To PDA or Not

blog pix pda

Today’s topic: Public displays of affection (PDA): Yes or No? And what does it mean if you do or don’t like PDA? Can a disagreement about this behavior be a deal breaker?

Lots of questions to chew on while we chew on a delightful dish of baked feta and greens with lemony yogurt.

Let’s define PDA as showing physical affection to a romantic partner in the form of kissing, hugging, caressing, back rubs, or holding hands.

In this post, I won’t be discussing having sex on the beach, in an airplane, or a public bathroom. That’s a topic for another day – or maybe not.

I’ve encountered all degrees of PDA-friendly guys – both in terms of their real life behavior and what they mention in their online dating profiles.

blox pix pda 2

For some guys, a woman’s rejection of PDAs is a deal breaker. I don’t think about this characteristic when I review my checklist of desired attributes in a mate and I wonder if other women include “Enjoys PDA” on their must have list.

It may not be a deal breaker for me but I admit to indulging in PDA, reluctantly or enthusiastically – depending on the situation.

I have experienced a greater degree of PDA behavior early in the dating process. I may not be ready to go to a guy’s home or invite him to mine but I might want to kiss and hug him.

A PDA pet peeve: it bugs me when guys pick the most public spot to engage in PDA. I’d rather be discreet – an unlit bench in a park or a quiet spot in the parking garage as he walks you to your car. However some guys decide that standing by the door of a restaurant is the ideal spot for extensive kissing as customers enter and exit the establishment. Still others like long form smooching near the busy parking machine and elevator. Oy! Not my cup of tea and yet if the guy’s a good kisser, I might put up with it briefly.

What about parks? A guy I was dating engaged me in PDA in all corners of a public park’s extensive garden. We tried to find big trees and dense foliage to hide behind. It was fun and had an element of “danger” in that we could be discovered.

Sometimes when I am kissing a guy in a more public setting, a person walking by will say, “Get a room.” It is always said with a smile and laughter, perhaps because the commenter engages in similar behavior.

People have different standards and levels of comfort with PDA. I wouldn’t want to offend anyone and go into a more circumspect mode when children are around.   I have noticed more public making out in foreign cosmopolitan cities, e.g., Barcelona, Venice. When traveling, it’s always a good idea to check the local customs regarding showing affection, greetings, and non-romantic touching such as handshakes. It could save you embarrassment and even jail time.

So why do people engage in PDA? I view it as a spontaneous need to show affection to a partner. In some cases, the couple has nowhere private to go. However, research has identified other factors in play. One study of college students (admittedly I’m light years from that age group) found motivations included enhancing image; inciting jealousy or envy; proving a relationship; and for women, sexually arousing men.

So, the whole PDA thing can be a sticky wicket. If you and your partner disagree about PDA, you’ll need to come to a comfortable resolution. And when you’re having that talk, it’s worth checking in about what I call pDA for Private Displays of Affection, which are so important to the health of a relationship.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Reading for Extra Credit:

Reasons small public displays of affection mean a lot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three, Two, One, Zero Dating Prospects

blox pix april 1

Remember my failed attempt at the dating rule of three when I thought I might be juggling three men at the same time? I had a similar experience that began last weekend. As the week progressed, three was reduced to two, then one, and now zero.

Join me in a bowl of Spring Pasta Salad while I share my subtraction problem.

The three candidates:

Mr. M: Nine years my junior, 1.5 inches taller than me (later you’ll see why I bring this up), a self described INTP.

Mr. J: One year my junior, a journalist, 6’4”.

Mr. R: Four years younger, an hour’s drive from me, self-employed.

I spent the most time communicating with Mr. M. After I “liked” him on Match, he wrote a confusing message that had me wondering whether he was interested. I pondered whether to reply and decided to write back with a touch of humor.

In hindsight, his first message which discussed the fact that he was not truly 6.0 but was 5’11.5” was a clue about his anal retentive personality. If I’d been paying more attention, I would have realized it was a warning.

