An Imagined Meeting of Online Daters Anonymous

blox pix support

“I really don’t want to go,” I said to my friend Bonnie.

“You’ve got to go,” she said. “You need support from other online daters. I can listen to you and advise you up the wazoo but I’m not dating anymore.” (I swear she quietly muttered Thank God.) “I think it would help you to share your experiences with other people who are going through the same stuff.”

“Okay,” I sighed. Since Bonnie, a long-time friend and fellow retiree, had remarried 6 months ago, she’d been trying to nudge me into attending this support group. I knew she was right. The stress of online dating was warping my perspective on romance—at least that’s what I told my jaded self.

Two days later I found myself in a small meeting room at the local library. Enjoy some oven steamed mussels while I share what happened.

There were six women and four men of various ages and ethnicities already sitting in a circle in the simple but functional room. It was 7 pm and some of my fellow daters looked liked they had come straight from work.

“Welcome,” said a striking blond woman who motioned me to an empty chair. “We’re just about to do introductions. I’m Janet. I’m a social worker. I started this meet-up group in hopes of creating an ongoing system of support for those who are starting over after divorce and struggling with online dating. I’ve been divorced 4 years and started dating 3 years ago.”

Janet went on to explain that she wanted each meeting to focus on a particular question related to dating. Every person was to answer the question, followed by an open discussion. The question for this first meeting was “what have you learned about the process of online dating?” Janet asked us to go around the room, say our name and a few basic facts and then try to answer the question.

The first person to speak was Rob, a 50-something man who said he’d been divorced 5 years. “I’ve learned that women who are online don’t seem to want to meet. They’re stuck emailing and they keep asking me questions. I feel like I’m being interrogated.”

There was general nodding of heads and smiling. “I feel that men are the same way,” said Irma, a 40ish woman. “But they don’t ask good questions. It’s ‘how’d you get so beautiful?’ and ‘how long have you been on this site?’ No one seems to read my profile. I could say I was a mass murderer and the men wouldn’t notice.”

“My problem is when we meet,” said Rachel, a woman who could have been anywhere from 55 to 65. “I’ve learned that no matter how well you connect on the phone or in email, it’s what happens in person that matters. I don’t get too excited in advance any more because most of the time, the guys look much worse and much older than their pictures.”

A 30ish man who introduced himself as Hank said, “I’ve learned that I don’t like online dating. I actually came here to see if I could meet women,” he said with a grin. “I don’t have time for the dating sites but I use Tinder and just started using Bumble because there’s less work. Sometimes I hook up with someone but I think a lot of the profiles are fake.”

Helen, a woman in her 70s (go Helen), laughed. “I almost don’t believe it when someone is not a fake. I’ve never had anyone ask me for money but stolen pictures are everywhere. They must think women are idiots. Google image search is my friend.”

Then Janet turned to me. “Nadia, what have you learned?” She asked.

I sipped my water and took a few seconds to gather my thoughts. After listening to the mostly negative comments, I realized I might be jaded but I still have hope. I explained that I had learned to expect the unexpected. To suffer through long dry spells followed by an out-of-the-blue increase in romantic possibilities…only to have them fall apart right away or over the course of a few weeks. Rinse and repeat. I told the group that, just as all types of problems have suddenly appeared in my life, I hold on to the hope that good things will also spontaneously occur. It just seems to be the way things work. The law of nothing is static.

Janet thanked me for my comment and we continued around the room. My attention drifted away as a text from a first date appeared on my phone. It looks like this latest dry spell might be over.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

Fizzling, Catfishing, and Lessons from a Millennial

blog post mother daughter 1

Fizzling

I was feeling too cocky – thinking I had defied the odds by getting responses to my proactive dating messages. I thought I was finally getting somewhere. But getting a response to your virtual pick-up line is only the first of many hurdles in this online dating sports event.

Let’s review my recent experiences while enjoying some Independence Day appropriate herby picnic potato salad.

One recent afternoon, I dropped my line into the Plenty of Fish pond when I noticed an attractive man had viewed me. His profile appealed and he said he was looking for a relationship. I pondered my opening line to him. I noticed that he had a garden so I decided to incorporate that into my message. “Do you grow basil in your garden?” I asked, “I need a supplier for my pesto.”

A short time later, Gary wrote back. “Basil is awesome,” he replied. “We could discuss this over a drink.”

Pay dirt, I thought.

“That’s possible,” I replied.

“Will you be in DC on Tuesday?” he asked.

