Imagining a Singles Revolution in 2016

Blog people at bookstore

It’s the end of the year and although I could list my 10 most popular blog posts of 2015 or the year’s 10 worst dates, I would rather examine the state of “single power” and the ways society can help singles improve their love lives in the coming year.

“Single power,” to coin a term, is an individual’s acceptance and enjoyment of the single life as well as society’s fair treatment and respect of singles. Certainly more singles live alone, dine alone, and travel alone than ever before. With the rise of “single power,” we have seen such cultural shifts as restaurants not hiding single diners in the back of a restaurant and a movement toward the creation of smaller dwellings or “micro housing” for this population.

But even if singles are happy with their lives, many of them also want a significant other for intimacy, love, sex, and to have a built-in Scrabble partner. This desire is fueled by a couple-focused world. If you’re single, couples seem to be everywhere. They’re holding hands in the park, shopping together, and spotting each other in the gym. The holidays amplify the significance of a couple-based society and December is one of the most popular months to get engaged.

What am I getting at? Singles need help. Online dating is time consuming and not always productive; meeting someone in the wild is also a crapshoot.

It’s time for a revolution of sorts. Institutions, businesses, non-profits and government agencies need to band together to support singles and help us find our matches.

As we look ahead to 2016, dream with me as I imagine a world vastly changed in order to help singles find partners. Are you paying attention movers and shakers?

Read this wish list while eating Southern New Year’s Day Soup.

Ten Ideas to Help Singles Connect with Each Other:

  • Singles cars on trains. Unlike quiet cars, these cars will be lively and your reserved seat will be next to someone who is at least a 60 % match.
  • Singles shopping day at the grocery store. Every Friday afternoon will be designated Singles Friday. Any single entering the store will be given a wristband that signals their availability and willingness to talk among the veggies. Sexy, lively music will be broadcast instead of the usual Muzak.
  • Single waiting room in the ER. If you’re in the hospital, why not multi-task and see if chatting up a hot guy or gal can alleviate your pain.
  • Singles Saturdays at Coffee Bars. On Singles Saturdays at coffee shops, you have to approach a person of the opposite sex and ask them to order for you. They don’t have to pay for your drink but they do have to get the details of your order and place it. The rest of the conversation is up to you. Any one caught ordering a latte for himself or herself will be asked to leave.
  • Singles concerts. Only single seats will be sold and the required ticket purchase app will alternate seating (man, woman, man, etc.). The band will organize audience activities – such as kiss the person next to you. Think of it as spin the bottle on a massive scale.
  • Singles rows at movie theaters. Certain rows will be designated as singles rows and only individual tickets will be sold. At the end of the movie, an emcee will ask everyone to make one comment about the movie to the man or woman on his or her right.

Blog movie audience

  • Singles charity day. Nonprofits will sponsor singles charitable activity days. The charities will organize events that only singles can participate in. It will be clear to attendees that all participants are interested in connecting with other singles.
  • Singles government job fair. A government-sponsored singles job fair will feature government agency representatives discussing current job openings. There will be coffee meet and greets as well as a “meet other singles” lunch.
  • Singles day at the bookstore. Local independent bookstores will organize singles days. There will be book talks by authors of relationship and dating-related books. All store visitors who are single and interested in connecting with other singles will be given a wristband (similar to grocery store example noted above) that says “Ask me about my favorite book.” Shy singles will have the option of choosing a wristband inscribed with, “I’m shy. Text me at _________.” A phone number can be added.
  • Singles in Space Day. Government-sponsored space visitor centers will have Singles in Space Days. Activities will vary by location. Single visitors can bond at simulated shuttle launches.  After feeling those g forces, talking to another single will be a piece of cake.

Can you add to my wish list? Join the revolution!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

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

My Bizarre Fantasy

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Nadia walks into a bar at dusk. It’s summertime and the living is easy. Margaritas are flowing…. happy hour time.

As she glances at the bar, Nadia notices that all but one seat in the middle section is filled. Men occupy the rest of the 15 stools. Not a single woman sits at the bar, though there are women and couples having dinner in the adjoining restaurant.

Nadia approaches the bar and asks the men sitting next to the empty seat if it’s taken. “No, please take a seat,” says one of them, a tall, dark haired man with striking blue eyes. His pale lemon yellow button-down shirt is open at the collar, sleeves pushed up to show his tanned and muscled forearm; his suit jacket is draped over the briefcase tucked next to his stool.

As she eases onto the stool, carefully crossing her high-heeled legs, Nadia copies the neighbor’s clothing storage solution and drapes her short-skirted scarlet red suit jacket over her briefcase. Her piggy pink V-neck blouse hints at her cleavage.

The bartender approaches Nadia. “We have a calamari special today,” he says giving her a friendly and approving smile. “Sounds great – and I’ll have a margarita on the rocks, no salt,” she says.

“Not a margarita purist?” asks her yellow-shirted neighbor. “No, I like it better without the salt,” she said giving him a big smile.

Then, she reaches down into her sepia briefcase and brings out a small, flat antique brass case, setting it down on her right side.

“Don’t tell me you’re going to take out a slim cigar from that case and smoke it in violation of the no-smoking rule,” says Mr. Yellow Shirt.

“This case doesn’t hold cigars,” Nadia says, smiling mysteriously.

Then she reaches once again into her briefcase and pulls out a large paperback book the size of a coloring book.

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In fact, it is a coloring book.

Nadia sips on her margarita and opens the brass case. Inside, 24 fresh, beautiful, unused colored pencils, smile enticingly at her.

She slowly strokes the cover of One Year Wiser: The Coloring Book: Unwind with Weekly Illustrated Meditations and opens it with her carefully manicured nails. Each nail is a different Crayola color.

As Nadia starts to color the Peace is Always Beautiful (Walt Whitman) illustration, Mr. Yellow Shirt breaks out into a wild laugh. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone color at a bar before,” he says. “I’m Ben by the way. As an architect, I have to tell you I’m loving what you’re doing.”

Nadia smiles. “Would you like to color?” Ben finishes his sip of gin and tonic and says, “I’d love to.”

Nadia carefully tears out one of the illustrations and gives it to Ben and places the pencils between them. Her other neighbor, who has been watching the proceedings, asks if he can join the party.

In 20 minutes time, all of the men are coloring. No one is watching the baseball game on the muted television above the bar. No one is swiping on his phone. Every few minutes, one of the men shows Nadia his progress or asks about a color choice.

Nadia leans back, sips on her margarita, smiles and thinks to herself, “Now this is a good time. My very own almost 50 shades of grey, pink, blue,green….”

What’s your bizarre fantasy? Keep it only slightly naughty and send it to me.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating…and keep on coloring.

I was so excited I almost forgot our lunch!  In honor of Julia Child’s birthday today, while you’re thinking of your own fantasy, have some of Julia’s Bouillabaisse a la Marseillaise.

XXXOOO

Nadia