Does Online Dating Conversation Track with Real Life Talk?

blog pix jan 21 2018

Have you noticed the different trajectories of conversation with online matches? With some men, you might have instant flirting and witty banter. With others, the written conversation is methodical, as far from flirty banter as one could get.

I’m wondering if online conversation always tracks to what you experience when (if) you meet in real life.

Sit yourself down for some slow roasted salmon in parchment paper while we explore this topic.

I’m in a fairly methodical exchange right now. Do you remember Mr. K of “piña colada song” fame? Well, a week later, we haven’t progressed that far in our conversation. Summary: A little discussion about the song, favorite vacation spots, Mr. K’s bike ride with coffee and breakfast afterward (yes, indeed), and our respective music playlists.

The problem? I seem to be driving this conversation (think the call and response of the blues but no reciprocal call). I’m asking most of the questions. I decided to address this issue with Mr. K and give him an easy out. I didn’t want to waste my time and energy on something that seemed to be going nowhere.

Here’s our exchange  when I asked him what’s on his music playlist but he didn’t ask me what’s on mine. To my surprise, he wanted to stay in the game.

exchange with Mr K

Unfortunately, we’ve been emailing more than .5 minute. Mr. K gets a little slack because of working crazy hours as a government contractor and he acknowledged that’s the reason for a recent delayed response. However I have limited tolerance for a man my age who works like crazy and cannot balance work and a life.

Work aside; stay tuned for whether Mr. K and I actually meet and what our real life conversation might be like. I’m not too hopeful that we’ll have instant conversational chemistry but it’s not impossible either, since he appears to have a sense of humor.

What about the guys I have met in person? Has an exciting online conversation always been duplicated in person? Absolutely not. I recall one very flirty and fun exchange with a radio broadcaster. Sadly, when we met I felt zero attraction. Without chemistry, flirty banter is impossible.

If a guy goes right to the invite, we don’t have much of a written exchange. In some ways, this seems more “real” as if you met a man at a party and didn’t have the experience of exchanging emails or texts beforehand. In a “real life meeting” scenario, chemistry, personality, and perhaps luck determine a good conversation.

The opposite side of that is the guy who never goes for the invite – despite decent written exchanges. I had a recent online encounter with Mr. S who forgot that we had exchanged messages awhile back before he stopped responding. He reached out anew and we carried on for several days before he dropped out once again. No great loss since I did some sleuthing and found that his pictures were quite old and so was he.

I’m trying to think of a situation where the online or phone conversation was lackluster but the in person chatting was good or great. There was a musician and music teacher who didn’t wow with me witty written banter but in person he had some fascinating stories. It was interesting but not a two-way exchange.

And now, totally unrelated to actual conversation, I’ll leave you with an award winning (for narcissism) Tinder opening. Because women are feeling angry and fed up with men lately, I hope you get a vicarious satisfaction from my response to Mr. Narcissism.

Tinder blog pix jan 21

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

A Catchy Tune and Musings on Keeping Relationships Fresh

pina colada pix

Too many guys have dating profiles that are predictable, uninspired, and sometimes just blank. So it’s always a pleasure when a guy’s profile is a little bit different and even better when it slyly reveals something and/or gets you thinking about relationships.

Join me in a delightful Caribbean black bean dish that I made the other night while we discuss.

Mr. K’s profile on Plenty of Fish referred to the piña colada song.

pina colada pix 2

At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of his opener. It had been awhile since I’d heard that song. A quick trip to YouTube pulled up Rupert Holmes singing Escape, which is the name of “the piña colada song.” Watch the performance or read the lyrics to get the most out of this post.

You’ll find that Escape is about a couple that is a little bit tired of each other. Thanks to the personals column (remember those), they rediscover each other and learn they like some of the same things – including piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

I imagined that Mr. K appreciated the nuances of the lyrics – that you don’t know everything about your partner and if things start to get stale you need to find a way to discover hidden shared passions that might restore the passion in your relationship.

Of course Mr. K may have simply liked the song’s melody and needed an opening line for his profile.

I often think about the unknown aspects of a partner’s thoughts and personality, whether I’m reminiscing about the end of my marriage or the relationships that came after. I recall several “aha” moments when verbal or body language clues showed me what was really going on in a partner’s head.

I’m okay with the realization that you cannot know absolutely everything about someone nor can they know all about you. With a bit of luck, you’ll know the most important things and you will feel secure in a partner’s love.

Related to the issue of knowing your partner (as much as possible) and feeling love and security is finding a way to keep things fresh. As the Escape lyrics say, long-term relationships can start to feel “Like a worn-out recording of a favorite song.”