Mr. M rounded up his height, he wrote, because he “grew tired of women automatically subtracting 2” from my height when I truncated the fraction and listed 5’11” (apparently, a lot of guys in the 5’8” to 5’9” range list 5’11” as their height on dating sites). That no longer happens at 6’0”. You are tall woman. You need a man who is at least 6’0”.

It turned out he was interested and said he thought the difference in our ages (not his height) might be a problem for me (Nonsensical since I sent him a “like.”) He wrote a couple of complementary messages and then we explored our mutual interests including music, being active, and travel.

All seemed promising until he turned my question about how long he had been divorced into an excuse to mansplain his views on today’s dating world, human behavior and physiology.

As part of his cave man soliloquy he made a comment that I didn’t care for about women who fall outside of his “normal parameters.”

insert 1

He went on and on and on about man’s primal urge to pursue, men’s average height in the US, female preference for tall men even if the women are relatively short and “woman’s basic primal need to feel safe and secure.” In between the mansplaining, a little insecurity disguised as bravado appeared:

insert 2

I was getting more and more annoyed. His messages were long and instead of getting to know me he was standing on a soapbox, actually trying to stand taller on a soapbox.

I tried to shake him out of his pontification mode with a mildly sarcastic comment and a suggestion that it was “too depressing to think about dating in terms of statistics.” He ignored my comments and barreled through. I just stopped responding to him.

Almost two days later, for closure’s sake, I messaged him that I felt like I was being lectured to rather than participating in a conversation. I also let him know that being considered “outside of normal parameters” (his way of describing our age difference) didn’t feel good to me. No response, which was fine. I was done.

Mr. J, the journalist or should I say the reticent journalist, was the second to fall. Despite a life of words, he was the opposite of Mr. M in his correspondence style. He was brief – perhaps too brief – and to the point. We only exchanged a few messages – about a novel he was reading that I had started. I pushed for him to post some additional pictures. He only had one of his head (not even shoulders were visible) and his other photo was of his dog.

Mr. J acknowledged he should add more pictures and two days later he messaged me that he had loaded three photos taken that day. Sadly his photos were disappointing, making his initial more flattering picture look like an aberration. I couldn’t see myself with him.

It’s always awkward when you ask someone to post more photos and then if he does you find that you are not attracted to him. My tenderhearted nurse daughter said, “Oh, he looks like my patients.” “This is sad,” she said, “I couldn’t do online dating.”

I felt bad but knew I had to at least acknowledge Mr. J’s effort. I wrote to him and thanked him for posting but didn’t add any further comments or questions. I’m sure it was clear to him that I wasn’t interested and we’ve had no further communication.

I matched with Mr. R on both Plenty of Fish and Tinder. At first I hesitated to say yes to him – with interests in music and a business in remodeling homes, he had some similarities to my ex. Overall he was different enough — and appealing enough — to convince me to go forward. Mr. R asked me out on POF but then on Tinder he worried about the distance between us. He asked me for my view and whether I thought he was being shallow or realistic.

I wrote back that I thought long distance relationships (if an hour qualifies) could work but it depended on one’s desire to get to know a particular person and the individual circumstances of available time and energy. I said that I’d like to meet him and asked him to let me know if the distance would be too much of a negative for him.

Mr. R thanked me for my response and said he would think about it. That was last Thursday and I haven’t heard from him since. He’s been on POF and I assume he’s moved on. It’s possible Mr. R could still reach out and zero might become one…but I’m doubtful since there are plenty of female fish closer to him.

That’s the story of three to none. App-less April is here just in time.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

The Donkey vs. the Elephant: The Politicization of Dating

politicization of dating

We’d been in the Starbucks for about 15 minutes when Mr. J said, “I’m a Liberal Democrat just to get that out of the way.”

I smiled ruefully as I remembered several recent politically themed online encounters. “No worries, “ I said, “so am I.” We commiserated over the politicization of dating that is tied to the current administration. Neither one of us could remember a time when it felt as important as it does now to declare ourselves politically. This phenomenon may be particularly intense in Washington, D.C. and its suburbs.

I date across racial and religious lines but like Mr. J, I feel a need to rule out people with certain political persuasions. And this is despite being a person who is not immersed in politics or particularly likes extended political discussions. Now political disagreement tends to be more vitriolic. Anger aside, the bottom line for me is that I’d like a partner who has a compatible world view.

I know there are couples who make it work despite opposing political views. I have a theory that if you are not a zealot about your political beliefs there is a greater chance you will be compatible with a partner of an opposing view. I think this is also true for couples of different faiths. It was true for my ex and me. Neither one of us was particularly religious so we made our “blend” work – honoring both religions but focusing on one when our kids were in middle school.

You’re wondering about my recent “political” dating encounters. Perhaps the most frustrating one was with Mr. R. He lived 90 minutes away, a potential deal breaker, but he made frequent trips to my area. We carried on an extensive written chat on Zoosk. He was an accomplished artist, a major plus in my book, and I loved his work. I hoped to meet him. He suggested switching to personal email.

In his first email, Mr. R wrote, “This whole dating thing is getting more mixed up with politics…bringing the site down…have been asked to state my views on abortion, gays, etc. what??! Also bragging that they are part of the resistance…like France in WWII. What? Lots of virtue signaling with absolutely no consequences to fear…lots of big talk, no substance.” He then went on to say that he served in Vietnam and voted for the current president. Mr. R asked if this would be a problem and added “we may as well clear this obstacle now…if necessary.”

I understood his frustration but didn’t like his unexpected angry tone. I thought carefully about my response as I mourned the likely death of another potential relationship. I decided to acknowledge the difficulties but keep a channel open for a potential meeting.

After replying to a question he asked me about music, it was time to address the elephant (pun intended) in the room. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing for people on a dating site to ask each other for their opinions about things that are deal breakers for them,” I wrote, adding, “I know people of different political beliefs can have a successful relationship but I suspect it would be a challenge. Open respectful communication would be paramount. However it might not be enough if – at the core — two people have a different view of humanity and what’s right and wrong.”

I wondered about responding to his mention of serving in Vietnam. In the end I decided to write him that I respect his military service but I was marching against the war around the same time he was fighting it. It was my truth just as being a solder was his.

“Would we have chemistry and connection if we met?” I asked rhetorically, “Would that override our differences, including the geographic one? Hard to know.” I suggested that the next time he was in my area, we could meet for coffee or a glass of wine. “If nothing else, we could commiserate and laugh over the online dating process.”

Mr. R didn’t respond.

My online dating encounters include many other examples of political incompatibility…whether differences are explored online, on the phone, or in person. These interactions are just part of today’s dating zoo.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

To Volley or Not

blog pix to volley

What does it mean when a match you are communicating with on a dating site or app doesn’t volley with you? You drive the conversation and end up wondering if the guy is uninterested, only mildly interested, deficient in communication skills, or simply narcissistic.

Have some of Analida’s Ethnic Spoon gluten-free Authentic Brazilian Cheese Bread while we explore this topic.

My dance card is filled with “bad volleying” experiences including Mr. M, a Tinder match from a few months ago. He opened with “Hey there” and let me ask all of the questions. I called him out when I got fed up with his one sided approach.  As expected, he unmatched me after I blew off some steam:

blox pix opener

And as it sometimes happens, I matched with Mr. M again on Tinder a couple of weeks ago. At first, I didn’t realize it was the same man. After you have been doing this awhile, you get profile overload syndrome and start to lose track of virtual encounters. However, a few texts in I realized I was dealing with Mr. M (he obviously forgot he unmatched me) and found our original conversation in my screenshot diary.

His opening for round 2 was similar to round 1 with an added creative bonus of “How is your day going?” At least he asked me something – even if it was formulaic. Perhaps I had an influence on his behavior. As our chatting progressed, he appeared interested and asked questions about me that related to the topics we were discussing. We were having fun and flirty banter!

When I suggested to Mr. M that one of our topics might warrant a verbal discussion, he sent his phone number. However, instead of a phone call, we continued via text. From what I could tell, he worked extraordinary hours. This might have broken our not yet realized deal. However, I wanted a chance for an in person meeting. That was not to be, however, since he suddenly stopped responding. You have heard this before.

I wondered if I had somehow offended him (always a danger when engaging in banter that can veer toward sarcasm). When I realized it had been 5 days since his last text, I unmatched him on Tinder. Of course Mr. M still had my number and he could have reached out and asked for an explanation. But he didn’t.

I then revisited all of our communications to reevaluate the flirtation and what may have been weirdness and not flirty banter. Case in point: When I asked him for his age and height, he sent me every conceivable measurement a tailor might need, extraneous details such as the fact that he had no piercings, and other unusual facts. Judge for yourself:

blox pix sizing detail

blog pix sizing detail 2

At first I thought this was weird, then I wondered if he was being funny. Now, I’ll never know. Yes, I may be too lenient…but I try to give people a chance.

In another “volley” situation, I initiated a conversation with a guy on Match; he wrote back but didn’t ask anything about me. Not wanting to waste time, I pointed out that sometimes it’s hard to tell after one online dating exchange whether someone is really interested in communicating or is just being polite (yes, I know – most people don’t bother responding if they’re not interested…but some do). He wrote back to say he was interested and hoped to meet in person at some point. He expanded on his profile…but he didn’t ask me anything.

I replied. He hasn’t responded though he’s been online (a very common and frustrating aspect to online dating). Men are online and read your message but don’t respond promptly or ever.) App-less April may come a month earlier for me since I am losing patience with the online dating business.  I’m not losing hope yet: I have a meet-cute IRL opportunity coming up.  Stay tuned for details.

What has been your experience with “matches” who don’t volley initially or ever? Are there some people who can carry on a conversation in person but lose this skill when online? Who else is ready for an early App-less April?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Random Rants, Observations, and Questions

woman screaming blog pix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Attentiveness and engagement

*Profile accuracy

*Cleanliness/grooming/manners

*Chemistry with you

Would you go out with this person again?

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

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

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

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

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Hello/Goodbye: The Art of Beginning and Ending a First Date

blox pix handshake

Have you ever thought about the hello/goodbye aspect of first dates? Second, third, and beyond dates are less problematic. As you work toward coupledom, you hopefully become more at ease with each other…and, at the least, you have a better sense of what feels right in terms of greetings and farewells.

Let’s review this important aspect of dating territory while we have a lovely green goddess crunch sandwich.

Greetings on my first dates have ranged from handshakes to hugs to the man standing up and pulling out my bar stool to cheek kisses to full-on mouth kisses. On the very first date I had while separated, I walked to meet Mr. H at an outdoor café. He lightly put his arms on my shoulders and planted a real kiss…I was surprised to say the least and since it was my first kiss of post-separation dating, felt strange. But then I was a newbie.

Much, much later I was to meet a first date at a small and charming indoor “mall” filled with antique stores and eclectic shops. We arrived at the same time and met in the parking lot. It was clear that we were attracted to each other. He smiled and said, “shall we get the kiss out of the way?” or something to that effect. I was at a loss for words but nodded yes, and then he kissed me…and kissed me well so that we had a rather long greeting.

“Well, we know we’ve got chemistry,” he said, and we walked into the mall where he managed to steal kisses in the nooks and crannies of stores, an empty event hall, etc.

But an initial greeting kiss tends to not be the norm. More likely, a guy will go in for the handshake. If my reflexes are on target, I’ll try to head him off at the non-pass and give him a friendly light hug instead. I look at a handshake as a greeting better suited for a work setting – or any non-dating situation.

What’s worse in my book is a handshake at the end of the date. Unless I’m repulsed by someone (it has happened) or I’m aware that the guy is not interested, I find a light goodbye hug is a better alternative.

If there’s chemistry, that’s a whole other story. Proviso: Chemistry does not necessarily equal a make-out session. I have encountered my fair share of shy guys. Sometimes I’ll make the first move, which could be a real (not light) hug or a kiss.

I make my choice based on my assessment of the mutual chemistry and how much I want to kiss or hug the guy. In one case, after a lengthy goodbye chat next to my car in a cold parking garage, I said to my date “Well, are you going to kiss me?” He was a bit shaken by my comment (I found out later he had Asperger’s syndrome) and managed to fumble a kiss (note: his technique improved on date #2).

At the other extreme, I have offered to drive a guy to his car in another part of the parking lot just so we could have a teenage make out session. Oy! At these times, I regret my small car’s bucket seats and lack of interior space.

For those dating newbies out there wondering about the greeting aspect of the date, just go with your gut. If you’re uncertain about converting a hello handshake to a light hug, don’t stress. Just accept the handshake. You’ll have more knowledge and another chance to express your feelings at the end of the date.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

I Wish I’d Said or Written…

blog pix I wish I'd said

How many situations have you been in that called for a swift verbal kick to the other party’s butt but you were too stunned or tired to think of a retort?

Join me in some tasty and easy shrimp scampi while I stroll down a memory lane populated by bad first dates, bad dating profiles and profile photos, and bad dating email exchanges. Let’s feast upon the things I wish I’d said or written or even just flat out initiated based on the situation. Color me snarky.

When for the third time, an online match decided there was yet another deal breaker in our potential romance, I wish I’d written:

I’m looking for someone who looks for dealmakers…not breakers. Perhaps you should revise your profile to say no carpe diem.

When a first date put his phone on the table, face up, crossed his arms, and began a monologue about his boring job after reviewing his recent surgeries and other medical issues, I wish I’d said:

I can appreciate your enthusiasm for your job and the challenges posed by surgery, however, this conversation feels very one sided and I prefer to table discussions about health and medical issues until after a first meeting.

When a man wrote in the About me section of his profile, “Taller slender white female with athletic body” but left the About the one I’m looking for section blank, I wish I’d written:

If you’re a tall female, you really should change your photo to reflect that. Or perhaps you need to proofread your profile?

When I told a guy he was too far away to consider and he wrote:

August 10 10 24 pm I do travel

I wish I’d written: Say what? 

When I read a guy’s Tinder profile and it said:

sensitive parts August 10 10 15

I wish we had matched. I would have written:

I just had to say yes to such an intelligent and sensitive guy.

When I found another carefully written and edited profile:

August 4 8 21 God fearing lady

I wish I’d written: I can appreciate your religiosity, however, I’m looking for a typo fearing man rather than a God fearing lady.

When a man on Match wrote to me “Your tag name is interesting. Does it relate to the country,” I wish that, instead of ignoring him,

I’d written back to say: What country? My screen name is pretty self explanatory in terms of what it relates to. What did you like in my profile? 

When I browsed through a man’s profile photos and noticed all of them showed him with his arm around a woman, I wish I’d written:

If that’s your sister in three of your photos, you should say so.

When I read a guy’s profile and it stipulated he only wants to meet women 35 to 45, I wish I had written to him:

I see I’m too old for you based on your age preferences. However, I’m still 5 years younger than you.

When I found yet another profile of a soldier with a gun, I wish I’d written:

Is that an AK47 in your pix? Then, I’d insert a peace sign emoji.

When a man’s profile photo showed him shirtless in bathing trunks with scuba gear, one leg up in a pin-up pose (judge for yourself), I wish I’d referenced the glamour shot in my message. Oh wait, I did.

scuba glamour shot 2

scuba glamour shot response

Send me your recent retorts! Snarkiness loves company.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia