When Standing Someone Up is Fair Play

blog pix Feb 18

As much as I hate the idea of standing someone up on a date, I wish I had “stood up” a recent Plenty of Fish (POF) match instead of cancelling our planned meeting. It would have been a fitting response to his subterfuge.

Curious about yet another example of #ShittyMaleBehavior? Join me in some spaghetti squash shrimp scampi while I recount this tale.

If you’re on POF, you know the drill. You scroll through the Meet Me feature and say yes or no to an individual based on photos and profile. Sometimes you want to meet someone who doesn’t return the desire and vice versa.

Mr. M and I had a mutual match. I almost didn’t say yes to him. His profile said he was in the area for a couple of years — on “loan” from his university while engaged in work in the DC area. I worried about the possible lack of long term potential but decided to go for it. My philosophy is to be open as much as possible. Anything can happen and someone’s plans can change for the right person.

I liked his profile, which mentioned he had been widowed for 3 years and missed having a companion.

I assumed Mr. M was likely relatively new to online dating. He sent a nice, personalized message to me through the site and asked if I was free this weekend to see if we had chemistry. I always like when a man suggests an in person meeting soon after matching.

I told him I was booked until Monday and we had a little back and forth on venue and time. His car was back in his home state and he relied on metro and Lyft or Uber for transportation. I didn’t like the idea of dating someone without a car. It puts a greater transport burden on me and dammit I like to be picked up when I’m comfortable sharing my home address with someone. Anyway, once again I decided to be open to a less than perfect situation and suggested a venue convenient to metro.

When we had a solid plan, I let Mr. M know that I like to exchange cell numbers after agreeing to meet someone. I didn’t share mine at that point since a major goal was to search his number to ensure my security and verify his identity.

Mr. M sent his number and said he was excited to meet me. A straight Google search turned up nothing. However, searching his phone number in the Facebook search box pulled his profile up. All the basic details in his profile were confirmed. But there were recent photos of him with a woman and comments from friends implied they were in a relationship. When I went to the woman’s profile, I saw photos of the lovely Valentine’s Day bouquet Mr. M gave her. There was lots of evidence of their relationship, including her comment that she’s so lucky to have the love of Mr. M.

Insert random swear words – all will work. My disappointment was matched by my compassion for this lovely, accomplished woman who did not know what her partner was up to some 600 miles away.

Here’s what I wrote to Mr. M:

I’m going to have to cancel our meeting. It appears you are in a relationship. Most women who are online will “research” a potential date to ensure safety (as much as possible) and avoid someone who misrepresents their status. Perhaps you are in an open relationship and if that is the case you should state it in your profile.

On reflection, this was too nice of a message. And it was later when I was recounting the story to my son that I realized I should have let Mr. M make the hour trek on 2 subway lines to meet me tomorrow night, although I would not have shown up.

After I saw that Mr. M read my message, I blocked him. All traces of Mr. M are now gone except for the screen shots I took of his profile. They live on in the cloud with all of the other misbehaving men in my photo gallery.

Cue It’s Only a Paper Moon, Bill Charlap — Live at the Village Vanguard. It’s a good soundtrack for a disappointing post Valentine’s Day non-date.

Takeaway messages for my reader daters: Type someone’s cell number into Facebook to check them out. Consider standing up a guy who has behaved badly. He deserves it.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Your Online Self

blog pix online self

I was in the middle of reading Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject (With the help of 50,000 Strangers) when a section on the online persona spoke to me.

Sit a spell while having a bowl of this curried lentil, tomato, and coconut soup and let’s discuss.

If you have carried on a long virtual conversation with someone you haven’t met – whether via a dating site, Facebook, or another social media avenue – you will likely recognize the disconnect that can happen if you meet that person in real life.

As Daniel Jones, the author of Love Illuminated and editor of the New York Times’ Modern Love column, explains it, a lot of people have one voice in writing and another voice in person. The problem with the author persona, writes Jones, “is that this persona is just a part of us, not all of us. And in some ways it may actually be the opposite of who we are in person.”

Similarly, think of the people who post so much on Facebook or Instagram that you think they are ALWAYS partying, out with friends, embarked on some kind of adventure. In reality, they may lead a quieter life.

You can be a more confident, assertive, flirty person online but that may not carry over to your “real life” self. And, says Jones in his book, “…the deeper we get with someone in an online-only relationship, the more we get tricked into believing our online persona is the real us.”

I would add that over time we also develop a greater belief that the other person is the real him or her.   Even a phone persona, although closer to someone’s true self, is not exactly the same as a real life flesh and blood person with body language.

Jones’ description reminds me of the times I carried on long and wonderful virtual exchanges. I was so disappointed to find that the witty, flirty man I’d exchanged dozens of messages with was in fact a figment of both of our imaginations.

Lesson learned. Now I don’t let written communication go on very long. I want to see if there’s chemistry and what the real life person is like. Also, meeting someone fairly soon after connecting online protects me from a tendency to jump too fast. With very little to go on, I can build a whole construct about a person and our possible relationship (if I was younger, I’d fantasize about the children we would have).

I will order up a caveat about the whole persona thing. Sometimes, people can manifest a similar personality both in writing and in real life. They can be charming virtually and when you’re sitting across from them at dinner.

If you find one of these, enjoy your good fortune.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

First Dating Rant of 2018

blog pix angry bird

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks calling out men who behave badly, rejecting men who are not for me, wondering whether I’m too picky or whether I’m not picky enough.  In other words, this has been a typical couple of weeks in the life of a sometimes-dating boomer. Then I read a survey that says women and men in their 60s are having the best sex of their lives. This is not uplifting when you don’t currently have a partner. To top it off, I keep getting Valentine’s Day ads and announcements.

Can you sense a rant coming on? Join me in a healthy five layer dip snack for the Super Bowl or any time while I detail examples of these annoyances.

#1 Men Behaving Badly

Remember Mr. Hot N’ Cold otherwise known as Mr. M? I cringe to admit he briefly resurfaced and I’m to blame for encouraging him albeit in a lukewarm way (love those temperature metaphors).

To bring you up to date, I discovered that the voicemails of people whose numbers you block live on in a blocked section of your voicemails. About a month ago, I listened to Mr. M’s last voicemail. It was nice and harmless enough and I decided that maybe he wasn’t a stalker just a poor texter. That doesn’t excuse other problems including his lack of follow through and long absences. I wasn’t about to reach out to Mr. M but filed away a less negative impression of him.

Then unexpectedly, Mr. M resurfaced on Zoosk, one of the sites we had communicated on. He “viewed” me, which is the real life equivalent of a flirting glance. I agonized about whether I should “view” him back but I was feeling a lack of male company and decided to cast my fate to the dating gods.

He responded by sending me a nice message through the site and asked if we could get together. I said I would think about it and let him know I was hesitant due to his previous communications and behavior. “I can understand that,” he wrote and asked if he could have a do-over. Later that day, I message him that we could have a drink sometime. This is when the leopard’s spots reappeared.

The evidence via messages:

January 4:

Nadia: Okay, we can meet for a drink some time.

January 6:

M: okay will look at my schedule to fit into  yours

Nadia: Okay (smiley face)

Friday, January 19:

Comment: Notice the time span. No response from Mr. M after 13 days. So I messaged him (I know what you’re thinking):

Nadia: Hi, Not sure if I misinterpreted your last message, but I thought you were going to suggest a day to meet. Anyway, thought I would check in to say that.

About 4:30 p.m. on January 19th:

M: I got back in town thursday. was overseas working. What are you doing this evening

January 19 (continued):

I didn’t see his message on the site and then he phoned me. I missed his call. He left a voicemail and I called him back 30 minutes later.

Again, note the timespan. I returned his call on Jan. 19. On Feb. 2, he sent me a message through Zoosk saying he’d been traveling for work, then had to attend an out of town funeral, and after that “things were on the move with work locally.”   “I will try and call you shortly,” he wrote.

“I don’t think that explains why you didn’t return my call of 2 weeks ago…you were in town then,” I replied. “It seems like you are playing a game, perhaps just being a breadcrumber – look up this dating term. It describes the way you have behaved with me.”

Epilogue: As expected, there was no response from Mr. M. This is finally the end of the Mr. Hot N’ Cold story unless it’s not.

#Rejecting Men who are Not for Me

Last month I went out with a very nice man, Mr. ZZ, despite the fact he had the same first and middle names as my ex. That was almost enough to put me off but I decided to go for it. Based on his photos, I was worried I wouldn’t be attracted to him. I thought, “Maybe I’m too picky” and agreed to meet for a happy hour.

We had a “pleasant” time, no conversation lapses but it started to feel a bit strained toward the end of the hour. There was not a whiff of chemistry on my part. He didn’t have the kind of male energy that I like.

I sensed Mr. ZZ liked me but I could tell he was shy and at the end of our date he shook my hand goodbye. He viewed me several times over the next few days but did not reach out for a second date. I think he was waiting for me to “view” him back but I didn’t want to encourage him. I vacillated a couple of times and thought maybe I should give it another go but ultimately let it fade away.

#Wondering whether I’m too Picky

See above encounter with Mr. ZZ.

#Wondering whether I’m not Picky Enough

I could cite any of a number of conversations with men whom I clearly have little in common with other than we are both breathing.

#People in their 60s are having the best sex

Send one of the men surveyed directly to me.

#Valentine’s Day Hype

I suggest an alternate “Galentines” Day for women to celebrate with friends.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Crazy and Not so Crazy Dating Trends in 2018

blogpix emoji

Catfishing, ghosting, breadcrumbing, benching, zombieing, cushioning, cuffing, uncuffing. AARGH! Are you tired of buzzwords for dating trends? It’s the same old shitty dating behavior with new terms that factor in the use of online dating sites and apps.

It’s time for some fresh words that capture the more idiosyncratic behavior one can find in today’s crazy dating world.

Join me in some roasted mushroom and vermouth risotto while I share the latest dating trends for 2018:

Emojiing: Excessive use of emojis in messages.

I’ve been guilty of this one. I deliberately stopped myself from using emojis in every message and now limit my use of these drawings to a maximum of 1 per text.

Bitmojiing: A variant in which the dater only uses bitmojis to communicate.

Mymamaing: A relationship in which the dater parents the other person excessively.

Example: Are you sure you want to order that dish? It’s so high in fat!

Truthing: Extreme truth behavior. No white lies in your dating profile or any conversation. Photos have bad lighting to highlight real flaws. In response to questions, you only respond with true answers even if it hurts you or your partner.

Example: You are attractive but look older than your dating photos.

Trumping: His dating profile is curiously silent about politics. However, on a first phone call, he discusses Trump at length. On a first date (you agree to this against your better judgment), he extols the virtues of his favorite president. You’ve been Trumped. There is no second date.

Meetupping: Joining meet-ups for the sole purpose of making romantic connections. Wait, that’s already happening and it could work.

Nomeetupping: In this trend, individuals have no intention of ever meeting their matches in real life. Pretending to want to date is a game for them.

Golfing: A man who obsesses about golf in his dating profile and during conversations. Deal breaker noted in his profile: A woman who doesn’t play golf. First date is golfing or getting a drink at a golf range while watching golf on a large screen TV. His wardrobe on first date: golf shirt, of course.

Neversleeping: An individual is ALWAYS online. You might pop in at any time of day or night to check your messages and you will find that this person is online.

Notreallysingle: He may be divorced from his wife but because of commitments to his young children, he cancels dates, is late to dates or, if you’re in a relationship with him, he has little time for you. He’s a good dad but misrepresented his availability. Tip: Consider age of a guy’s children when deciding if he would be a good fit for you.

iPhoneying: Your partner cannot detach from his or her phone. On all of your dates, the phone is that annoying third wheel—even when you’re in the bedroom.

#ConfusedAboutMeToo: Difficulty in distinguishing between sexual misconduct and harassment in the workplace and welcome and consensual sexual behavior in non-workplace dating situations. Both parties in a potential relationship agree to sign a notarized contract allowing the first kiss with subsequent contracts for additional moves.

Have you observed any other dating trends? Let me know!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

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