“I will be in DC,” I responded, “attending a writing workshop in upper N.W. It ends at 6:15.”

“Is it near 12th & H Streets?” Gary asked.

This question immediately put me on guard. I recently had lunch with a man who drove from West Virginia for our first meeting and Gary appeared to be balking at a distance of under 5 miles.

“No,” I wrote, “I’ll be around upper Connecticut Avenue.” I then suggested a couple of venues in the vicinity of my class and asked if either one of these worked for him.

But Gary never replied. I’m not sure if this counts as ghosting since we had only exchanged a few messages. I’ll refer to it as fizzling. And it’s certainly rude.

Imagine having an in-person conversation with a guy and he walks away mid sentence. It feels almost as bad when this happens online.

Could Gary’s “fizzling” be related to the fact that I am 10 years older than him?

The problem with fizzling or ghosting is that you never know what happened or even if the runaway person’s reaction has anything to do with you.

Catfishing

It was time to move on to other possible targets of my affection. Next, I sent a message to Robert on Tastebuds, a mixed-use (dating, friends, concert buddies) site. We liked some of the same music and he was attractive, tall, and single. His profile contained little information so it was my job to ferret it out. Oh, and he was Bahamian, a “fact,” if true, that would play a key role in the end of our non-relationship.

I emailed Robert and asked about his favorite local music venues. We then corresponded about our jobs (in my case, retirement), marital status, and our children. I learned Robert was single and had a married son who had recently moved out of his house/apartment.

Here’s his verbatim message:

I have a son but his Married and he just moved out of the house that makes me very lonely .. Please can I have you mobile number ? I will be honored

Yes, I know Robert’s English and grammar are questionable but I decided to play along in hopes that (1) he was intelligent but that English was his second language and (2) the keyboard was not his friend.

Give me some slack. I’m in a dating dry spell and willing to entertain false hope.

Still I was suspicious of a declaration of loneliness and his career also had me wondering:

Am into art works importations and sales and I also do artworks interior decorations for homes and offices

I decided to give Robert my Google voice number so we could text. When he sent his number, I searched it and found it to be a Voice over Internet Protocol Washington state number. Strike 3 – almost out.

Once we started texting, it didn’t take long for my suspicions to be confirmed. Ultimately, he did not want to speak on the phone due to his thick accent.  Classic catfishing behavior.

The only thing I’ll share from my second catfishing encounter of the week was a tip I learned to help you search photos of matches on Google image search. If you crop the image closely to cut most of the background, Google is more likely to find the photo’s match. This helped me identify a Coffee Meets Bagel match from Virginia who in realty (no pun intended) was a realtor in Texas. The real guy is single and cute so maybe I should message him via Facebook and tell him someone stole his photo for nefarious dating purposes.

Lessons from a Millennial

I was sharing my frustrating non-dating week with my daughter. A tall, natural beauty in her late 20s, my “baby” hasn’t gone more than few months without a boyfriend since age 15. And this is without Facebook, which she refuses to join.

“I’d never do online dating,” she declared.

Daughter has met men in Starbucks, at various jobs, volunteer experiences, and through friends.

She instinctively knows how to send the right signals to a man she’s interested in.

“I just position myself,” she explained.

“Would you go up to a stranger and start talking?” I ask.

“Yes,” she said. “Men are afraid of rejection too. If I see an attractive man at a bar, I sit next to him. I might wait for him to talk to me. Depends on how I feel. Or I might start talking.”

She’s a natural. I have watched her masterfully look at an attractive man, look away, and return her gaze in the classic flirt maneuver.

It’s surreal when you’re in your 60s to get dating advice from your daughter. But it’s also fun and usually helpful. My plan is to channel my millennial daughter’s attitude and energy the next time I’m in a situation where I might meet men in real life.

If you enjoyed this post or any past ones, subscribe to get regular e-mail delivery. Follow me on social media too: Twitter, Facebook.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

From Burned out to Somewhat Hopeful

blog woman profile

I was prepared to title this post “fed up with dating” but at this moment I have possibilities and, therefore, a smidgen of hope.

I need to be pampered. Will you cook for me today? I made this recently and loved it: baked cod and potatoes with mustard horseradish sauce.

It’s been a bleak season and by season I mean months and months of going on first and second dates and maybe third dates or no dates and endless sifting, reading emails from non-prospects, cutting off scammers, emailing and messaging prospects, with a few phone calls thrown in.

Over the past year, I changed my tactics, revised my tactics, tweaked my profile, added professional photos to my profile, read articles on dating, started and even finished some books on the dating process, attended dating webinars, met with a matchmaker out of curiosity, and wondered if I would have to change the title of this blog to reflect my current situation and mood: Burned Out and Bitchy.

At various moments, I agonized over my age, my appearance, and the dating pool (seems more like a puddle sometimes).

So, as it sometimes happens, just when I thought I was going to have to change religions and enter a nunnery or Buddhist monastery, there’s action…or at least positive movement.

Could this shift be explained by the universe’s appreciation of the fact that despite my frustration, I haven’t given up? Examples of perseverance:

*I signed up for new activities – to enrich my life, not just to meet men

*After a period of not sending the first email, I decided to be the initiator again. Why the hell not? Personal mantra: Be tough when rejected and remember I am rejecting many too.

*I continue to blog about dating, an emotional challenge when I’m not meeting anyone (send hugs, please)

So now, at this very moment (because all can change in an instant), I am corresponding with two men I e-mailed first: Mr. P, who presents a geographic challenge, but suggested meeting halfway between our houses for lunch and Mr. C. who I contacted on the basis of our similar tastes in music. I also matched with Mr. J on Coffee Meets Bagel and Mr. B on JSwipe. On these last two dating apps, a “match” means you both like each other.

And, as I predicted, Mr. C may no longer be in the picture (a theory based on the 24 hour break I took from writing this post). Sometimes it’s hard to know if a guy is still in the picture or just takes his sweet time responding. So perhaps Mr. C is a slow responder…or not.

I have been in this situation before – enjoying a bonanza of prospects who, for various reasons, are gone within a matter of day or hours.

Back to the hope issue. Other than my possible prospects, two things gave me hope recently:

*I was introduced to a couple that met in their late 50s as a result of the woman initiating contact on OkCupid. They have been an item for several years now and seem very happy. The hope quotient for this example increased because the individuals are “older” and the woman made the first move.

*I attended the first installment of a dating seminar given by online dating coach Damona Hoffman. It wasn’t just her positivity that inspired me. She also had concrete tips and tactics for navigating the modern dating scene and finding love. I’ll visit some of these tips in a future blog post.

Today, in my moment of hope, I’ll leave you with Hoffman’s advice to adopt “an abundance mindset.” Like many of my friends, I am sometimes guilty of having a scarcity worldview, believing that “there are no good men where I live.” Part of the solution, says Hoffman, is changing your criteria – whether it’s height, distance, or something else. She’s not advocating that you ignore your deal breakers or must- haves, but being flexible is important.

As for me, I “widened the pool” by joining many dating sites and apps and going to more real-life activities. My personal homework and challenge is to expand in-person activities and venues even more. This requires a daily B for Bold vitamin.

What’s your challenge?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Facebook Stalking my Ex’s Girlfriend

blog woman at laptop 2

A couple of weeks ago, I made the mistake of Facebook stalking my ex’s current girlfriend (GF). I had not done this before and it was not premeditated. I was searching online for local music events and happened upon an upcoming performance by my ex- and his romantic partner. The duo’s title was their two last names. I had not known the GF’s last name and only accidentally learned of her first name when one of my children let it slip. So it was pretty easy to confirm that my ex’s band mate and GF are one in the same.

I’ll back up a bit to explain the situation. Join me in some warm fusilli salad while I fill you in. Although some divorced couples maintain communication, we don’t. Our children were adults when we divorced and now that all financial entanglements have been untangled, we have no “business” reason to communicate. And that’s fine with me. I’m just not feeling the desire to stay in touch.

Right after we divorced, I admit to some minor online stalking of my ex. I wanted to clarify the names of his bands to avoid attending a performance.

But after I had that intel, I had no further interest in e stalking. It was time to move on with my life. So it was a departure for me to snoop on his GF’s social media page.

More back story: this current GF is not the woman my ex took up with soon after we separated. She’s long gone. I was mildly curious about her replacement.

So when I popped open GF’S Facebook page, I saw that she was younger than my ex (and me) and blonde, like her predecessor. A cliché come to life. There are so many “experiential clichés” in life – e.g., middle-aged man buys a sports car.

The GF’s Facebook page had only a few photos and no pictures of my ex. A check of her “status” revealed she was “in a relationship” as of 2013. She didn’t name her significant other, but I knew it was my ex. And then I saw his complimentary comment about her latest photo.

I closed the page.

Here’s the funny part. If my ex came crawling back to me, I wouldn’t have him. Truth: I don’t want him. And yet, it hurts to see evidence of his relationship and how relatively easy it is (and has been) for him to find someone. This is a harsh reality of what I call dating disparity. In general, divorced men have an easier time finding a date, a companion, or a partner, than divorced women – especially in the boomer years. Challenge me on this but this has been my experience and what I have observed.

So when I’m in a dry spell and not meeting any men, when there are no possible relationships in my life, I think about dating disparity and my ex.

In contrast, when I’m dating and have lots of possibilities, there are few thoughts of either dating disparity or my ex.

I’m used to this cycle by now. Dating dry spells can lead to the blues and self-pity. But self-pity doesn’t offer any rewards. To counteract the blues, I learned that it helps to get busy, reach out to friends, do something new.

That’s why even though I knew in advance that opening the GF’s Facebook page might trigger some emotional shakiness; I also knew any blue notes would be brief. It’s called healing.

If you liked this post or any past ones, subscribe to get regular email delivery of Dating, Sex, and Life in your 60s.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

A Week in the Outer Limits

universe for blog

I spent the last week reading strange dating profiles and emails from strange men, wondering if there are any age-appropriate educated, nice, single guys out there. The dry spell continues. I guess this is my fault since I could be enjoying a tickling session with a married man or chivalry and fantastic orgasms with a transient convention goer, or even a ménage a trois with an attractive couple in their 40s.

I don’t have a sense of shock anymore.   The dating life for a woman in her 60s is a lot like encounters with aliens in The Outer Limits. Who are these creatures writing to me? I have become almost blasé about the variety of male idiosyncrasies.

At the same time, I no longer have adrenalin surges when I match with a guy, when a guy I “like” also “likes” me, or when a guy winks at or favorites me. Why? For some reason, none of these indications of interest mean that the fellow in question will take action. I don’t know whether the winks and flirtations are a game or the way unavailable men show appreciation.

Since picking my “matches” from the DC metro area is not working and because I am tired of this dry spell, I expanded my geographic search on the dating sites and apps. Now I can choose from the uneducated, strange, and short ones several hundred miles away.

Do you detect a hint of sarcasm, frustration, and anger? Yes.

To fully appreciate my week, read the following evidence while having a lovely meal of pappardelle with mushrooms:

From a married ticklish guy who wrote me to tell me I was not nice when I didn’t respond to his lunch invitation:

ticklish trying again with edits

From a man who offers a 72 hour special:

 

Image 1

From Ménage à Trois R Them (accompanied by a NSFW or this blog photo of 3 sets of intertwined legs):

Married couple rotated

From an out of shape emotional mess who still wants some fun:

emotionally crippled for blog

From a man who needs a class in personal marketing:

I'm too ugly for blog copy 

And that, dear readers, is a snapshot of my week in the Outer Limits. Send your comments! Most of all send your sympathy. And if you know any single guys, send them my way. It couldn’t be any more of a shot in the dark than online dating.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Dating Dry Spell Ramblings

blog woman thinking of man

When I am in a dating dry spell, my mind wanders. I think about my (and other women’s) criteria for selecting partners, general unfairness in the dating world, and ways to get out of my rut.

Oh serendipity! Just as I’m writing this, I match with a guy on Tinder and he sent me a message. So this post will have a bit of hope in it.

Let’s address the 3 topics mentioned above while enjoying some rice and shrimp bake with feta cheese. Just substitute veggie or fish broth and use fresh herbs if possible.

*Criteria for date/partner selection

A dating dry spell triggers thoughts about whether I am too picky. When I re-entered the dating world in my 60s, I had few criteria. I didn’t really know what I was looking for – in part because I had little dating experience outside of my long marriage and because, following a divorce, it can take awhile to trust your instincts.

After a few short-term relationships, what seems like thousands of dates, and some analysis and self-reflection I fine-tuned my selection criteria.

These criteria encompass brains, age, height, attractiveness, sense of humor, empathy/lack of narcissism, and outlook on life. Here’s how these criteria have morphed over time:

Brains. I was less picky about academic credentials at the beginning. Now I realize I would like someone who has at least a 2-year degree. I am fully aware of the value of street and people smarts. It’s just that, in general, someone who has been to college tends to align better with my interests, etc.

Age. At the beginning, I was fine with dating guys 5 to 10 years older than me. Now, I lean toward younger men and consider those who are 10-12 years younger. There are always exceptions but I seem to fit better with a younger man in terms of outlook on life – joie de vivre.

-Height. I’m tall and I prefer taller men. My ex- was shorter than me and so were some of my romantic partners so I gave the height issue a good run. Tall guys just work better for me on a variety of levels (pun intended) so for now I’m swiping right on those 6’+ hotties.

-Attractiveness. Although there are some “types” I like, I can be attracted to guys with a variety of looks – from Matt Damon to George Clooney (right — I can dream.) Over time, I learned that there are certain types I am not attracted to…so I swipe left or don’t reach out to them.

-Sense of humor. It has to be there. This is a deal breaker. Enjoyment of mild sarcasm and an ability to be silly are definite turn-ons. This criterion has not morphed over time.

-Empathy/lack of narcissism. No more narcissists. At the beginning, I was more forgiving of this character flaw but I learned my lesson.

-Outlook on life. This is another non-negotiable criterion. I seek a positive, optimistic, fun-loving and adventurous man. I’m not happy if I date someone with a negative worldview.

*General unfairness in the dating world 

-From what my friends and I have witnessed, it’s a lot easier for “older” men to find a partner. Certainly my ex and most of the exes of my divorced single friends are coupled.

Statistically speaking, the ratio of single men to single women gets less favorable as we age. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of unmarried men and women is about equal at age 40. Starting at age 45, there’s a decline in the number of single men. At age 64, there are 62 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women. Ouch – so the shortage is real.

-Not only are there fewer men as we age but society “trains” men to be more critical of a woman’s natural aging than of a man’s. Yes, there are “cougars” but, in general, you see more May/December couplings with older men/younger women. Side note: I was intrigued by the May/December marriage (he’s 55, she’s 70) of the Florida couple that won part of the recent enormous Powerball jackpot. I’d love to know their story.

*Ways to get out of my rut

         –In addition to the survival tips I offered in a previous post on dating dry spells, I am trying speed dating for a second time tonight. I am somewhat burned out on online dating and there’s a lot of appeal to finding out in 6 minutes whether you and the man you are sitting across from have any chemistry or potential chemistry. This will be my second foray into speed dating. Wish me luck!

-In another in-person activity, this coming week I’m going to a happy hour sponsored by one of the dating sites. I’ll be asking the wizard for some lioness courage before I go to that event.

What do you think about or do when you’re in a dating dry spell? What makes you angry? What gives you hope? Send comments!

If you liked this post or any past ones, sign up for regular email delivery of this blog.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

Online Dating: Epic Fails, Firsts, and Freaks

blog woman with phone

Despite the recent wet and snowy weather, I’m in another dating dry spell. Oh, yes, there was my date in late January with the younger man who kissed like a steamroller (and that’s putting it nicely). Since that epic fail, my dating life has consisted of:

*Endless and slow-paced Tinder messaging (Hi, Hi, How are you? Good, How are you? I’m good, what are you doing? ad nauseum) that doesn’t result in an actual meeting

*Deleting emails from strange guys, and

*Falling on the floor in uncontrollable laughter at some of the profiles in my match list.

So, join me in a super sweet potato chickpea Buddha bowl while I share some of the epic fails, firsts, and freaks from my dating files.

Profile of a man who believes that size does not affect spirituality:

pix 1 blog

Profile of a man on Tinder who believes a curriculum vitae is better than any pick-up line. Certainly a man who has strategic planning ability is a major turn-on for me.  

blog pix 2

Profile of a man who is unsure of his availability…perhaps…maybe:

blog pix 3

Profile of a man who knows just what to write to appeal to a woman:

I am separated and live alone with my cat.

Profile of a man who is so popular that he has to weed out some of his thousands of prospects:

I apologize but: Due to the volume of messages. If you are bigger than a size 18, not only will I not read your messages but I will delete them and block you as soon as possible.

Message from a man who apparently wrote to me and I failed to respond (perhaps due to his extreme geographic incompatibility):

blox pix 4

Profile of a man of uncommon height:

pix 5

Message from a meteorologically sensitive guy:

pix 6

No comment:

pix7

Profile of a man seeking his clone:

pix 8

Message from a confused, scary man who thinks my name is Phoebe and who is likely as nutty as the weirdos he disparages:

pix 10.png

Profile of a man who travels almost 2/3 of the year…but hey, when you see him, you see ALL of him…

pix 11

Profile of a “man” who stole a woman’s profile (read to the end)…and not a great profile:

lipstick

Message from a man who can discern texture through photography:

soft feet

Message from a 20-year-old who might be 40+ years too young:

better pix from 20 year old

Send me your dating fails! And don’t forget to subscribe to this blog. Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia