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    Dating in Boston: ‘ghosting’ & ‘benching’

    Part one of my “Dating in Boston” series.

    “I really do feel bad for single women in this city,” my married friend, Diane, told me over beers one evening. “Dating nowadays… it just seems brutal.”

    She had a point.

    Mind you, this was after our conversation about dating horror stories, my personal experiences in the dating scene, and how the crop of people seems to differ neighborhood-to-neighborhood. But still… she made a point. While she may not be that much older than me, she wasn’t dating during the time of mobile apps and the “hookup culture” that we are in. It made me think: have the things that me and my girlfriends are going through right now happening 10+ years ago? Has Diane ever been “ghosted”? Has my mom been “benched”?

    Honestly, I didn’t know “ghosting” and “benching” was even a thing until it happened to me. “Oh, girl, he’s ghosting you…” someone (I can’t remember who) told me once.

    I had to look it up.

    Ghosting: The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested…

    Seriously? Have we, as a society, become so cowardly? We are so brave and bold behind an iPhone screen, and yet this person didn’t have the courage to say You know, Steph, this really isn’t working out or Eh, I don’t think we are a good match or even It’s not you, it’s me! I really wanted to call him out and I did… eventually. However, in calling him out, I risked looking like one of those so-called crazy girls. Am I really crazy for wanting to know what gives? Am I crazy because I was one of the first women to call him out on his B.S.?

    This past weekend, I sat with a friend as she verbally recounted the things about her recent relationship that might have sparked the ghosting. Women these days are hardwired to fear looking crazy. We avoid confronting the ghoster (although we REALLY, DESPERATELY want to) and end up more frustrated at the fact that we can’t. I began reading different blog posts, Thought Catalog articles, etc. on ghosting and learned of yet another dating trend: benching.

    Benching: Common in the online dating world, the bencher constantly exchanges messages with the benchee, but doesn’t arrange to meet in-person. Also known as a form of ‘stringing along’.

    Again — cowardly. I remember having to initiate every single move/in-person date (oh, but he had no problem blowing up my phone) with a different guy and finally telling him, point-blank, we are on different pages. I’m not into this. Sure, he could not have been into me. Sure, maybe he was shy. But I’m curious how we even got to this point? How did we get to this part of life where people decided to stop putting in work? Where men didn’t formally court women anymore? Can you blame me for wanting that?

    So here you go, taken women. This is what I’m dealing with… jealous?

    Oh, but wait, there’s more…

    My 6 Go-To Bars in Boston

    Back in 2014, my Boston coworkers and I began working on a Google Sheet with a list of bars to visit. Attempting to add different bars to our list of regular spots, we carefully researched and visited different bars. With this exposure, I thought I’d share a list of my personal favorites (in no particular order) – just in case you decide to visit Beantown. Please note, my taste doesn’t include obnoxious clubs. I prefer pubs and more down-to-earth places, with a few exceptions.

    barcelona-wine-bar

    Boozy Brunch
    Barcelona – South End

    I can’t tell you enough about their wonderful Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar. From choosing the alcohol and homemade mix, to adding candied bacon, cheese, sauces, etc., Barcelona always makes me happy. It’s in the picturesque South End — the perfect location before heading out to SoWa or a play at the Calderwood Pavilion.

    yard-house

    Beer Bar
    Yardhouse – Fenway

    I discovered this bar while living in the Fenway neighborhood. It’s a very large space (for Boston standards) with half-yard beers, an endless food menu, and TV’s EVERYWHERE. It’s perfect for watching a game with a group of your friends or just a place to sit at the bar and munch on their delicious truffle fries. Plus, with over 100 beers on tap, you’ll never get bored.

    Yvonnes-Library

    Posh Bar
    Yvonne’s – Downtown Crossing

    Yvonne’s is at the center of Downtown Boston. After undergoing a name-change and renovation, it opened and has instantly become a great place for after-work drinks. The entrance looks like an entrance to a hair salon, but once they let you in through the door to the bar, you’re instantly thrown into a posh library. The artwork on the walls is fabulous, the bar is beautiful, and the seating/lounge area is very comfortable. Plus, the drinks are fresh and the food is great for sharing.

    Crossroads

    Neighborhood Bar
    Crossroads – Back Bay

    Oh, Crossroads… Crossroads is my favorite neighborhood bar, not only because it’s five doors from my apartment building, but because of the great specials, delicious bar food, friendly bar tenders, and cheap beer.

    mr-dooley-s-boston-tavern

    Irish Pub
    Mr. Dooley’s – Financial District

    My friends and I stumbled upon Mr. Dooley’s one night and now deem this our St. Patty’s Day spot. They have the traditional Irish pub food and a live Irish band. If you’re wanting to go to Dublin, but don’t have the money or vacation time, just swing by Mr. Dooley’s.

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    Live Music + Rooftop Deck
    Whiskey Priest – Seaport District

    Set to close soon (because Boston loves to build over-priced, luxury buildings), Whiskey Priest is a bar that overlooks the harbor and has a spacious rooftop deck that is perfect for summer. The bottom level has a dance floor and stage for local bands to jam. It’s great fun, so enjoy while you can! We will miss you, Whiskey Priest.

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    Three Ways to Curb Homesickness

    It’s been about two-and-a-half years since I picked up and left Texas. As with any major change in life, there have been ups and downs. I have had a constant battle between missing home and loving my new home. I talk to my family nearly every day and have been able to go home as often as I can afford to. Still, that tiny, dreadful feeling manages to creep up on me from time to time. It takes over my mood and outlook on my new life in Boston. That feeling is homesickness.

    During high school, I couldn’t wait to leave my tiny, west Texas town. “There’s nothing here!” I would always say.

    During college, I couldn’t wait to leave the much bigger, Dallas/Fort Worth area. I hated spending so much of my day in traffic and in the heat. I longed for my small town.

    Now, there are days when I still long for my small town or even Dallas/Fort Worth… somewhere familiar. It’s an internal game of tug-of-war; but I’ve learned to keep it under control.

    Find Your Tribe

    I have several families up here that I know would be there for me if something were to happen. I know that’s a dark way of thinking about it, but being far from home, these are things you think about. Who are your emergency contacts? Who can I call if I need help right then and there? The generosity of my friends and their families has been amazing. I have so many couches that are available for me for a night, so if I’m ever truly sick for home cooking, I have options.

    Stay Busy

    I spend most of my off-time volunteering and trying to give back to the community. Spending time with those who are less fortunate, have impairments or are also lonely can really put things into perspective. I always catch myself thinking “poor little thing, you are living independently in a fabulous city and can’t manage to be happy…” Funny, huh? What seems so big to us, really doesn’t have to be that big at all. Spend your time doing things you enjoy, get a good work out in (endorphins!) or get lost in a good book. Whatever it may be, it’s much better that staying home and thinking about your family or friends.

    Set a Goal & WORK

    As a goal-driven human, I function better when I have something to look forward to or work toward. Scattered around my desk is a notebook and post-its of lists, to-dos, etc. Rather than spending time moping around, working to achieve something is always better. So schedule that half (or full) marathon! Or go ahead and start your side hustle. Occupy your mind with achieving your goals, because crossing something off a list always feels good.

    And when all else fails, call mom or dad. Let them know how you feel. You may either get a surprise visit or a lovely care package full of your favorites from home.
    Do you have any tips for homesickness?

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