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

 

 

 

My Brain on Line

question mark

Wouldn’t you love to know what a guy is thinking when he views you on a dating site or app — particularly after you’ve sent him a message and he doesn’t respond but keeps coming back to take a look?

What is going on? Does he not like the carefully thought out question or comment you may have sent? Or are you just not his type? Then, why the view? To tease or boost your ego?

You can’t make sense out of a lot of what happens online.  And there’s usually no point in trying to figure it out.

I may not be able to read the minds of my matches and translate them for you …but I can share what I think when I swipe or read someone’s profile.

Join me in some sweet corn polenta with roasted tomatoes and avocado while I convey my thought process during recent reviews of dating profiles.

In some cases, I’m deciding whether to begin or continue corresponding with a man who has contacted or viewed me or to be proactive and reach out to a promising match. To protect the usually guilty, screen names have not been revealed. And despite my best effort, I sometimes can’t help but wonder what a guy is thinking.

Match #1:

Hmmmm, way out of my league. Kind of cute in a grandfatherly way but I’m just not into history or politics to the degree that he seems to want. Why does his profile read like half of a resume…but the other half is nice?

Continuing with the negative, he comes across as arrogant since he mentions how smart he is in an indirect/direct way. I don’t like braggarts or egomaniacs.

Sounds like he enjoys a nice lifestyle but that’s not enough. I guess some women would go for him but I can’t force myself to like someone for his great house or wealth. Plus, he seems to be perfect in everything! Give me a little humility please.  I’ll just have to pass.

Match #2:

He sent such a lovely note…oh, no, he’s 80. That must be a decades old profile photo. Sorry…no.  Kind of cool that he’s still trying at 80. Just saying.

Match #3:

Cute even if balding., tall enough, nice profile for Bumble…similar interests…Yes, I will swipe right.  Sad that he’s swiping from the airport-wonder if he lives here or is just passing through.

Match #4:

Another Bumbler. He looks active from his photos but there’s no written profile. Without a profile, I swipe left unless a guy knocks my socks—and various other things – off.

Match #5:

Another airport swiper on Bumble.  What gives? Are flights cancelled on this beautiful day?  One pix and his face is not visible. No profile.  Swiping left.

Match #6:

Damn- 6’5” on OurTime and a nice, profile with heart. Some of the same interests…a little younger.  All good. I’m writing to this one and suggesting we meet for a glass of wine.  Update: he responds, we exchange messages, and talk on the phone.  Not the best pre-meeting phone call I’ve ever had but willing to meet him to see if there’s chemistry.  However, haven’t heard from him in 2 days. This one bites the dust.  And it bites.

Matches #7 and #8:

Both Mr. A and Mr. B on Zoosk have one extreme close up head shot each and no other pictures. Mr. B also has travel and nature photos, which I find annoying unless the man in question appears in the photos.

I ask both for more photos. I explain to Mr. A that I have been “burned” before by guys with limited pictures who are deliberately hiding their true appearance (makes no sense to me as the gig is up if we meet).

Mr. A understands, explains that he is not photogenic and writes that he will try to look for more pictures.  Mr. B says he realizes he has loaded lots of travel photos and not enough of him. He adds that he’s in a work crunch but promises to load more.

Neither A nor B adds any pictures but both keep viewing me.  Have they misrepresented themselves? Lazy? Perhaps both are just “not into me” enough to put in the effort?

Match #9:

Nice looking and tall: check.  Intelligent: check. Well written profile that gives a sense of the man: check.  Retired and active, a volunteer, athletic, shared interests: check.  Looks good!  Oh, no, where is Mechanicsburg?  Pennsylvania? Sigh. Too far away.

Lightning round:

Conservative. No. No. No.

Ten years older than his pictures.  No.

Separated.  No.

A foot shorter than me.  No.

He’s my age and has two children under 10. No. No. No.

He is recently widowed.  No.

Profiles and pictures do not a person make…but sometimes, that’s all we have as the first decision point in the marathon of romance.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Irreconcilable Differences in Dating

blox pix august 6 couple by water

Like many online dating interactions, it started out as promising. We “liked each other” on Zoosk, a site that has given me many possibilities but — so far – has not led to a relationship.

At first match, it was the distance that gave us both pause. I thought geography might be the deal breaker, but it turned out to be something rather obscure and weird.

Intrigued? Stuff your face with a generous portion of black sesame noodle bowl while I dissect the latest online encounter.

Mr. P’s description of his waterside life, his sense of optimism, and his love of family, cooking, physical activity (a senior Olympics competitor), and overall carpe diem philosophy appealed to me. As a bonus, he’s 6’4” and pushes my “attractometer” buttons.

I was worried that his profile did not mention any cultural, musical, or artistic interests but figured I would probe for that. I started fantasizing about living on the river. On the somewhat negative side, he’s 5 years older than me. I focused instead on the fact that he’s in excellent shape and lives a healthy lifestyle.

In his first message to me, Mr. P brought up geography issues. On a good traffic day, we live about 90 minutes away from each other. He said he was willing to correspond and potentially move forward if I was. As mentioned, I was already mentally kayaking in front of his house (he wrote he had 2 kayaks) so I said, “I’m willing to carpe diem if you are.”

We continued corresponding — moving off Zoosk to personal email. I learned we had a work connection (from my pre-retirement life) but his focus was on something I found fairly boring and technical.

Mr. P sent me pictures- of his front “water” yard and some of his 7 grand children (he has 4 children). He promised to send more family photos.

At this very early stage of interaction, I wondered if there was too much about kids and grandkids. I wanted to know more about him. I decided to redirect the focus and asked him what kind of music he listens to when cooking and whether he has any favorite hangouts for live music.

Here’s his response (verbatim with casual punctuation left intact):

“You might find this strange, I forget to listen to music, I never listen to music while driving since it distracts my thinking…I am always thinking about business opportunities, my mind never stops. Being a bit ADHD makes me more of a one track thinker. When I do listen to music I need to focus just on the music….I must admit I like a lot of the current music, but don’t listen since it distracts my thinking. I am not a multi tasker, Whatever I am working on, I must simply concentrate on that, not that and music. It works out to be an advantage, since I can come up with some awesome solutions/conclusions.”

I was concerned about his comment that he is always thinking about business. I could (somewhat) understand what he was saying about not being able to multi-task but I couldn’t imagine a partner who forgets to listen to music since he’s so focused on generating business ideas. Mr. P didn’t answer my question about his favorite live music hangouts, which made me think that wasn’t important to him.

My dream of a waterfront life started to feel like it might be a rural nightmare with limited cultural opportunities (pause for dramatic emphasis).

Then Mr. P asked, “When driving with someone, can you talk to them?” I thought that was an odd question but answered, “Yes, I can. How about you?”

His reply: “Tough question, I can drive and talk, but add music and it gets too much. SO maybe this is a killer…best to know now before we waste too much time…what do you think, I like efficiency.”

I was taken aback. The fact that this was on his mind was almost as strange as the reality of the question.

I replied that, rather than killing this potential relationship, why couldn’t we stay “in limbo.” I suggested we refrain from emailing but one day if he happens to be in my area, we could meet for a glass of wine to discuss this deal breaker.

The notion that driving and talking with music in the background would be a “killer” seemed crazy to me. I had to get on my soapbox. I wrote him: 

“I find online dating such a ‘reverse’ way of getting to know someone compared to the old fashioned in-person way. For example, we end up getting more information than we would if we met at a party. In the online world, both parties make judgements without the benefit of chemistry and body language.”

I wished him well. Later that evening, he replied:

“Happy hunting, we will never know what we might have missed, but then again the unknown is rather sexy me thinks.”

Hmmm, I’d rather have the known. It’s clear that, after a 24-hour flurry of emails, Mr. P is not the one.

I’m going to go multi-task now and listen to music while exercising and reviewing the saga with Mr. P. I won’t be thinking about business. Wait, have I ever thought about business?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

A Single Gal’s Friday

blox pix woman vacuuming

It’s Friday about 1 p.m. and I’m cleaning the house in between giving myself both a manicure and a pedicure (the clear polish I’m using signals low anticipation of my date tonight). The mani-pedi specifics determine the level of interest I’m feeling for a pending first date.

Clear polish indicates the lowest level of excitement (unless I’m in a clear polish phase). A salon mani indicates a relatively high level of interest and a salon mani-pedi combo is the equivalent of …well, let’s just say my hormones are geared up. Men, don’t worry, this post isn’t all about manicures.

Sit down and have some of Jose Andrés’ gazpacho while we analyze Friday’s timeline.

Let’s back up from the mani-pedi/house cleaning frenzy to the day’s beginning:

6:00 a.m.: I make coffee and read the Times on my iPad. I’m distracted from the latest Administration fiasco by wondering whether Mr. D, the guy I’m supposed to meet that evening, will confirm our date or fade away. Our last communication was 3 days ago so I’m not sure of the status. As you may recall, I’ve been burned before.

9:20 a.m.: Showered and dressed, I’m packing up my stuff for the gym when my phone beeps that I have an email. Yes, it’s Mr. D, confirming our 5 p.m. date and saying he’s looking forward to meeting me. E-mail has been our primary form of communication. We haven’t spoken on the phone though we have exchanged cell numbers. I no longer require a pre-date phone call and, as it turns out, it wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome.

9:45 a.m.: Working out – it’s cardio day and I’m taking a little break from swimming to give my arms a rest so I pound away on the low impact cardio machine while listening to tunes on RockMyRun.

10:45 a.m.: Run errands, none of them relevant to the dating life. No meet cutes to report but a yummy taste of fresh bread from the local bread store.

11:30 a.m.: Back home for a lunch of that gazpacho.

Let’s return to the cleaning/home nail salon activities. Here’s the deal with cleaning my house before a first date. Although I have never brought someone to my home at the end of a first date/meeting, lately I’ve been cleaning my house “just in case.” Just in case I meet someone who stirs up so much mutual chemistry that we must end our evening at my house. So I vacuum, clean the bathrooms, hide any evidence of my blog, and turn on my bedroom’s ambient lighting (eclectic electric lamps and candles). Somehow this exercise, even though I know it’s likely futile, makes me feel better – like there’s a possibility of romance and sex and who knows what else.

The reality is, since my divorce, first dates haven’t led to this outcome…but one never knows and I think I may be at a place (and at an age), where the pluses of such an encounter might just outweigh the potential minuses.

3:00 p.m.: I shower, reapply my makeup, and totally change my planned outfit for this evening – opting for black jeggings and a silky top (more casual than my original choice of a black skirt/blouse combo).

Mr. D suggested I choose our meeting place. I picked a laid back bar/restaurant. I try to mix up first date locations for the wait staff’s sake as well as my own. I base the choice of a casual or more formal venue on my sense of what might work best with a particular man (of course I have to like the place too).

4:45 p.m.: It’s raining like crazy as I drive to our date – slight butterflies, but mostly trying to maintain hope that this, my 100th give-or-take first date, will be a good one.

5:00 p.m.: I pull into the parking lot – right on time. Before I open the door, Mr. D calls me on my Google Voice number. Our first conversation – and it’s to tell me he’ll be 15 minutes late since he forgot his phone and had to return home to get it. Sigh. I tell him I’ll meet him inside. At least he doesn’t have a thick accent from his home state of New Jersey.

5:15 p.m.: It’s still pouring rain and I’m sitting in the last booth by the bar. I’m drinking a happy hour white wine, checking my phone for any updates from Mr. D, and looking at every single male who walks in the door. There’s a man who looks 80. That better may not be him! Phew, he keeps walking.

5:30 pm.: Okay, he’s now officially 30 minutes late and I’m trying to be calm. The waitress, sensing my frustration, tells me that rain and flooding are impacting traffic. I take another sip of pinot grigio, respond to a text from my brother, and note that there’s absolutely no one of interest sitting at the bar.

5:36 p.m.: I see a man enter the front door. He’s unattractive, definitely not 6′, walks rather stiffly, and appears to be wearing a “company” work shirt.  Oh, good, he’s leaving…wait, he’s taking out his cell phone to make a call. Yep, my phone is ringing. I tell Mr. D where I am (he apparently doesn’t text as I had sent him a text with my whereabouts) and he lumbers over to the booth.

Sigh. I would never have guessed that the man before me is the same one I’ve been communicating with on OurTime. Ladies, and gentlemen, I’m sure you have faced this situation before. You try to hide your utter disappointment at the disconnect between someone’s profile photos and the flesh and bone person in front of you. You have two choices: make the best of the situation or be a total bitch/dick, make an excuse and leave immediately. I try to make the best of it and stay for at least 30 minutes. I can talk to most anyone for 30-45 minutes. I draw on my journalism training and ask questions.

Mr. D is at least a nice man and makes an effort to get to know me. I stay for almost an hour (remember I waited 30+ minutes for him) but decline a second drink or any food. Side note: I’ve learned to not order food in these situations. Inevitably, the conversation stalls and you still have to eat/wait for the bill, etc. Mr. D plans on having another beer. He refuses my offer to pay for my wine and stands up to shake my hand (!) as I prepare to leave. Our height disparity is clear. “You’re tall!” he says. Yes, I think, as I remember that his profile promises a man who’s a full 2 inches taller than me.

6:45 p.m.: Home. Eating a sandwich made with bread from the bread store, and glad I don’t have to eat with Mr. D.

8:30 p.m. Looks like a Netflix night. It’s the premiere of The Incredible Jessica James and I’m loving the opening scene with actress Jessica Williams being brutally honest with a first Tinder date. Nothing like a funny movie to help soothe your disappointed heart.

9:30 p.m. My phone beeps with an email from Mr. D. (He definitely doesn’t text.) He writes that he enjoyed meeting me and hopes to see me again. I’ll email him tomorrow to say: I enjoyed meeting you too but, sorry, I don’t think we’re a match. At this moment, I’m more interested in what happens to Jessica.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

An Advance Marketing Approach to Dating

blog pix July 9 cupid

You’ve gotten the emails or seen the commercials. Get ready for fall now… but it’s only June. Buy school supplies instead of a new bathing suit. You barely step into one season before the advertising barrage and decorations thrust you into the next one.

What if romantic pursuits took place in a similar fashion?

Suspend reality and let’s see what the world would be like if advance marketing took over the mating game. Have a real lunch of Federica’s Rigatoni with Tomato and Basil while we imagine.

You’ve just scored a promising online match with an attractive guy. Take charge and get ahead of the game! You know what’s coming. So don’t reply to his first message. Ghost him before he ghosts you. It’s all about being forward-looking.

You arrive at the bar for date/meeting #1 with Mr. Hot Stuff. Why wait for an end of date kiss? Seize the moment and pounce on him as he walks over to introduce himself.

It’s the end of date #2 with Mr. Hot Stuff (he apparently liked your exuberant first date greeting). As you discuss your plans for date #3, he asks, is there anything in particular you’d like to do?

Not one to be stuck in appreciating the thrill of the early stages of a romance, you suggest hiring a limo so you can travel in style to potential honeymoon venues by the beach. You tell him that great deals are to be had with advance planning. Surely, he’ll appreciate such a forward thinking and thrifty woman.

Somehow, despite your unusual behavior, you and Mr. Hot Stuff tie the knot. The wedding reception is still going strong, but why not pick your divorce lawyer now and lock in her hourly rate?  Twenty-five percent off if you don’t have kids.

It’s a good thing you locked in that rate. The divorce was tough but you have done the work, feel healed and ready to date again.

You signed up with a new dating app called ooOo and have a first meeting/coffee date scheduled with Mr. Cute Scientist. I need to up my advance game, you think. Several days before that first date, you visit your gynecologist for an STD screening test. Your plan: bring the (assumed) clean bill of health to Starbucks. As a biologist, he’ll appreciate my forward thinking about safe sex, you muse, and who wouldn’t love a woman with advance marketing skills?

Unfortunately, Mr. Cute Scientist is appalled by your tactics. Undaunted, you believe his reaction was an anomaly and feel confident that most men will appreciate your forward and forward thinking approach.

As you dress for date#1 with Mr. Tall Midwestern, you put on the elegant white I can wear this to my wedding suit you’ve had in your closet for months.

You realize that sometimes advance marketing has to be subliminal. So you rock the white suit with a low cut emerald green blouse but you don’t tell Mr. Tall Midwestern the outfit’s intended purpose.

Sometimes you have to temper an anti-mindfulness approach to dating with subtlety.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

You Know You’ve Been Dating Online for Too Long When…

blog pix june 24

Whether you’ve been online for 6 months or 6 years, had 10 or 100 first dates, and progressed to assorted numbers of second dates and actual relationships (short or long term), you may reach a point where you are tempted to give it up.

Possible triggers include a heinous ghosting episode, an increasing lack of suitable partners, or the propensity of many men to window shop as a way of life.

Join me in some Turkish chickpea burgers as we review specific signs that you may be at or have already reached your breaking point:

You’ve been online too long when:

*You can remember the early days of Bumble when there was only one worker bee available.

*You have saved and checked enough photos on Google Image Search or Veracity mobile image search to fill an FBI most wanted file.

*You know that when a man says his age is 60 but he’s willing to date women up to age 75, he’s actually 76.

*Similarly, you know when a man says he’s 6’ tall, he’s actually 5’8.”

*Checking the online dating sites every morning and night is as mindless as brushing your teeth but without a guaranteed reward like a healthy mouth.

*You immediately shut down any guy who asks, “How long have you been on this site?”

*Being “favorited” is now one of your least favorite things, because it usually means you have been bookmarked and soon forgotten.

*You know not to take a man at his word when his profile says he likes to listen as much as talk.

*You have a new lexicon of dating terms: breadcrumbing, ghosting benching, swiping, etc.

*Dating terminology starts to affect everyday speech. When someone asks, “Do you have a match?” you don’t search through a drawer, you start to daydream about the guy you reached out to on Match.

*Your main reason for acquiring new Facebook friends is to increase your ‘stable’ of possibilities on Tinder, Bumble, and other Facebook-based apps.

*You immediately know when there’s a new guy on one of the dating sites because you are so familiar with the membership.

*Your inner editor is working overtime to correct such spelling or proofreading gaffes as “love the autdoors.”

*The bartenders at your favorite first date spots know what you’re drinking before you order.

*You’ve been filmed kissing dates goodbye on so many parking lot cams, that attendants are bringing popcorn to the security reviews.

Ranting aside, online dating – despite its many frustrating and time consuming aspects – continues to be a viable way to meet a romantic partner.

Hang in, continue to pursue real life interactions, and take it all with a grain or two of salt on your margarita glass.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

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