What if Rude Online Dating Behavior Transferred to the Real World?

Blog picture fisherman

Sometimes I feel like Lawrence Ferlinghetti when he wrote I am Waiting. Although instead of “waiting for a rebirth of wonder,” I am waiting for the tsunami of rudeness and irrational behavior so common in the online dating world to spread to the real world.

What if the social mores of Plenty of Fish, Tinder, and Match became so ingrained that men and women started to behave like their dating profiled selves?

Suspend all notions of the universe for a few moments and enter an alternate reality that hopefully will never come to pass. Your fuel for this journey? A beet bean cheeseburger.

Scene #1:

I’m walking down Connecticut Avenue, a major thoroughfare in Washington, D.C., when I stop to peer into the front window of a trendy bar. It’s 5 p.m. and happy hour is in full swing. At the bar, men stand 3 deep – a mug of beer in one hand, a large freshly caught fish in the other. How can this be? No nearby waterways, but perhaps they went fishing in the Potomac? They look eerily like the hundreds of profile photos of men with fish. At least these guys have their shirts on.

Scene #2:

I spoke too soon. I’m outside of Union Station and a horde of shirtless men exit from the 8:30 a.m. red line car. They’re walking proudly, cell phones on in selfie position – beer bellies all shined up for the office. Oh, dear, I’m going to be ill.

Scene #3:

It’s small business Saturday and I’m in Politics and Prose hoping the Obamas will show up like they did last year. This bookstore is a great venue to try to meet men in the wild. I’m here — why not go for it?

I head to the fiction section and stand next to an attractive man. He picks up a book I just finished reading. “That’s a great book,” I say, “one of my all time favorites.” He looks at me briefly and goes back to browsing. No comment, no smile, no nod. Nothing. I was proactive. I was ignored.

Scene #4:

I’m at the newly reopened Renwick Gallery entranced by Leo Villareal’s installation of LED lights suspended from the high ceiling. An attractive man who is also awestruck by this piece strikes up a conversation with me.

We chat for a few minutes and then he asks if I’d like to continue our talk over coffee. “Not just yet,” I say. I reach into my purse and pull out my OkCupid dating questionnaire. “Do you believe this country would be safer if everyone owned a gun?” I ask. He looks at me dumbfounded. “Yes, I guess I do,” he says. “Are you almost always on time?” I query. “Usually,” he says with a strange look in his eyes. “What about bathing and teeth brushing? How often?” I ask. He answers, albeit uncomfortably, and I proceed to ask several more questions.

After a few minutes, I say, “Sorry, I won’t be able to continue our talk. You don’t meet my criteria for an ideal man. Good luck with your search.” I walk away. He’s been rejected.

Scene #5:

“What a great party,” I say to the hostess, my good friend Lily. “You invited such an interesting mix of people.” Lily smiles and suggests I go talk to Jack, her old college roommate. I head over to the food table where Jack is filling his plate.

“Hi Jack. I’m Nadia, Lily’s friend from college. We met a couple of years ago. How are you?” I ask. Jack winks. He continues to fill his plate. I try again. “So Jack, I heard you work at NPR now. How do you like it?” Jack looks at me again, smiles, and winks…but doesn’t say a thing. He steps back from the table, pivots, and walks toward the bar. He stops midway, turns around, winks at me again, and continues on to the bar.

I’ve become a recipient or “victim” of the fruitless wink, a wink that doesn’t lead to conversation or even an email. It’s just there. And you never know what it meant.

Scene #6:

I’m at a concert this evening. I’ve got my friend posse with me because I expect my ex to be there. We both enjoy the same music so I have to be prepared. Yep- sure enough, there he is. And he’s heading over my way. Come on ladies, crowd around. Yay – he’s been blocked.

Scene #7:

After six fantastic dates, I think Max might be “the one.” He calls or texts me every day and we have plans to see a play the next weekend. I decide to shop for a new dress to wear to the theater. As I exit my favorite boutique, I see Max exit the Apple store. I walk quickly over to him. I’m seconds away from giving him a big hug when he turns away and scurries into Macy’s. My mouth drops open. I’ve been ghosted.

Let’s hope these scenarios remain a figment of my imagination. To help ensure that rude and irrational behavior does not transfer from the virtual to the real world, support good dating manners:

  • Don’t wink or favorite someone unless you want to correspond with and possibly meet him or her. “Bookmarking” a match for possible future correspondence is not fair to that person. Get a notebook.
  • If someone writes you a nice, thoughtful e-mail, don’t ignore it. Reply.
  • If you decide you don’t want to date someone, let him or her know. Don’t disappear without a word.
  • Be picky about who you date, but don’t go crazy with questions and checklists. A checklist cannot determine chemistry.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

You Had Me at Hello…or Not

blog clint-eastwood

In the real world, a man’s “pick up line” is often a finely honed work of art. It’s tougher to achieve communication excellence in the online world. There are no virtual pheromones, no scent of cologne or twinkling eyes to help a guy overcome a mediocre pick up line and connect with a woman.

Without the visual, sensual, and physical benefits of an in person encounter, that first introductory email or message takes on extra importance. Dating coaches advise men — and women — to ask about or comment on something in a match’s profile. Instead, I often see clueless men stumbling around when it comes to establishing an online or mobile-based dialogue. Then there are the swoon-worthy guys who can translate their “in the wild” skills to the electronic world.

Let’s have an early Thanksgiving vegetarian lunch of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cauliflower cake while we examine the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly. Note: these are real life introductions from my dating files. Names and identifying details have been changed to protect both the masters and the disasters.

The GOOD:

From a romantic:

You have not filled in your profile, maybe I can help: beautiful cosmopolitan lady seeks dashing handsome and witty man for a life of adventure and joy.

From a charming man who is as tall as me:

You know, if it weren’t that we’d be i 2 i instead of your having to look up a couple of inches (sorry my cowboy heels are still in Montana), I think I’d actually meet many of your criteria!

If you like to wear heels, I don’t really mind looking up at an impressive woman 🙂

From a man with a lot of letters after his name:

You are educated. My sense is that you have substance — rare here!

From a helpful guy:

It appears you love to travel. Need someone to carry your bags? I am fun, smart, driven and people oriented. Smiles.

From a fast mover (this one made me laugh):

Let’s elope

The BAD and/or UGLY:

From a man who struggles with the English language:

I’m just here trying to figure out my other half body to enjoy the rest of my time in life with… i think i like what i read in your profile, most especially your beautiful smile, i’m willing to give it a chance if you give it a go.

From a man who loves to shop:

Hi joe here are you a retail sales person?

From a scary man:

Hi, have you ever had an interest in hypnosis?

From a man who’s up front about what he’s looking for:

Hi there I’m Sam I’m 61 young and am interested in a friend with benefits, l enjoy some your your before mentioned activities. If interested wink me back !

From a man with zero photos posted:

Hi

Your profile looks great but I’d like to see more photos before we start chatting.

Kind Regards,

Will

From a man who believes you can never stop growing:

You look like a brite and eclectic individual. I was wanting to
know, how tall were you before you decided to move to the city?

From a very, very, very shy man:

Would saying hello be ok.

From a man a decade younger than my son:

Heyyy

From a dirty, middle-aged man:

Into mild kink?

From a desperate bad boy:

hey dear I like sexy tall red heads are u up for fun games if your for real I want to meet you soon to get the ball moving

From a man who doesn’t read profiles:

hi, How are you doing,… Please tell me about yourself

I hope these gave you a chuckle. We need all the humor we can find in this crazy dating world.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating and Happy Thanksgiving!

If you have a case of Thanksgiving blahs, see this recent post on the holiday blues. And don’t forget to click the subscribe button to get regular email delivery of Dating, Sex, and Life in your 60s.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dating Sites and Apps: A Rodeo Roundup

blog pix online-dating

It’s early Sunday morning (really early – before sunrise) and I’m sipping coffee, reading my latest OkCupid email. What a lovely note from a cultured man but he lives 2,384 miles away in Vegas, is 4 inches shorter than me….and he’s 86 years old.

You have to give him credit for desiring intimacy and going for it. And perhaps I’ll take him up on his offer of a road trip to see the Southwest…but it would be a friends-only no benefits excursion.

Before I pack my bags for Vegas, it’s time for a rodeo roundup of recently tried dating sites and apps. There’s a chill in the air so let’s have some cioppino to warm our bellies.

I tried to come up with a theory about why I like or dislike various sites and apps. Thoughts swirled around and I had a vague notion of why some of them worked better than others. My theories jelled after reading Maureen O’Connor’s recent article on dating apps in New York Magazine’s The Cut column. As she wrote, “We choose our dating apps the same way we choose bars, parties, coffee shops, concerts, and everywhere else we go with the vague hope of finding a mate – based on the people.” According to O’Connor, “the make-or-break factor in whether you stick around to flirt, or clam up and leave, is the crowd.”

My successes and failures with various sites and apps are certainly crowd-based. I hated eHarmony because the eHarmony folks picked the wrong crowd for me: they were boring and unattractive, and they all lived hundreds or thousands of miles away. To top it off, the site gave no option to scroll through and select guys I wanted to communicate with. I could only view men preselected for me.

Ms. O’Connor’s article presents a quick summary of the populations she encountered on 15 dating apps. Different users will, of course, see different crowds based on their profiles and search preferences. I tried some of the same sites/apps but my “crowd” is composed of older guys in a different location. Interestingly, in some cases, I must be getting older DC-area versions of the younger guys Ms. O’Connor found in NY.

Here’s my rodeo round up of sites and apps I tried, including a “senior” dating site geared to baby boomers and a couple of niche dating sites.

My assessment of online dating venues is based on whether there are a good number of dateable guys who are attractive, educated, and interesting; whether the men reach out and contact matches rather than just viewing them; and whether the site has a lot of scammers and fake users.

Dating Sites and Apps Round-up:

Match: I continue to find “dateable guys” seeking relationships on Match and they have the largest subscriber base of all of the sites so this one’s a keeper even though I receive a greater volume of inquiries on some of the other sites.

OkCupid: This used to be my favorite site and I have had a couple of 90-day relationships from matches on this site. However, lately, the site seems to be overrun with scammers, fake users, and strange guys. I’m not giving up on Ok but it’s gone down a notch on my list.

Plenty of Fish: I like this site and have had a number of dates from fish in this sea. No winners yet but at least the guys are dateable and reach out.

eHarmony: see above. Grade: F 

JDate: My matches did not appeal and the guys did not seem to reach out as much as men on other sites.

OurTime: At first I loved OurTime, a site for those 50 and over. The users are active. They reach out frequently. However, too many of the guys are not appealing or educated and none of my conversations resulted in actual dates. I deleted it after a few months.

Ebony and Ivory: My foray into this niche dating site was a bust and I have stopped using this site. I was seeking ethnic variety but I was presented with mostly older, white dudes out of my geographic area. The “personal” emails I received were generic bits of profiles. The one time I wrote to Customer Service, I received a canned response to my complaint about geographic incompatibility.

How About We: Hardly anyone is on this site and no one appealed. The concept is clever: you suggest a date idea and an interested party can respond to that idea or suggest an alternate one. There’s also a nice feature that says you’re available to go out that night.   I never received a “match” for the “go out that night” feature. The only date I had was with a widower who acknowledged he was not ready to date. I’m no longer a member.

Bumble: As a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, I was immediately intrigued by a “feminist” dating app. Created by one of the co-founders of Tinder, Bumble’s “shtick” is that only women are allowed to initiate contact with a guy. I like the idea of women being in control. I am proactive on traditional sites/apps, but prefer to have men make the first move on these platforms. On Bumble, I feel freer to be the pursuer.

I was worried at first that there wouldn’t be enough men my age on Bumble. And that appears to be the case. I haven’t received many matches and the only date I scheduled was with a younger man who cancelled at almost the last minute due to a work crisis. I’ll keep using this site but due to the small number of matches I’m getting, I feel like the likelihood of my finding someone is the equivalent of a needle hole in a haystack…or perhaps a tiny bee in a big hive. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Tinder: I have to give credit to Karen Yankosky of the Women of Uncertain Age podcast for inspiring me to try Tinder. Apparently Tinder is not just a hook-up App. Women and men can – and do — indicate they are seeking a relationship, not a one-night stand. So I bit the bullet a few days ago and quickly and easily created a profile.

Both Tinder and Bumble pull your public info from Facebook. Only your first name shows up on the App. If you feel nervous about exposing your Facebook info, you can follow my example. I pruned the public info on my profile. There is nothing in my Facebook profile that a stranger could use to identify or find me.

In addition to pulling information and photos from your Facebook profile, Tinder displays your location information and age. If you like someone, you can swipe right or select a heart. If you don’t like the guy, you swipe left or select the big X. If two people swipe right, they are both alerted by the app that they like each other and can start messaging. There seems to be an endless supply of men on the app (many of whom I recognize from other dating sites). I have my first Tinder coffee date set up for next week.

I love Tinder. It’s addictive. I especially like the fact that you only communicate with someone when you both like each other. Of course, this is my latest App download…and so I’m still in the crush phase.

To wrap up my rodeo, I leave you with two summary points. I think it IS a good idea to be on as many sites as you can handle. Some dating advisors suggest limiting your sites and apps to 2 or 3. I disagree. For one thing, if you have started dating someone from one of the sites, but you are not exclusive yet, you might want to browse on another site without your possible keeper guy knowing about it. Plus, with more sites, you’ll have more options. Maximize your possibilities!

If a site is not working out, stop using it but consider another trial period in 6 months. There may be some new users or app upgrades that change the experience.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

In Search of Single Friends

women friends for blog post

In a recent Washington Post solo-ish article, Lisa Bonos describes her decision to decline new friendship offers. Bonos prefers to spend her limited free time and emotional energy on the great friends she already has. Investing in new friendships, she writes, would prevent her from nurturing existing ones.

I get that. And yet I’ve been on the other side of that situation.

There have been a few times since my divorce when I tried to establish new friendships with other single women but my efforts were fruitless. In these cases, the women already had a busy friend life and were friend-booked.

As we explore the friend dilemma of the newly single woman, let’s have some of Jamie Oliver’s vegan shepherd pie.

As a former student and once young mother, I remember the pleasure of sharing hopes, fears, frustrations, and tactics with others going through similar struggles.

Now I’m a member of an equally distinctive life state – divorced after a long marriage. And although I still love my married friends, I seek single comrades in arms to help me navigate and laugh at the murky waters of new singledom with all of its joys, frustrations, and issues.

New singledom issues often include dating. I’d like a cadre of wing women who can join me in proactive flirting opportunities.

How have I increased my single friendships? I started looking for new opportunities to meet potential friends – including Meetup groups, colleagues, neighbors, etc.

Then when I read the Post article about being at friend capacity, I posted on my social media accounts that a new friend app is needed for those who are seeking new connections.”

It turns out that there aren’t any apps yet (heads up, app developers), but there are three “make a friend” websites!

I learned about these sites from my third relationship book of the month, Middle Aged and Kickin’ It!: A Woman’s Definitive Guide to Dating over 40, 50 and Beyond.

In addition to providing many of the tips I gave in my first blog post, the book also lists the following “new friend” sites:

I immediately signed up for sociajane and girlfriendsocial. I had technical problems registering for girlfriendcircles and I’m waiting to hear back from the web master.

All three friend sites are free though socialjane offers a paid subscription version. Similar to dating sites, the friend sites ask you to provide a screen name, a profile with your interests, and a photo.

I can’t wait to complete my profile on the two sites and see what happens. Friend acquiring, just like dating, is best accomplished with a combination of online and “in the wild” tactics.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

Niche Dating Sites: Nutty or Nice?

silhouette woman on laptop for blog

It’s time to shake things up a bit. I’m too impatient to just wait for the “one” so I like to try new dating avenues – whether online or in the wild – whenever I can.

Most singles have heard of niche dating sites. There’s a site or a mobile app for every interest and predilection. From cannabis lovers to those who are gluten free to self described ugly schmucks, there are lots to choose from.

My mission, should I decide to complete it, is to try 5 niche dating sites and to report back to you the results of my test drive. Your mission is to comment on my posts, join a couple of sites yourself, and let me know how it goes.

Having recently briefly dated a black man, I decided to start with ebonyandivorydating.com. Let’s discuss while we have some inclusive black bean salad and skillet white cornbread.

I have some white friends who fantasize about dating black men – fully believing that there is truth in the sexual prowess stereotypes rampant in popular culture. Dating black men has not been on my fantasy list – any more than dating men of any other ethnicity. But I’m open to it and find that I can be attracted to men from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds.

As a young white girl growing up in the 50’s in DC, I recall my first crush on David, an 8-year old black boy. We were great friends and I loved to spend time with him. We often walked home from school together and played at each other’s houses.

One afternoon after school, Agnes, my black babysitter, picked me up at David’s house. As we walked back to my house, she stopped and shook her finger at me. “You can’t play with him anymore,” she said. “You have to be careful about black boys. They’re not nice,” she warned. “David IS nice,” I replied in shock.

I felt I had done something wrong and I don’t recall why I never mentioned the conversation to my parents. But Agnes must have controlled my play dates because after that warning David and I only saw each other occasionally.

It was much later in life that I realized Agnes’ reason for curtailing the childhood friendship of a white girl and a black boy. From her perspective, black boys in relationships with white girls were at risk of serious trouble. As a history refresher, interracial marriage wasn’t legal in the U.S. (aside from specific states) until 1967.

Fast-forward to 2015 and my profile submission to ebonyivorydating.com. As a new member, I won a free 30-day “gold” membership, giving me all of the major necessary functions such as email, flirting, etc. I found it easy to sign up, load my profile and main photo, and fill out the “about me” and “about my match” questionnaire.

Beef #1: The geographic preference section does not function well. The site advises you to hold the shift key down to select multiple locations but that doesn’t work. I was unable to select DC, MD, and Virginia. Finally I chose distance from my zip code as my geographic parameter.

Beef #2: The site sends me matches from all over the US. Not my choice.

The site’s “flirt” game is solely based on a guy’s photos. You are shown a member’s photo and asked, “Do You Want to Flirt With This Member?”

Beef #3: You have to leave the flirt page and search for the man’s user name in order to read his profile. If you like him, then you can go back to the flirt page and say you’d like to flirt. Cumbersome!

I’m not sure yet what kind of “flirt” I will receive if a guy wants to flirt with me.

It’s been less than 24 hours since I signed up so it’s too early to judge the success of this site. However, by comparison, I received many more inquiries when I first signed up on Plenty of Fish, Match, and OK Cupid.

Perhaps this is related to number of subscribers. I’m not sure how many guys are actually on ebonyandivorydating.com. The site claims to have millions of users. Time will tell.

So far it appears that the racial balance on ebonyivorydating is similar to other non-niche sites. When I created my profile, I selected matches in all races.

My plan is to keep the all races preference for now and then to retool it to see what happens. It’s an adventure!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Resources:

Articles about niche dating sites:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/niche-dating-sites/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/date-british-guys-farmers-only-growing-appeal-of-niche-dating-sites/

http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/13/technology/online-dating-that-actually-exists/

http://www.businessinsider.com/15-niche-dating-websites-2012-3

The Slow Dawning of the Realization that He’s Just Not That Into You

He's just not that into you better image

I came rather late to reading the 2009 book He’s Just Not That Into You but then I came rather late to the dating life.

For the last month, I have been on a relationship advice book kick that began with Power Texting Men: The Best Texting Attraction Book to Get the Guy and Love is in the Mouse: Online Dating for Women: Crush your Rivals and Start Dating Extraordinary Men. I’ll offer my take on these resources another time.

About the same time my book kick began, I started going out with someone who would prove to be a conundrum. Mr. B’s behavior became particularly puzzling a couple of weeks ago. When I described the situation to a friend, she said, “Perhaps it’s a case of ‘He’s Just Not That Into You.’”

This was food for thought. Speaking of which, let’s focus on fall food: wild rice crusted halibut.

I saw the movie version of He’s Just Not That Into You awhile ago and though I can’t remember the details, I remember the premise – men treating women badly. I had never read the book, which was written by two Sex and the City writers. Since it was time to select another advice tome, I downloaded the kindle edition of He’s Just Not That Into You and started reading.

For the Cliff Notes version of the book, just read the table of contents. For example:

  • He’s Just Not That Into if He’s Not Asking You Out
  • He’s Just Not That Into if He’s Not Calling You
  • He’s Just Not That Into if He’s Disappeared on You

You get the idea. Author Greg Behrendt has a no-nonsense approach that advises women to immediately dump anyone who shows any of the “He’s Just Not That Into You” signs. His co-author Liz Tuccilo sometimes tempers or softens Greg’s hardline approach with the reality of a woman’s experience.

Women are often willing to put up with less than perfect in order to have some kind of…read “any” relationship in this world of more women than men. But more often than not, Liz agrees with Greg that it’s better to be alone than with someone who treats you poorly.

The book is really about self worth, empowerment, and getting what you as a totally awesome woman deserve.

So let’s go back to my conundrum. Here are the signs from Mr. B that gave me pause:

  • After initial frequent contact (mostly texting), there are now longer gaps in communication
  • Most common mode of communication: texting about inane daily activities or “his stress” from work etc.
  • Only a few phone calls
  • After 2nd date two weeks ago, still no plans for a 3rd date
  • Out of town every other weekend to care for elderly mother but no effort to see me during the week

The reason it was a conundrum and not a clear-cut get out of it ASAP situation:

  • We had two good dates and discovered some common interests
  • He is staying in touch however irregularly and always asks how I am
  • He listens
  • Obvious chemistry and attraction between the two of us
  • I wanted to see him again; there seemed to be potential worth exploring

There are other factors but I’m approaching this issue from a strictly behavioral analysis.

The more I read the book, the more I recognized Mr. B’s actions in the behaving badly category. And like many of the examples in the book, just when I thought he was really demonstrating non-interest, he would phone me. I started to think he was treating me like a yo yo – letting the line out and staying out of touch. Then, right before it hit the ground, he’d jerk (me) back with a phone call.

After pondering all of the examples of badly behaving men in the book and rolling my eyes at the women who kept trying to forgive their guys, I concluded that I was, in fact, in denial and living a case of He’s Just Not That Into You. I also concluded that women outnumber men in the decent and nice category.

What was the last straw with Mr. B? After not hearing from him all week, he phoned me Thursday evening. I was annoyed and didn’t answer. Later that night I sent him a text saying I’d be available Friday.

On Friday, he sent an afternoon text detailing his stressful week as an excuse for not being in touch. He ended the text by saying he plans to drive a friend to the airport in NY and will then spend the weekend in the city. There was no mention of getting together again — only that he’d be back Sunday.

I don’t know if his friend (man or woman) lives in NYC or in the DC area…but regardless, does this make any sense at all? Top that off with a lot of mundane detail. What I wanted him to write was “Really miss you and want to see you as soon as possible.”

I haven’t responded. I wrote a sayonara “breaking up” with you text but I may not send it. Sometimes ghosting seems like the right response.

To any reader who is in a murky mixed-message dating situation, read or re-read He’s Just Not That Into You. It will be a splash of cold water on your hot little love-starved head…. and sometimes you need that.

I don’t know about you but I feel so much better getting this off of my chest.

If you liked this post or any past one, please subscribe to this blog. I love subscribers!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Seven Reasons Why You Should Blog or Keep a Journal

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Author and writing coach Natalie Goldberg said it well, “Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.”

With its similarities to journaling, I think Natalie would find value in blogging. I’d like to share with you what blogging has taught me in the hope that you might also blog with a benefit and purpose as you pursue a dating – or not dating – life.

This is something I’ve wanted to focus on for a couple of months but describing the pursuit of “One of the Ones” kept sidetracking me. Of course, since the dating life is a key focus of this blog, I’ll be incorporating dating stories into today’s post. I might even discuss sex (a tease so you will read to the end).

Let’s sit back and enjoy my own 4th of July light lunch creation: ricotta cheese and plain Greek yogurt mixed with fresh cherries and blueberries and chopped walnuts or almonds. If the ricotta and yogurt are low fat, you will have a heart-healthy patriotic lunch. Let me know if you want details on the quantities.

Blogging has shown me that the very act of putting fingers to keyboard or pen to paper – the writing processcan help me figure something out. At a deeper level, it helps determine and clarify my views on a particular person or situation.

Let me illustrate with an example from my recent dating history. After meeting Mr. D who was separated from his 3rd wife, I was on the fence about whether I should consider dating him since there was a possibility his marriage was not over. As I wrote about our meeting, I realized that I could not throw away the possibility of a relationship with someone who almost immediately inspired chemistry, connection, and intimacy. My gut said no, my heart said yes…but the writing process told me to let my heart win this one – even if I got hurt at some point. So write (pun intended) or wrong, that’s the direction I went in until Mr. D fired himself to preserve both of our hearts.

Blogging also motivates me to not give up the dating life. I may be frustrated or exhausted by the process but I know I have to carry on — not only for my ultimate benefit but also for yours. I started this blog to hopefully inspire and motivate others to jump into the dating pool after a hiatus.

Writing this blog reminds me of lessons learned so that I can truly incorporate those lessons into my life on an ongoing basis. When I described the steps I took to get ready to date, I reclaimed my commitment to continue working on myself. Self- improvement and strengthening one’s independence are essential parts of the post-divorce healing process.

Related to this, blogging provides a sense of accountability. I take action steps to move life forward since I have committed to them in the blog and have said to you, dear readers, that these steps are important and WE should do them. So I force myself to go to meet-ups when I might not be feeling terribly social. Or I go on a second date with a guy I’m on the fence about not only to see if he’s One of the Ones but also to have the experience, learn from it, and share it with you.

Part of the blogger’s modus operandi is to seek inspiration, knowledge, and familiarity with the landscape of the topic at hand.   So I read other blogs and listen to podcasts on a similar theme of dating and relationships. The side effect is I benefit from the wisdom, perspective, and often the sense of humor provided by others on a similar journey. Case in point: The podcast, Women of Uncertain Age. I enjoyed being a guest on this week’s show to talk about dating in your 60s. Additional side effect/benefit of blogging: Meeting other bloggers and podcasters.

Blogging also encourages the creation of a personal philosophy. Writing this post, for example, has given me a philosophy and credo on blogging.

Finally, blogging provides a creative outlet – so important for everyone and at every stage of life. So even if you don’t create a blog, buy a journal or an inexpensive composition book and “write like a motherfucker” as Cheryl Strayed said in her classic book, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.

O.K. so I didn’t talk about sex this time. But it’s coming, no pun intended. And I will have a surprise interview with a noted expert some time this month.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Ten Favorite things to make you Laugh, Cry, Pause, Hope, and Learn

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In a frenzy of positivity, I discovered 10 things that I am enjoying – actually loving – and learning from. These include a TV show, several podcasts, a short animated film, and well-written prose with a purpose from both a sex educator and a relationship/sex therapist.

  1. Grace and Frankie

I binge-watched the first season of this new Netflix series starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as Grace and Frankie, two women whose long-time husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) leave them for each other. Jane and Lily shine as the two polar-opposite women who go from barely tolerating each other to kinship and friendship.

I loved Jane’s initial foray into online dating (so relatable) and the honesty of Lily’s character, Frankie, as she purveys her homemade organic lube and gives Grace ongoing reality checks.

Everyone needs a friend like Frankie for an order of honest, hold-the-brutality advice. To my delight, the show was just picked up for a 2nd season. See: Grace and Frankie.

  1. Women of Uncertain Age

This weekly podcast is brought to you by Karen and Philippa, two single, divorced forty-something friends who chat about dating, friendship, relationships, marriage and divorce. The show’s signature line, “We’re talkin’ and you’re eavesdropping” captures the relaxed intimacy and humor the two hosts bring to the computer waves.

Karen and Philippa (I feel like I know them already) share their stories in a mellow conversational style and sometimes have guests who provide their perspectives and insights. I like to eavesdrop as an alternative to bedtime reading. See: Women of Uncertain Age.

  1. 2BoomerBabes

Kathy Bernard and Barbara Kline, hosts of the syndicated 2BoomerBabes show, tackle a broad range of topics of interest to the nearly 80 million baby boomers. The “babes’” guests are experts on everything from relationships to healthcare.

Recent shows covered caregiving, tinkering, transforming your sex life, modern divorce, and train travel. Listen in and you’ll likely learn something. See: 2BoomerBabes.

  1. Sex Love Chat podcast.

They would be great band names but Dirty in Public and Single Dating Diva are the “brands” and blogs of Marrie and Suzie who also collaborate on a weekly podcast called the Sex Love Chat. According to the show’s description, “Our podcast is a sexy little place in cyberspace where we romance listeners with topics sufficiently naughty, a little nice, and always pleasing to the ear.”

As an online date investigator, I enjoyed the recent podcast on searching men’s profiles on social media sites, a practice known as “creeping.” Guilty as charged.   See: Sex Love Chat podcast

  1. Huffington Post Love and Sex radio show

I first learned of the Huffington Post Love and Sex radio show when I saw a tweet about their podcast on What is Sex Like After 70? The show – and this episode – has an anthropological perspective so I found it interesting as well as hopeful.

With a disclaimer, “This episode contains explicit material, please proceed with caution,” who wouldn’t be curious? Each show answers a single question (unless it’s a grab-bag of reader’s questions). Past episodes have covered the future of sex, the power of the clitoris, and the reality behind Fifty Shades of Grey.

See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/love-and-sex-podcast/

  1. Ian Kerner’s books

Described as a “hip sex therapist,” Ian Kerner, Ph.D. has taken on the charge of demystifying sex and educating both sexes. His books, She Comes First and Passionista, The Empowered Woman’s Guide to Pleasuring a Man (previously published as He Comes Next), combine scientific research, clinical experience, and interviews with non-patients. As he describes it, Kerner offers his readers a vision — a way of thinking about sex and being.

With wit and humor and an engaging writing style, Kerner’s books present a how to but also a why to understanding and obtaining sexual fulfillment.

Every man you’re in a relationship with should read She Comes First – after you read it of course.

See: About Ian Kerner

  1. Emily Nagoski’s book

I first heard of Emily Nagoski, Ph.D., when she was interviewed on the 2BoomerBabes show (see above) about her new book, Come as you are: the Surprising New Science that will Transform Your Sex Life.

Nagoski, who is director of Wellness Education at Smith College where she teaches Women’s Sexuality, is an esteemed sex educator. Her book, which I’m still reading, is fascinating and she describes the premise in the Introduction: “No matter where you are in your sexual journey right now, whether you have an awesome sex life and want to expand the awesomeness, or you’re struggling with and want to find solutions, you will learn something that will improve your sex life and transform the way you understand what it means to be a sexual being.”

The great thing about Nagoski and Kerner (see above) is the scientific core of their work, the accessibility of their writing, and similar philosophies that serve to enlighten, educate, and instill confidence in the average person.

See: Emily Nagoski’s website.

  1. New York Times Modern Love column

Essays written by readers cover the joy and pain that go hand in hand with love. Men and women, young and not so young, share their experiences and insights. It’s quite brave to write about such things under your own name. The writing is often beautiful and I find many of the pieces hopeful and inspiring.

One essay published in 2009 by Laura Munson, Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear, has great meaning for me. When I read it, a year after publication, I was newly separated and wondering if my then-husband who wanted to end the marriage was suffering from temporary insanity. I was comforted by Munson’s words: “This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.“ I won’t give away any more because you should read it, but it gave me hope for a time, which I needed to put one foot in front of the other after the end of a very long marriage.

See: Modern Love

  1. Outlander

Outlander, the first of an 8-book series by Diana Gabaldon, combines historical fiction, time travel, and romance in a “can’t put down” read. The story begins in 1945 when Claire Randall, a former combat nurse on her honeymoon in the Scottish highlands, walks through a standing stone and into the war torn Scotland of 1743. She meets James Fraser, a young Scots warrior, and begins an epic romance.

The books are long (600 pages for volume 1) and immensely satisfying. A friend of mine called them “the bad Mommy books” because whenever she read one, she ignored her children. I have read all but the most recent one (waiting to savor it). The new TV show on Starz based on the Outlander series is one of those rare book-to-television adaptations with the look and feel of the books – just the way you imagined them. I recommend both the books and the TV show for good old- fashioned escapism.

See:

Outlander on Amazon

Outlander Starz TV series

Diana Gabaldon

  1. 5 Metres 80

Who cannot love high-diving giraffes? Enough said. Kudos to director Nicolas Deveaux of Cube Creative Productions. Reality was suspended for me the first time I watched 5 Metres 80.

See: 5 Metres 80

What are your favorite things? Tweet about it: #favoritethings. Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXXOOO

Nadia

View from the Trenches: At Peace with Dating or Not Dating

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It’s always good to hear about the dating life of other single women. If nothing else, it’s comforting to know that you are not the only one on the receiving end of some strange male dating behaviors. And when things go well, you give or receive hope from your support group.

Let’s find out about Gina Sangster’s dating experiences while we have Marcella Hazan’s classic pesto. This is my favorite pesto recipe and my go-to summertime staple.

Well, things have flat-lined – again – in my latest dating effort. Inspired by a recent ageist comment about Senior People Meet (I think it was something about denture-wearers) I re-upped my subscription. I’ll show them, huh? I had sworn off all dating sites for the past year and while not a hermit, my day to day life affords few opportunities to meet potential dating partners. That reality, and closing in on 65 which equals being invisible, irrelevant, disposable and even at times pitiable in public make my chances slim to none.

I keep forgetting that having gray hair means you can’t stand up on the Metro and while I still swoon for chivalry in a young man, it really bugs me when a woman close to my age offers me her seat. Hidden within this aging body with its head of silver curls lurks a formerly hot chick, a babe, a true blue pretty girl that even the women’s movement of the raging 70’s couldn’t squelch. So I decided to give on-line dating one more whirl.

I could stomach doing this because I stopped caring about whether or not I’ll ever meet someone, unlike when I was first sprung from my 20-year marriage just shy of 50 on the edge of the millennium when print personals were still in fashion. I met Rick, sturdy-looking, bald, divorced with a winning smile. He was wearing jeans and a nice shirt, just the pulled together casual style I like, and we made out like teenagers in front of the Library of Congress fountain with its spraying turtles, serpents and bold, muscular nudes. It seemed like we dated for years but it was only a few months. He slid right into my family, picking up my teenaged daughter from a friend’s house, sharing Thanksgiving dinner with us, showing a genuine interest in my young son’s martial arts practice. But I soon discovered he wasn’t over his last girlfriend, so he bowed out just before Valentines’ Day when I’d imagined us spending a romantic weekend at some bed n’ breakfast in the Shenandoah. Rick set the bar pretty high and in some ways my dating experience has been downhill ever since.

Not that I blame all the men. I’ve chosen to devote time and energy to relationships that were doomed from the start. How about a man calling from Saudi Arabia who even when he’s at home in the States would be about 500 miles away? I carried a torch for him for a couple of years, though we only saw each other maybe half a dozen times. Or the dapper man I dated for about 9 months who had habits you’d expect of a 15 year old: not calling when he said he would, coming up with lame excuses like he left his phone at home or fell asleep watching TV, all the while professing how much he cared for me and wanted our relationship to be meaningful. These ventures into dating boot camp help me stay grounded as a psychotherapist; though I reveal none of this to my clients, they feel my compassion as they share the disasters of their lives for which they suffer terrible guilt and shame. I’m pretty good at curing most cases of guilt and shame.

So my latest half-hearted return to on-line dating through Senior People Meet netted me a brief flurry of activity, headed up by the man who was especially excited because we’re about the same height which is less than five feet tall. I know it’s crass and superficial of me to admit that I just couldn’t cope with the prospect. Perhaps if his voice on the phone had been less grating and he hadn’t made one more joke about us “seeing eye-to-eye,” I might have considered it. Then the guys from Texas, Florida, and all over the South and Midwest who ignore the plea in my profile for contact only with men local to the DC area; and the men with little education who can’t write a complete sentence and wouldn’t know a comma or capitalization if it sat in their lap; never mind the beloved semi-colon. For me, education doesn’t have to be Ivy League; in fact, I prefer if it isn’t. The School of Hard Knocks is fine with me, as long as he’s literate. No picture? What is it about men who like a woman’s photo but post none of their own? We’re visual creatures too and while a man’s looks may not tell the whole story, how is it fair that we get to be seen but can’t see who’s watching? Oh, and the penchant for not answering a nice, inviting message? Even if the answer is no, why the silent treatment?

Here’s what I’d like: a man in a decent shirt, no tie; jeans or some other form of casual garb, photographed recently – let’s say within the last year – with no hair dye or hair piece, looking like he’s at home in his own body. No pictures of his kids or grandchildren need to be featured; that can come later. A dog or cat would be fine. If he’s snow-boarding, skiing, sky-diving, sailing around the world or clocking in under three-hour marathons, we may not be a match. Athletic is good, but not to excess; I love my weekly yoga class and long walks but I’m not going to keep up with an Iron-man competitor. Some extra poundage is fine; in fact, better than skinny in my book. Bald is okay too; Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas were stars of my formative years. I like smart and funny, curious and passionate; someone like me, only taller.

I’ll let my Senior People Meet subscription run its course and will check in when I get a “flirt” or message, but my heart isn’t in it. And there’s relief in that, to be at peace with my life as it is, with work that I love, friendships to nurture, and great relationships with my kids and grandsons. A wise woman once told me, “Well, you know, you can’t have it all.” Not something we hardcore feminists wanted to believe, but it’s true.

Gina Sangster

June 13, 2015

Dating Rules, Kismet, and Timing

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A recent article in a Washington Post blog on the single life explored the issue of whether men with bad online profiles could in fact turn out to be great guys. The writer, Jessica Guzik, was frustrated by the fact that her dates with men who had appealing profiles were not working out. So she decided to try an experiment. She dated men with unappealing or quirky profiles that would normally prompt her to ignore them.

To her surprise, she met some great men – whose bad profiles did not match the real person. One man in an attempt to be different filled his profile with obscure references; another was more interested in meeting women in the wild and filled out a lackluster profile just to put himself out there. Her conclusion: don’t put so much credence in the profiles; instead “put more faith in the men behind them.”

Of course this is easier said than done but Ms. Guzik’s article triggered some thoughts of my own about profiles, timing, and dating rules. Will you join me in some of Mark Bittman’s watermelon gazpacho while I explain?

It seems that for every rule you make, the opposite of the rule can also be true. After some disaster first dates that had been preceded by texts and emails but not a phone call, I made a rule that I had to speak on the phone with a man before meeting him. This rule was golden for a while and it helped me avoid creepy guys who were full of themselves and those who had terribly grating voices.

If I had already agreed to a date but subsequently had a “bad” phone call with a guy, I’d cancel the date after the call. I let the man know I didn’t feel a connection during our conversation. This angered some guys – especially if I texted or emailed them with this news. But I believe it is better to nip an obviously going nowhere relationship in the bud rather than to suffer a fool or miss-match in an awkward meeting at a café or bar.

So I had the “always talk on the phone before a date” rule. But then, I encountered some men who were able to carry on such a fun and witty conversation by email or text, that I forgot the rule and agreed to meet. And more often than not, the date was wonderful. So it seems that meeting someone great is often a result of chance, or fate or kismet.

This doesn’t mean that the first date, even if it’s fantastic, will lead to a relationship. A couple of weeks ago I met Mr. D for coffee. This first date was preceded by only a few emails and texts (funny, witty, and creative ones though). We had incredible chemistry, honesty and intimacy almost from the start. It was as if we had our own version of The 36 Questions. But it turns out Mr. D was separated. It was in his profile but somehow in my pre-date excitement I had missed it.

I discovered this key piece of information right before leaving to meet him. I decided to go anyway since separated can mean separated for 8 years with a scheduled court date or separated 2 weeks ago and still moving out of the marital home (I have dated both of these guys).

It became clear at the end of the date that our timing was off (a perpetual problem in the dating life). This was Mr. D’s 3rd marriage (previously widowed and divorced) and he was struggling with the fact that he didn’t want to leave his 3rd wife’s grown children whom he had grown to dearly love. I know it all sounds messy but he was truly a fine guy.

When I told Mr. D I hadn’t realized he was separated and that I was looking for a relationship, he “fired himself.” But not until he kissed me and let’s just say this was a kiss worthy of a big-screen movie – possibly IMAX or even bigger. I can’t seem to stop thinking about him even though we were together for a grand total of 3 hours. Perhaps Mr. D will end up divorced and we’ll serendipitously meet again when the timing is right.

I have also encountered men with a great profile, who gave great phone (insert smile here), but we had zero or minus zero chemistry in person. As an added insult, these men did not resemble the old pictures they had posted.

Another issue is whether a good and long first phone conversation or date predicts anything. I’ve had very long (2 to 3 hours) late night phone conversations before meeting someone and long (up to 5 hours) first dates and then for one reason or another the fledgling relationship combusts. In one case, the guy was an alcoholic and we ended up in a phone fight after the first date. In the other case, following a 5-hour date, Mr. Q decided he wanted to date another woman at the same time he dated me. Apparently he scheduled me as the fall back and I didn’t hear from him for a week. Then, when his other “relationship” didn’t work out, he texted me to see if I wanted to talk. I was disenchanted at that point and had already moved on.

So many dating and relationship situations call for you to decide whether you’re going to trust your heart or your gut. A thought-provoking article in the Chicago Tribune describes the ongoing battles these two organs can have over your love interests. As the article points out, sometimes you just don’t want to listen to your gut tell you a man is not right for you…and the heart wins. See Mr. D above. Other times, it’s easy – and neither organ wants a particular piece of work otherwise known as an incompatible match.

I’m still looking for a rule-breaking, take my breath away encounter that is a win-win from both the heart and gut and appeases the timing gods. Until then, happy dating or not dating to all of us.

XXXOOO

Nadia