The challenge to maintaining desire in a committed relationship, according to couples therapist and relationship expert Esther Perel, is reconciling security, predictability, safety, and permanence with the human need for mystery, adventure, novelty and the unknown.

Which brings us back to the personals ad scenario in the piña colada song. In lieu of placing an ad or signing up for a dating site, you might need to have an adventure with your partner or simply observe this person in his or her element.

As Perel says, “Because sometimes, as Proust says, mystery is not about traveling to new places, but it’s about looking with new eyes. And so, when I see my partner on his own or her own, doing something in which they are enveloped, I look at this person and I momentarily get a shift in perception, and I stay open to the mysteries that are living right next to me.”

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Resources:

Desire in Long Term Relationships

Esther Perel

Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

Fresh Eyes, Andy Grammer

Update your Profile: It’s Dating Sunday

blog pix 2 dating sunday

It’s Dating Sunday – the busiest dating day of the year, according to Match.com. And after a barrage of news articles and announcements about this holy day, I decided it’s time to rework my profile.

Let’s warm up with some perfect potato soup while we discuss.

Even if you’re a writer by trade, composing a dating profile can be difficult. It’s hard to know how potential matches will perceive your version of yourself. That’s one of the reasons frequent updates and rewrites are a good idea. A new version just might resonate with The One. And even good profiles and good photos start to look stale after awhile – particularly to the online regulars you keep seeing.

When revising your profile, there are certain principles to keep in mind. I’ve covered these in previous posts.

Every writer needs an editor: People tend to gloss over their own mistakes and it’s hard to be objective when you have birthed a baby profile. You wrote it so it must be lovable.

Distance can help keep you objective. I don’t mean you should read your profile from across the room but give it a few days or at least a few hours to reread and see if anything strikes you as off. It’s likely that a profile written a year ago will make you cringe. When I rewrote my last profile (sadly almost a year ago), I thought it was my best effort yet.

But when I reread it yesterday, I was more critical of what I once thought was charming prose. My red pencil was itching to strike out whole sections. I may have been influenced by a chapter on dating profiles in a compelling, hysterically funny, and painfully true memoir by Stella Grey (pseudonym) called Mid-Life Ex-Wife: A Diary of Divorce, Online Dating, and Second Chances .

Grey’s chapter, Trying to Write the Right Profile, offers readers a look at her original profile with comments written after she reread it months later. When I read this chapter, I realized that my latest and best profile with many activities and interests described might be overwhelming for some men. Not that I want to hide my uniqueness or interests – but sometimes less is more.

This brings me to my latest profile epiphany: Approach dating profile rewrites the same way travel writers tell you to pack for a holiday. Pack your suitcase and then take out at least half of the clothes. So write or rewrite your profile and then cut it down by 50 percent – or 70 percent if you’re prolific.

Another tip: A recent Zoosk analysis found daters who mention being a vegetarian or vegan get more messages than other members. So I added pesco-vegetarianism back to my profile, after previously deleting it an effort to refresh.

As I’m writing this post, I get a message from Match about Dating Sunday.

blog pix dating sunday

It can take several hours or more for a dating site to review your updated profile and make it publicly visible, so don’t waste any time. You want to be “fresh” for the peak dating moment at 8:55 p.m. Eastern. Good luck to us all.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing Resolutions (not the Congressional kind)

blog pix new year

Happy New Year, my single and not single friends. We’re almost through the holidays, a time that can be stressful for those without a partner.

Piled on top of singleness are the tiresome 2017 wrap-up news stories and the guides to making New Year’s resolutions that stick. I’m pretty sick of these.

Let’s talk about a different approach while indulging in baked macaroni and cheese with crunchy panko topping.

I never make New Year’s resolutions. However I do make resolutions on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Reflecting on my life and how to make it better is something I do whenever I’m feeling a surge of dissatisfaction with the status quo and an energy boost to do something about it. That might happen after a break-up.

Breakups, particularly, when you are angry, can be good for motivating you to do things. I always exercise more intently when I need to get my angries out.

I also make resolutions when I’m in a rut and need more and new people or activities in my life. I’ve lived through some lonely times and they inevitably drove me to sign up for classes or activities that would expand my social life.

I’m mulling over some next steps right now – but nothing I’m going to announce tomorrow on New Year’s Day. There are classes to think about, new meet-ups to attend, trips to plan, and solo field trips that might trigger a meet-cute.

In the meantime, I recall someone (Ralph Waldo Emerson? T.S. Eliot?) said it is the journey not the destination that counts.

I believe that philosophy and it supports a practice of ongoing resolutions. So, I raise a glass of champagne (or asti spumante, prosecco, or cava) to you, my readers: let’s be our best selves in 2018 and embrace resolutions whenever we need them. It’s a good way to keep hope.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Random Rants, Observations, and Questions

woman screaming blog pix

This year, I’m not in a mood to write a sarcastic singles holiday letter but I feel a need to vent, observe, and comment on the current dating scene.

Let’s chow down on some one pot kale and quinoa pilaf while indulging in an end of the year wrap up.

*Is it sad that I recognize the screen names of some of the online guys that I frequently pass by on my way to bigger, better matches? When one of the “passed overs” sends me a message, a wink, or favorites me I don’t even need to open up the dating site. I already know who it is. They and I have been online too long.

*I realize that when a dating site sends you a match based on who you have previously interacted with, it’s really their version of computer “cookies:”

Hey, Nadia, we saw you browsing and you put OneHotGuy in your cart but didn’t check out. It’s not too late but perhaps you’d like AbsLikeSteel instead. Click through to his profile. 

*What is the motivation behind a guy’s frequent expressions of interest without following up? So many of them send “canned” dating site generated comments but never write a personal email.

I used to think it was a guy’s way of bookmarking me or testing me to see if I was interested. But these types of interactions never go anywhere and I continue to wonder what motivates these men.

*How can catfishers and identity thieves be so stupid? I can identify them with one eye closed…a professional photo of a very attractive man dressed to the 10s and an uncommonly spelled name, e.g., Micheal.

*How do you gracefully stop communicating with a guy after you ask him to post or send an additional picture and the one he sends confirms your suspicions that you could not stand to kiss him. I find that a lot of guys have one poor quality headshot (or half a headshot) and no full body pictures. Some ignore my request for more photos or make a silly excuse why they can’t send any. Others send a bad selfie or an obviously old photo, which gives me enough info to know there is no attraction.

The last time a guy sent me a selfie I waited a couple of days and said I had met someone and wanted to see where it would go but the real reason is that I had zero attraction to the guy. Is there a better explanation that is also kind?

*I hate Zoosk’s Carousel feature in which you scroll through photos of men. The problem? No profile or basic information is visible. All you get is a photo and the guy’s age. Inevitably most of the matches that result don’t work. A typical match might be a smoker who lives 300 miles away and is separated – hitting three of my deal-breakers. I know guys on Tinder and Bumble don’t always have profiles but some of them do and sometimes you’ll at least see a location, where a guy works, and where he went to school.

OurTime has a feature similar to Carousel but it allows you to see a man’s profile before deciding if you want to meet.

*What if you ended a first date by rating the person and sharing that assessment — like what you do at the end of a Lyft ride?

Here’s what the dating sites and apps could add to the phone interface:

On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your date’s

*Attentiveness and engagement

*Profile accuracy

*Cleanliness/grooming/manners

*Chemistry with you

Would you go out with this person again?

You and your date answer the questions and you immediately see each other’s responses. No awkward wondering, does he/she like me?

*When a guy says he’s a simple man, is he saying he’s unsophisticated, foolish or mentally impaired or does he mean he’s able to find happiness in the smaller things in life. Hard to know. So many of the men I encounter appear to fit the first definition.

*I have noticed that guys who appreciate antiques, old cars, 70s music, etc. tend to not be so picky about dating a woman of a certain age. One could say they like the classics.

Do any of these resonate with you? What are your rants, observations, and questions?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

The Dog Days of December – a Holiday Fantasy

dog days blog pix

I blame the 10 days I spent taking care of my grand-dog. Somehow during that time of bonding I began to imitate animal behavior.

Let’s have some roasted sweet dumpling squash with red onion and pumpkin seeds , a doggie favorite, while I explain.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Leslie and I went to a museum holiday shopping fair. As we walked by the Phillips Gallery display, I spotted an attractive man at the next booth; I immediately sank to the floor and stared at him. Leslie, who had been trying to drag me to the hot chocolate table in the next aisle, saw me go down and stopped.   “Are you okay?” she asked, “Did you slip?”

In that moment I couldn’t answer. I knew I wanted that man and sitting waiting for him to notice me and come over seemed like the natural thing to do. Leslie reached down, and grabbed my arm. “Let me help you up,” she said.

I resisted, my eyes never leaving the object of my desire. I decided to call him Mr. H for hot.

“Did you sprain your ankle,” she asked. Then, in a flurry of Wonder Woman transference, she lifted me to a standing position. “Lean on me if your ankle hurts,” she said.

At this point, Mr. H who had been engrossed in a National Gallery of Art bin of prints noticed me. My gaze did not waver.

Meanwhile Leslie realized I was able to put weight on both feet and started to pull my arm. “Come on Nadia, I really need a shot of hot chocolate right now. It’s my favorite holiday indulgence.”

I pulled in the other direction – toward Mr. H. Leslie, as strong as she was, was no match for my swimming-trained arms.

I walked right up to Mr. H and started nosing around his cute denim- covered butt. Suddenly, a woman came up to Mr. H. “Max, look what I ….” She stopped and saw me sniffing around. “What the….” I swear she growled at me. She pulled at Mr. H/Max. “Let’s get away from this crazy person,” she practically screamed. Mr. H/Max looked at me longingly but followed the woman.

Leslie shook her head at me. “What did you put in your coffee this morning?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I said, “I don’t know what came over me but I couldn’t seem to stop myself from acting that way. Am I going crazy?”

“Hopefully not- maybe it’s your way of reacting to the political and societal madness of 2017. It seems like any behavior goes these days. Let’s go get that hot chocolate.”

We headed toward the wonderful aroma of cocoa only to see a man crouching on the floor looking right at me. I couldn’t help myself. He was even finer than Mr. H. I sprinted to him and we ran in a circle chasing each other. It was clear we liked each other and were not afraid to show it – so unlike humans!

What’s the moral of this fantasy? There’s a lot that dating humans can learn from animals. You might have to tweak some animal behaviors to make them suitable for human interaction (and to avoid arrest):

*Don’t forget the power of eye contact. Looking at someone signals interest and attraction. Put away that phone.

*Approach the object of your fancy and smile (sorry-sniffing only allowed in fantasy mode)

*Be active with your partner. It’s a great way to bond. Chase that tennis ball or go for a walk in the woods.

*If you’re lucky enough to be partnered, give your SO a great dog-worthy greeting. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of greeting a woman gives the man she thought was lost at sea.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Dear Nadia, I Have a Dating Dilemma, #2

blog pix Dec 10 2017

Not much is happening in my dating life so it’s a good distraction when a friend reaches out for dating advice.

My friend Lauren’s dilemma: She’s enjoying conversation and flirting with a friend/colleague who wants to move the relationship to the next level. She knows a relationship with this person would not work and that a fling is also problematic. The situation is complicated in several ways.

Lauren, who is separated and actively planning her divorce, called to discuss the situation and bounce around some possible scenarios. Names and identifying details have been changed.

Have some fast and crunchy baked cod while I share my friend’s situation.

Lauren’s story reminds me of times when I have encountered decision points in my dating life. I knew what to do about a certain guy but I was tempted to go in the wrong direction. I needed a friend to reinforce my better instincts.

A couple of years ago, Lauren hired Joe, a landscape contractor at the hotel she manages. What started as a collegial work relationship has advanced into a friendship. Recently there has been a lot of banter and flirting and Joe frequently suggests that the two should talk over a particular problem at dinner or happy hour sometime.

Joe, who also does landscape work for Lauren’s soon to be ex-husband, knows about the couple’s marital situation. In fact he offered to be a witness in their upcoming divorce hearing.

Joe is 11 years younger than Lauren, less educated than she is, and is a hard drinker with a bad boy past. “He’s not relationship material,” she says. “The problem is that he’s attractive, has a great six-pack — despite too many six packs–, and is a really nice guy.” A few days ago, Joe texted her and invited her to a happy hour.

This was a clear invitation – not like previous ones that were more indefinite. Lauren is tempted by the possibility of a romantic fling but knows she should say no. She’s wondering how to decline his invitation without losing the friendship or offending him in any way. And she’s sad that if she turns down the happy hour, the flirting that she’s enjoying so much will likely disappear.

“How about if I just tell him I’m too busy right now getting ready for a holiday visit from my relatives and that getting together in the new year is more feasible?” Lauren asks.

“This leaves open the possibility that you’ll go out with him,” I suggest. “You’ll have to clarify your intention at some point – either now or the next time he asks you out.”

Lauren sighs. “He’s too young for me – even for something short term.”

“If he was fling material, his age wouldn’t be an issue- and might be an asset,” I say, “but he’s not good fling material. You’ve got a work relationship you don’t want to mess up and you’re counting on him as a witness in divorce court. You need a less complicated scenario for an ideal fling.”

I suggest she respond to Joe’s invitation in a way that acknowledges their friendship but removes the possibility of dating.

I propose a potential response: Sounds like fun but I’m super crazed right now getting ready for my visiting relatives. Happy to get together as friends in the new year. I like to be clear and want you to know that I’m not ready to date. Plus I value our friendship and I would not jeopardize it.

I don’t know what Lauren wrote to Joe but she reported that she successfully turned down the invite and was able to maintain collegiality and friendship.

Have you navigated a challenging dating scenario? How did it go? Let me know!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia