Everyone’s Searching for Something, Chapter 2

blog pix may 28 searching

Are you curious about other readers of this blog and what prompts them to read about dating, sex, and life in your 60s? After all, it’s comforting to know you are not the only person faced with particular concerns.

It has been over a year since I’ve looked at the search terms that bring people here. Let’s catch up over some spring minestrone verde with pistachio pesto and see what’s on readers’ minds (with my comments, of course).

The search terms reflect a global base since you, dear readers, are literally from every country on the globe.  The US leads the pack, followed by the UK and Canada in that order – all the way down to Vanuatu and Oman (where are these places?). I love the fact that Vanuatuians (sp?) are also concerned about the state – or non-state – of their love lives.

The number one search that brought people here in the last year and a half was “dating in your 60s rules” or “breaking up in your 60s.” A tie. Unfortunately one often leads to the other. The only rules I follow are my own, based on what I have learned and found works best for me. And I break them as desired and often on a whim. For example, I used to have a rule about never sending the first message. I soon ignored that rule. However, if a guy is younger than me, I usually let him make the first virtual move.

“Coffee meets Bagel scammers” was the next most popular search and the post on this topic was one of my most viewed. This might be a warning to those of you on this dating site. I gave up CMB and OkCupid due to a preponderance of fake profiles.

What else are people interested in?

How about “taking the stress out of dating in your 60s?” To me, the biggest stress is finding someone I want to date and actually going out on a repeated basis. Of course, there are other stressful aspects of the dating game such as ghosting.

Some are searching for “memories sex life.” I know about this one. During dry spells, I have memories of a sex life. Add this to the stress search noted above.

Other people found me by searching for “Breadcrumber.” Have you experienced this lovely modern dating phenomenon? It’s becoming more common.

“Sex with cougar in 60s.” My question is, who was searching – a woman of a certain age seeking guidance on taking a younger lover or a young cub looking for clues about what older women want? One never knows.

I find the brouhaha over the new French president’s much older wife ironic given the frequency of a similar age difference between older men and younger women.

Whatever you think of such an age gap between partners, it only seems equitable that your view should hold whether the man or the woman is the May or December party. See Julie Weinberg’s guest blog post last December for a look at an older woman/younger man relationship.

“Sex profile photos.” I’m not sure what readers were looking for with this search. Is the interest in sexy photos on a profile? I’ve seen some provocative photos but the sites don’t allow full on nudity. Those infamous dick pix have to be sent via a message. As far as written profiles that mention sex, there are plenty of them. Certainly OkCupid’s questions invite you to bare your soul and reveal your sexual interests and appetite.

“Ian Kerner cliteracy.” To learn about cliteracy, read my interview with noted sex therapist and author Ian Kerner. Kerner coined the term as a way to focus on “the clitoris as the powerhouse of the female orgasm in response to persistent stimulation.”

“OkCupid Ticklish.” Are these people concerned about an OkCupid match who has a tickling fetish? There are profiles of people who announce their fetishes on all of the sites, not just OkCupid.

Despite this interesting intel about your interests, the majority of searches are unknown. You are for the most part a mystery to me. Tell me what you’re searching for and I’ll see if I can help – or at least commiserate.

Until next week, happy searching, dating or not dating.

BONUS: I was recently a guest on a DivorceForce Survival Guide podcast on gray divorce.

Check it out on iTunes to learn more about divorce after 50.  

Note: There are some minor audio technical difficulties at the beginning. 

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Dear Nadia, I Have a Dating Dilemma

Blog pix dating dilemma

Decisions, decisions. Dating is fraught with judgment calls, gut calls, and dilemmas. How do you check out a guy you met in real life? When should you let a guy pick you up at your place or drop by to see you? When do you have sex?

It’s good to talk about these issues with friends and sometimes friends ask me for advice. So, sit back and try some goat cheese and arugula pasta salad while I share a recent exchange with a gal pal. Identifying details have been altered for privacy.

*************************************************************************************

Dear Nadia, 

As I mentioned, I met this guy, Max, last Saturday while on a Meetup bike ride. We hung out after the ride over lunch – and had a really nice time. I gave him my e-mail and phone number and he emailed me this week. 

Max lives in Baltimore but will be driving through my area this Friday to leave his dog with his sister since he’s going out of town. He suggested swinging by my place on his way. I told him that I live in Kensington. Max works for the Department of Homeland Security and has a high security clearance – so he probably knows my address, favorite color, and everything else about me!

Do you have any good background checking tools? I know his full name, age, and address, which check out, but don’t know anything else. DHS doesn’t have a detailed staff directory online. It seems a bit preliminary to have him come to my house, although maybe he’s trying to make it easy for me. I could meet him at a restaurant or park since he’ll have his dog with him (a yellow lab, I believe).

Aargh…when did dating get so hard?!

Lily

Dear Lily,

Yes, dating IS hard…but in fact you met Max the old fashioned way, which makes it a bit simpler.  For instance, you have some good basic info that has checked out!  To add to the information you have, you could use some of the same tactics I use with an online match when I have very little to go on.

Checking out a guy you met in real life

You could run his Meetup picture through Google image search and see what pops up.  If you haven’t already done so, I suggest separate web searches of his name, phone number, and email address.

Another tactic is checking out Max’s public Facebook page. I think FB collects info on someone’s page visitors so at some point Max might see you in his “People You May Know” alerts but that could happen in other ways too. You could also temporarily change your privacy settings on LinkedIn and anonymously check out his profile.

The purpose of all of this investigation is not to find out every last detail about him but to make sure there are no red flags. Once I have enough information to know that a guy is who he says he is, and there are no concerns, I stop sleuthing.   Too much probing can spoil the all important fun and discovery phase of a relationship. It really is best to learn about a person organically in a face-to-face encounter.

I have used Intelius and Spokeo to run preliminary background checks on matches.  Neither one of these search engines is perfect in terms of accuracy and depth of information but they have proven useful on occasion. I let my subscriptions to these services lapse because I found I could gather most information on my own for free.  I also realized that my gut is fairly accurate!

If marital status is a concern, you could search for evidence of his divorce. Most states have free, public divorce records.

Some additional resources that are likely not necessary in your case:

*Scam digger picture search

*You can check his email address on this romance scam site

When should you let a guy pick you up for a date?

Since you asked for advice, I’ll put on my Jewish mother hat to say that on a few occasions I have been okay with a guy picking me up for a second date at my house but I usually wait until the third date. Sometimes the second date is a deal-breaker and I want to be able to leave if it’s not going well.

I make the “pick me up” decision on a case-by-case basis. This decision is based on how much I know/have found out about a man and my gut impression of the guy.

So, if you feel comfortable, you could certainly say okay to him dropping by. Or you could just offer to meet him at the park or for a drink.

However, at this point, I feel he should ask you out – not just drop by on his way to somewhere else. It feels like he’s doing what’s convenient  – not making a concerted effort to see you and take you out!

Dating computer experts and guys with security clearances

The other issue is dating someone who has a high security clearance or is a computer expert and could do a better background check on you than you could on him! I have gone out with some guys who fall into that category. I never had evidence that they out-sleuthed me but it’s entirely possible. I tell myself that, like me, they want to know whom they’re dealing with…and then I forget about their possible channeling of Sherlock Holmes.

For future reference, here are links to some of my blog posts on security in online dating:

A brief encounter with a catfisher

Catfishing and lessons from a millennial

A bad bagel on Coffee Meets Bagel

Tips for safe online dating

Dating tips and tricks

Dating safety, security, and truth-in-advertising

Keep me posted on Max, Lily!

Hugs,

Nadia

*************************************************************************************

Dear readers, send me your dating dilemmas and I’ll try to respond in a future blog post!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Withering Heights

blog pix tall woman

It was my second “short” match in a span of five days. By short, I mean the guy was 3 inches shorter than me. If you’re 5’ 5” that might not mean as much to you but if you’re 5’10” like me, it’s a big deal (pun intended). Some people think I might be too picky about my height requirement; even my daughter who is my height has asked me about it. Of course her current boyfriend is 6’2″.

It’s time to dissect this issue while enjoying some tall salad.

I love being tall now but it wasn’t always that way.

When you’re a kid – especially an adolescent or teenager, you don’t want to be different. You want to blend in. Being the center of attention because you’re vivacious and popular is an entirely different thing.

When you’re tall, you feel that everything you do is more obvious. If you’re not terribly confident about your dance moves, for example, you feel as if an enormous spotlight is focused on you – illuminating your awkwardness to all of the shorter, more coordinated people. You get tired of always being in the last row when class pictures are being taken.

Being taller than all of the boys was the biggest negative. Fact: I was 5’9” at age 13 and 5’11” at about age 15 when I finally stopped elongating. (Yes, I lost an inch in recent years.) As a teenager, I was fairly shy around boys so it’s hard to know if they were intimidated by my height but let’s just say I was not a social butterfly in high school.

I longed for a tall boyfriend. I wanted to feel “tiny” and feminine. And even as I embraced women’s liberation, a career, and independence, I still desired that tall/taller “imbalance” that only a tall man could provide. That “imbalance” made me feel instantly sexier and more attractive. It put me in the feminine zone.

Of course I married a man 2” shorter than me. But back then I wasn’t filtering men on a website. That was real life.

Now, 7 years out of that long marriage, I search for my tall mystery man, the one I dreamed about as a teenager but never had. I figure it’s my last – or one of my last — chances to have a long term tall/taller “imbalance.”

That doesn’t mean I don’t date men somewhat shorter than me – and losing that inch to aging helped in that department. But if I think about my ideal, it’s got to be 6’4” with 6’1” being a more realistic goal.

So you see there’s a lot of back-story to those desired inches of flesh, muscle, and bone. At some point, I decided that when filtering online I would not go 3” shorter than me. I don’t want to give that much of the dream up. In real life, who knows? A shorter knight in size medium armor might mesmerize me. And, if past is prologue; we could go for 40 years.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

May Rant about Dating

blog post angry face for may 7

 

I keep giving guys a break. Perhaps the sparkling wit absent from their written correspondence will manifest in a real life interaction. Maybe they will look better in person than they do in their profile photos. I’m sure the 1-hour geographic distance will be inconsequential if we have chemistry.

Why do I force these issues? I don’t want to be so picky that I never find anyone. I do, however, refuse to compromise on what’s really important to me in a partner…so I only suffer illusions or delusions for a limited timeframe.

There are some guys that don’t deserve even a short break. Lately I’ve been feeling generally annoyed at bad or inappropriate profiles and photos. Swipe with me, click on profiles with me, and you’ll see what I mean. Fuel up first on some baked red snapper.

Examples from my dating files:

The word-less profile:

*A picture of an armed soldier sandwiched between two photos of a guitar-filled wall

*A “shadow” photo – literally a picture of someone’s shadow.

Sapiosexual ad nauseum:

May 7 blog sapiosexual

Mocking education and career:

*Graduated from University of Hard Knocks

*Works at: Director of Everything

Consider joining a religion-focused dating site: 

“I am a man with a fear of God….All I want in a woman is someone….who…has a fear of God too.”

God's Hands

 

Photo misses:

*Ten photos- nine of them are of a woman

*Bondage toys

Silly for silly’s sake:

 

May 7 blog silly 

 

 

 Fetish friendly

May 7 blog fetish

A man with a farm or wild animal 

*Cuddling with a tiger, rubbing noses with a llama (love animals just not these pictures)

LinkedIn not

*His profile reads like a resume or a biography by a historian and sometimes so does his first message:

May 7 blog linkedin 1

Profile example:May 7 blog linkedin 2

Extra credit for cleanliness and good housekeeping

May 7 blog cleanliness

So many more examples…Sigh. Okay, end of rant.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Missed Connections

blog pix missed connections

Missed Connections

If you’re a member of Match you may have signed up for the fairly new Missed Connections service, which uses GPS to alert you to matches you have crossed paths with.

Missed Connections seems to be fairly accurate, calculating correctly that I have driven by Street X or Highway Y or walked by Avenue Z. Some of my missed connections are regulars – so much so that I wonder if they’re hiding in my trunk.

This new Match feature has triggered a few “views” of my profile and I have “viewed” some of my connections. I had one email exchange with a guy but I’m eight years older than him, which may be the reason he stopped writing.

If you want to email your Missed Connection, take advantage of a potentially common destination as an easy opener:

“Hey, were you also going to that blues concert in Adams Morgan on Friday?”

You see what I mean.

This Match feature got me thinking about other “missed connection” avenues, especially the popular one on Craigslist. I think there are some lessons to be learned from these “personals.” Let’s take a look at a few while enjoying some tuna spring rolls with pineapple dipping sauce. In the interest of privacy, I changed some minor details in the ads.

7 Summers Ago… Corner Bakery – m4w (Friendship Heights)

As mystic as this seems I must take the long shot and follow the edict of my heart and the celestial wireless…In The Summer of 2010 I met you at Friendship Heights Corner Bakery, was immediately smitten and got you breakfast on the Al-Fresca. I remember having a great time but not being smart as a wild 26 year old…We parted ways with no contact and I’ve never forgotten you. You were such an anomaly…a gorgeous Desi babe in painters overalls…You told me you were adopted. You had a patrician silence that was seemingly super compatible with my fire and locquatious (sic) nature. I have attached my pic if you are out there…I’ll be at Corner Bakery hoping for Destiny on May Day…I can take a chance on the love I’ve felt for 7 years…

Tomorrow is May Day! This reminds me of the movie An Affair to Remember.

Seven years after this man bought a woman breakfast, he’s still thinking about her. Sounds like a real connection – at least on his part. I wonder why they didn’t exchange numbers…definitely one of the lessons learned.

Two nights at home depot – m4w (Gaithersburg)

age: 41

Two nights in a row we saw each other at the checkout. We have some type of flirty connection. 

Let me know what I bought so I know it is you… 

Hard to know whether these two people were in the same line. If not, it would certainly be harder to talk. One of them could have stalled outside the store and started a conversation. Easier said than done but the bottom line is sometimes you have to take a risk and hope the other person is truly interested in you. 

You complimented me on my pocket square – m4w (Red Line)

age: 45

Riding in to DC on the Red Line last week you tapped me on the shoulder and told me you liked my pocket square. You said it made you happy. I believe it was last Thursday. I should have told you I liked your smile. 😉  

Give me some details about what I look like and the pocket square in particular, and I’ll take you to Lunch or for drinks some time…

That’s all it takes – a compliment. Sadly, he blew it …and he knows it. Oh, why didn’t they exchange information?

Uber rider, to Georgetown hotel – m4m)

You and your friend rode with me. You were cute, looked back a few times when I dropped you off. Send me details so I know it’s you 

What could he have done? I think he should have given her his card as she stepped out of the car.

braindead – m4w 

You work for a Congressman and I spoke with you about the tv show Braindead. I thought you were cute. I’d love to chat more with you. 

Not sure where they met or why they didn’t exchange numbers.

Shyness can strike anyone! Present company included.

Starbucks at Rockville Town Center This morning… – m4w (Rockville, MD)

body: athletic

height: 5’11” (180cm)

status: single

age: 45 

We kept looking at each other and I wanted to say something, but I was late and in a rush…I was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans..I hope you read these or live in the Town Center…:)

He could return on the same day of the week and time…just in case she’s a regular there.

Jewish community center in DC- m4w (DC) 

This is a stretch but we passed each other roughly three times in the hallway and I couldn’t help but look every time. You were in black pants and a white with stripes loose top. Never got a chance to connect but if you see this, shoot me a message. I’d be amazed to be able to connect with ya. 

Okay, by the third encounter, he should have made a joke and said “I hear the 4th time is the charm- why don’t we grab a coffee some day?”

Cougar with short silver hair at Ella’s 1:45 p.m. – m4w (Gallery Place)

age: 32

You are absolutely stunning and wore tall nude heels and maybe a pashmina. Only noticed you as you left Ella’s by Gallery Place. Would love to grab a drink with you. How young is too young?

I get a lot of online variations on this theme. My standard response, “I don’t date anyone the same age or younger than my children.”

Take Home Message: You never know what impact you might be having on someone. If it’s clear that you and Mr. or Ms. X are both silently flirting, take a risk and say hi (respectfully). Say anything that might lead to a conversation and eventual phone number exchange because the chances of you connecting again – even with Craigslist—are slim.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Baggage

baggage blog post

Have you noticed how many dating profiles mention baggage? Let’s explore this topic while enjoying quinoa salad with swiss chard and goat cheese.

When I first read the term baggage in a profile – usually in the context of “please don’t have any,” I thought of it as a mix of experience and memories. I wondered how a person could get through life without either one of these. Then I realized that these guys are referring to emotional baggage, defined by Merriam Webster as “intangible things (as feeling, circumstances, or beliefs) that get in the way.”

Urban Dictionary’s top definition of emotional baggage is “painful memories, mistrust and hurt carried around from past sexual or emotional rejection.” This personality characteristic is also, according to Urban Dictionary, an “excuse commonly used by Peter Pans and other immature men to avoid commitment yet maintain a sexual relationship….as in I don’t think I can handle a real relationship right now. I need some time to get over my emotional baggage.”

I’d like to propose a broader definition of emotional baggage so that it encompasses any life experience that hinders you from moving forward to enjoy life and love.

In my post-divorce dating years, I have encountered widowers who can’t move on enough to be in a relationship, bitter divorced men stuck in an anger cycle, as well as men who have had serious or difficult medical issues and a subsequent loss of self esteem that they can’t overcome.

And there’s no gender rule here — women can experience the same inability to move forward. Just like men, women may get stuck in a post-divorce cycle of anger and low self-esteem. They’re unhappy and unable to move forward from the “baggage” of their failed relationship.

Then there are other people – men and women – who have had serious issues such as the death of a child, yet somehow, are able to carry on with an open albeit grieving heart.

I accept that in my age range, men may not have “baggage” per se but they, like me will likely have some blips on their heart’s EKG. Fortunately the heart can survive a lot and with modern technological advances, recovery is possible.

I like to think my baggage is carry-on – easily stowed under my seat. With occasional turbulence, it might roll out…but I just stuff it back.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

Diary: A Week without Dating Apps

blog pix week without dating apps

Monday morning:

I deleted all of my dating apps and hid my profile on the dating sites I belong to. Feeling both free in a good way and strangely untethered in a bad way. To motivate myself, I made a schedule of activities for the week. The hope is that I will get out of the house more and possibly meet men in real life. Oh foolish heart.

While working on this blog’s social media pages, I experience what can only be described as online dating withdrawal.

I have various random thoughts and questions such as, “If there were no apps, would I ever have any dates?”

Wednesday morning:

I woke up from a strange dream in which I meet an attractive older man in a friend’s group house. The setting seems to be a mishmash of my early college and current days. I’m unsure about the meaning of the dream but I think it must have something to do with worry about a lack of romantic possibilities.

Yesterday I tweeted an article from Bustle about a young woman who has been app-less for a year. She recounted the things she missed about online and app dating. After two days, I could relate to all of them except the one where she longed for the ability to immediately ask out and meet a guy she matched with on a dating app.

Although some of my online encounters rapidly progressed from messaging to an in- person meeting, the man initiated them. Sometimes I gently pushed a guy toward a meeting, but I haven’t opened with, Hey you want to meet for a drink? Perhaps I should. Just to see what happens. My guess is that given her younger age, the writer of this piece has done better than I would if I went offline for a year.  She likely has a bigger “single” social circle and more professional connections compared to a single, retired woman of a certain age. But I’m just speculating.

With no apps or sites to check, no emails to write or respond to, I have more time for other things. I’m reading more and per usual I tend to read fiction about relationships and romance (not romance novels per se – though I enjoy them too). I discovered Laurie Colwin, a delightful writer who sadly died much too young. I devoured Happy All the Time and now I’m thoroughly enjoying Goodbye without Leaving. Of course, reading doesn’t get me out in the world…so perhaps I’ll finish the book at a café or coffee shop.

I realize that a week without online dating is not enough to fully plan activities where I might meet someone organically. I signed up for an archery Meet-up that’s getting together Saturday but it looks like the members are in their 20s and 30s. It won’t lead to any romantic possibilities but that’s okay.

Wednesday evening:

I felt better this afternoon…but evening brings on feelings of loneliness. Where are the phone pings that someone winked at me or sent me a message?

Thursday morning:

Another weird dream night – nothing about men per se and now I can’t even remember the story…but obviously an app-less week is affecting my subconscious.

I receive an email from Hinge that someone likes me and his picture is not bad. I wonder if I should go back on Hinge briefly to check the guy’s profile and possibly respond to him. I ponder whether that would be cheating on my app-less week. Then I notice Hinge sent the email at 2 am. A late or middle of the night “like” is often a signal that the man lives in another time zone, possibly in another country. So I decide to “hold” for the moment and not break this online dating fast.

I receive another like from someone on OurTime. Notifications from this dating site don’t include photos of those who like or message you so I’m not tempted to go online. Holding fast to my fast.

I hope to make it to an art museum tour this afternoon. I’ve heard this can be a good way to meet people. At the least, I will increase my knowledge about art and get out of the house.

Friday morning:

I missed the tour so I ended up wandering around Georgetown and the waterfront. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was good for my soul. I didn’t meet anyone but enjoyed the afternoon.

I confess that late last night, I semi-cheated (briefly) on my dating fast with a quick Tinder check related to a previous match with an attractive man. Although he lives 160 miles away, this guy visits his adult son who lives not too far from me.

The man said he would reach out next time he comes into town. Since it’s a holiday week, I thought I should reinstall Tinder just to see whether he had contacted me through the app. You guessed it (possibly): There was no message because he had unmatched me. After a couple of accidental super-likes, I delete the app again.

Saturday morning:

After seeing that the archery Meet-up is now filled with 7-to-10 year olds on spring break, I decide to cancel and go another time.

I’m looking forward to the end of this fast. I plan to go back online tomorrow rather than Monday as originally planned…still it’s a full 6 days without online dating.

You may be wondering about my rationale for breaking the fast one day short of a week. Sundays are typically the best days for connecting on the dating sites and holiday weekends also have more activity. Holidays bring out the urge to connect. A lot of people feel nostalgia for past celebrations and yearn to once again be part of a family or relationship “unit.”

Perhaps the lesson from my app-less week is that it’s okay to get back on the sites and apps since despite their problems, they give me hope. The key is to supplement the online world with real life activities and to check the apps less frequently.

Two years ago (I cringe as I think of how long I’ve been doing this), I tried to limit my online dating check-in frequency without much long-term success. I’m convinced that this April’s dating app “fast” is a better transition to healthier online dating behavior – similar to the way a food fast retrains your appetite so you are more satisfied with fewer calories.

At the same time, I plan on binging tomorrow.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia