonymous when meeting new boys to date. There was the one bachelor who I later learned had Googled me 2 weeks before we actually met. Before he even knew my name. Apparently if you search for “5’9″ triathlete pacifica california” and then hit “I’m Feeling Lucky”, you go straight to my profile on theWongstar.com. (Remember the dating sites have you list your height and current city.) Thank you Google Analytics…I’m still not sure if I should be creeped out or flattered.

I actually asked one of the guys I got to know if he had ever Googled me, obviously it’s a problem.  He said one of the sweetest things… ”No, why would I Google you? Then we would have nothing to talk about.” THANK YOU!! Yes, I realize I have quite the online presence, but I would prefer new boys not to have preconceived notions when they barely know me. Believe it or not, the Wongstar online persona is only a part of who I really am.

Question #2: How many showers? Well, that nice swim block in January had some overlap with this nice dating block. Indeed, it was always at least 2 showers and extra vigorous scrubbing to try to get the chlorine marinade off my skin on swim days/date nights. Girls should smell like flowers and peaches, not like nasty pool chemicals. Although I did have a guy friend (former college swimmer) tell me he kind of likes the swimming pool smell. Yeah well, too bad that’s probably more of the exception than the rule! :)

Question #3, living with the parents… Actually questions #3-4-5 didn’t seem to matter if it was obvious there would be no second date. In fact, I found it rather useful to mention when trying to escape a really bad date. For example, the unemployed ex-pro triathlete who made me buy my own hot chocolate, and then asked if I was ready to make out with him.  While we were still in Starbucks. Then asked how my libido was like when I was training so much. Then asked if I wanted to come up to his place to “watch a movie.” Good thing he knew I lived with the parentals, gosh look at the time, I had to get up *really* early to train. And at 45 minutes, that was the shortest date I’ve ever been on. There, done, BYE.

Otherwise, pro or not, there’s not too much shame being a 28yo Asian girl living with her parents in the San Francisco Bay Area. First of all, it’s super expensive living there. You save boatloads of money and it’s just smart (especially when you are only in the USA half the year). Secondly, in our culture it is completely acceptable to live at home until you get married. This is what I tell myself anyway. And if the guy understands the concept of making sacrifices in pursuit of “living the dream,” then that’s the kind of guy for me.

Only two made it past the first date. I learned that you can actually get a feel for a person through email before meeting them. Like the guy who kept mentioning kids and babies. (No first date.) Or if they’re kinda boring via email, they’re kinda boring in person. If they’re a bit too forward via email then you shouldn’t bother meeting them for a 45-minute non-date. Sometimes you meet people who are cute, and really nice, and you get along all right and try really hard to like them THAT WAY…but there’s just no chemistry. You can usually tell right away if you like them or not. If you’re not sure, well you probably don’t.

Then there was the one who actually made it to the third date. He was the only one that I told I was leaving, the others either found out via Google or didn’t really care. And then…I got on an airplane and left the country 24 hours later. C’est la vie. Dating is a little complicated with this pro triathlete lifestyle. (My FB relationship status should be permanently set on “it’s complicated”.) I try not to leave too many smashed-up broken hearts in my wake (including my own) but what’s a triathlon superstar to do? True love is out there for the Wongstar, and she holds out hope that she will find it someday. :)

(Hilarious comics are from Angry Little Girls by Lela Lee.  She also makes bags and shirts with the potty-mouthed little Asian girl.)

Happy Valentine’s Day, I hope you get some!!

The Interview Process for Mr. Right, Stage 1

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I think I would make a fascinating reality TV show.

Some of my readers have been understandably confused with the whole idea of online dating.  No, we don’t go into internet chat rooms and have virtual dates with each other’s cartoon avatars.  I like to think of it as being set up on blind dates (yes, real ones, face-to-face) through a mutual friend.  The mutual friend being the internet.

First you set up a profile and upload a couple of photos.  Not unlike the teamTBB athlete profiles, where you put up a small summary of yourself, what you like to do, favorite music and movies etc., only without your real name.  There’s the basic stats like your age, location, height (hooray), ethnicity, education, religion, and income level (which I conveniently left blank).  No where on my profile does it mention I’m a professional triathlete (or triathlete at all).  I am keeping my triathlon superstar alter-ego in check for the first stage of the screening process.  The last thing I want is a bunch of messages from trigeek boys.  Although I did find it a bit difficult to nail down some good photos of me where I am NOT racing or in a sporty outfit!

Then you start checking out other people’s profiles.  If you are “browsing openly” you can see who is “checking you out” (i.e. visiting your profile) and they will know when you are “checking them out.”  You can send each other “winks” and also messages.  The winks are more like harmless flirting, and messages are more like pick-up lines.  In either case, the objective is to get someone to check out your profile, and if they like what they see, you either initiate or continue the conversation.  If they are gross, you just ignore them.

Not too unlike picking up someone at a bar right?  Only I find it much more efficient.  You already know their education level, age, interests…and can just get a good initial vibe of if they are worth pursuing.

My brother is convinced that I’ll only meet freaks and weirdos.  While there are in fact freaks and weirdos out there, they usually don’t pass my initial screening process.  Let’s put an example here.  So I mentioned in my profile that I was amused at the parallels between online dating and online shopping.  I mean, you can narrow down your search parameters (e.g. single guys between the ages of 27 and 34 who have at least a bachelor’s degree and are 5’11″ or taller, living within 25 miles of me).  And as you are looking at one guy’s profile, there’s a panel on the right side of screen with suggestions for 5 other guys similar to this one I might like.  Just like when you buy something online, you get “Customers who bought this item also purchased these items.”

Well, so one fellow I’ll call “K” wrote me a 3-page essay to me as his first message.  Here are some very entertaining excerpts:

Subject: online dating like online shopping?

“For me it feels more like a job interview than shopping…”

“I have no problem with saying “no, I don’t think we’re a fit” if we’re not a fit. Some people are turned off by the bluntness, and are always surprised when I ask point blank what the situation is. Last night I asked a girl whether she thought I was gay or not (in the bar scenario), and it cleared things up real fast… apparently she thought I was, and so therefore wasn’t really chatting with me to chat me up. Oh well.”

I’m not sure how telling a girl that other girls think you come off as gay is even remotely attractive when looking for a straight male to date.  Unless you are applying to be my gay best friend, which clearly you’re not…

“I am not nearly as athletic as you… nor as tall. Would that be a problem for you?”

Actually, K, that is a problem.  I’m fine with guys who are not as athletic as I am (that would be 99% of the world right?) but unfortunately I’m a height snob.  I know this sucks, but I am getting better…I mean, I lowered my minimum height from 6’2″ all the way down to 5’11″, anyone that knows me knows that is progress!!

Although the real deal-breaker was not your lack of height but maybe the next paragraph…

“And I’m one of those people that do the transition between crush-target and friend rather smoothly; many of my female friends I met through this site, including my best friend, for which I’ll probably be second-in-line to be the Maid of Honor. She’s told me that she’s not going to make me wear a dress, though…”

Again…I’m not looking for a gay best friend.  I already have a couple of them who are *NOT* in the closet.

And seriously, where on my profile did I say “please write a 3-page essay if you’re interested,” never mind “please write a 3-page essay on the many reasons I should NOT date you”???  Please, stick to short pick-up lines.  The content of the first message is mostly irrelevant as you just check out their profile anyway before deciding if you want to talk to them.

I felt bad that he seemed to have put in some time to write such a long first message.  Then I wondered if this was his sneaky way to guilt-trip me into responding to him.  Well I ignored it for a week, then felt compelled to respond.  At first I thought of just being blunt like he claimed to be and saying “No, I don’t think we’re a fit” as clearly we were not a fit.  Then my sister had a better idea.  He was the one that said it was like a job interview!

“Dear K:

We interviewed a number of candidates for the position, and we have determined that another candidate is the most qualified for the requirements of our opening. This letter is to let you know that you have not been selected for the position.

Thank you for taking the time to come to meet our interview team. The team enjoyed meeting you and our discussions.”

Now before you say “damn Wongstar, you’re a harsh b*tch,” I did in fact get one last message back from him:

“I usually don’t respond to rejection letters but I have to say that your message was uber awesome. Best wishes with your search!

-k”

Yes, “uber awesome” is my middle name.  It is both my blessing and my curse.

The next installment will elaborate on the guys who have successfully made the first cut, and have progressed to the face-to-face interviews.  Yes, the real dates.