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

Dating Life Snow Daze

blog house in blizzard

Baby, it’s cold outside, #Snowzilla/Jonas has begun, and you’re stocked up on food, toilet paper, and wine, beer, or spirits. In between binge watching your shows and tweeting about the accumulation, take advantage of a mostly captive online dating audience.

Not only do you have a chance to interact with all the new “recruits” who signed up in early January but also more people will be housebound and surfing the dating sites this weekend. So go forth my daters and hang out online.

For once, meeting in the wild (unless you’re shoveling next to a cute neighbor), is not even on the table. Speaking of “the table,” put this yummy roasted vegetable lasagna on yours – unless you have no power, in which case, enjoy your peanut butter sandwich.

Snow bunnies, here are my dating life suggestions for this weekend:

  • Be current. Refresh your dating profile headline with a weather-related invitation or challenge. I changed the headline on all of my dating profiles to “Snowball fight in DC this weekend?”  This question is a great opener for a guy who has run out of good introductory messages. See my previous post for some pitiful examples of hello e-mails. Since I posted my snow headline two days ago, my online traffic has risen. No winners yet but the weekend isn’t over.
  • If you haven’t updated or refreshed your profile(s) recently, take a few minutes to revise. Try to be creative – think of a guy’s profile that made you laugh or impressed you. Can you use it as inspiration and modify yours?
  • Remember that guys are visual creatures. Do you have any recent photos you can upload to your profiles? Or, perhaps you can take a cute selfie of you playing in the snow – or falling on your butt.
  • Sign up for a new app, or a general or niche-dating site you haven’t tried before. Here are my reviews and ratings of three sites/apps I recently signed up for:

*Star Trek Dating I love Star Trek and science fiction so I figured this would be a great site for me. I made a Star Trek specific profile, adding in fun stuff about replicators, Klingons, and the Borg. Unfortunately, no one else on this site seems to have any interest in Star Trek or science fiction. And no one has any fun with the concept. Few men are in my geographic area and the ones who reach out are more alien than human.

Now that my free trial is over, I can’t see the photos of those who view me. I can send a free message but can’t read messages unless I pay. Since I haven’t gotten any exciting prospects, I don’t feel like getting out my credit card. Grade: C

*Stitch Despite the name, this is not a site for sewing fiends. This site/ app is an online “community” established to help mature people age 50+ find companionship, whether it’s a new friend, a romantic interest, or an event buddy who could accompany a member to a movie.

You can join Stitch for free which allows you to browse 3 profiles a day and chat with members. A full membership costs $80 a year and allows for direct messaging, identity verification, greater control over search distance, and other features.

I have been diligently reviewing my daily free profiles and “stitched” or mutually matched with one man who lives in NYC. If two people want to connect with each other, they are “stitched” and notified of the mutual interest. I wrote to my stitch; he wrote back and said he might visit DC in the future and perhaps we could meet.

Aside from Mr. NYC, I have not been interested in any of the men whose profiles I have reviewed and most of them live far away. Grade: C+

*Tastebuds Who wouldn’t love a music-oriented dating service? I thought this was a great idea. This free dating site and app allows you to create a profile based on your favorite music artists and songs.

In the future, the founders say they will help members connect through festivals, gigs, and music meet-ups. I can’t wait.

My biggest problem with Tastebuds – like so many of the apps – is that there are not enough members in my area. It is interesting to scroll through the members from all over the world, and I might try to connect with some of them on my next European adventure. Unfortunately, for everyday dating, the pickings are slim. Grade: B for concept.

  • Take a good look at your wardrobe and pre-select some good first date outfits. Group them together in the closet so if you get an impromptu invitation, you won’t have to agonize about what to wear.
  • For future reference, make a list of all the good places to meet for a first or second date – whether it’s restaurants with good happy hours, wine bars, places that have late night happy hours, coffee shops with a good vibe, and anything different like an ice-skating rink or a new exhibit at a local museum.

Stay warm and safe!  Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Put your Best Face Forward: Get a Professional Photo

Abraham Lincoln had a point when he said, “There are no bad pictures, that’s just how your face looks sometimes.” But do we really want to show a prospective match that face? That potential mate won’t be as forgiving as a friend or relative who knows you look better in person and — even if you don’t — loves you anyway.

From the day I created my first online dating profile, I realized the importance of posting a good photo. When I signed up on a couple of dating sites, I carefully selected what I thought were flattering photos taken by relatives.

I even used a photo taken by a guy I dated. He ghosted me inexplicably after 3 months. Only after I emailed him to ask why I hadn’t heard from him in a week, did he tell me he wanted to break up. As revenge, the very next day after he dumped me, I loaded a photo he had taken of me onto a new dating site. I was angry more than upset and my approach was: new dating site, new profile, and new photo.

Over time, I changed my main photo and after a few months both added and deleted pictures. The idea was to keep things fresh and as current as possible.

But recently I started thinking about having a professional take some photos I could use for dating profiles. After interviewing dating coach Erika Ettin, who advocates the use of professional photographs when possible, I decided to bite the financial bullet and go for it. I took the advice offered in her book Love at First Site: Tips and Tales for Online Dating Success from a Modern-Day Matchmaker and opted for an outdoor shoot.

Before I tell you more, let’s break for a lovely celebration of the summer season by enjoying Bon Appetit’s grilled shrimp salad with corn and avocado.

The photographer I chose, Joe LeBlanc with Ars Nova Images, also suggested shooting outdoors and we went to a nearby park. I have to admit that when you are over 29 as I am :), natural lighting can take 10 years off of your appearance. When I compared the test shots taken in Joe’s studio with the outdoor test shot, it was easy to go with the outdoor location.

Joe took about 300 photos (so quickly I couldn’t even tell it was that many) and he posed me in several settings in the park. I ended up with some dynamite natural-looking portraits. Sorry I can’t share them with you as Nadia continues to travel incognito on this blog, but I can share the results.

After loading the best photo onto my sites (Match, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, How About We*, and Bumble*), I sat back and waited for what I hoped would be an uptick in views and messages.

It took a few hours and then shazam, incoming! It wasn’t a torrential downpour, but a reasonable summer rain of men. It’s been two weeks since the new photo was posted and I’ve had two dates and more e-mails, views, “likes,” “favorites,” etc. than before.

I haven’t met “the one” yet, but I’m certain I have improved my chances.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

*More on my experiences with these two dating venues in a future post.

Dating Rules, Kismet, and Timing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXOOO

Nadia

View from the Trenches: Advice from a Dating Coach

(c) www.PhotographyByAlexander.com
(c) http://www.PhotographyByAlexander.com

When I heard about dating coach extraordinaire Erika Ettin, founder of A Little Nudge, I thought she would be a great resource for Dating, Sex, and Life in your 60s.

Erika helps her clients with the world of online dating: writing a unique profile, composing emails that get answered, choosing the best photos, and planning dates. She also offers date coaching to clients.

Erika has a background in business and economics. She applied her professional and people skills to achieve great personal success with online dating. Since starting A Little Nudge, she has worked with hundreds of clients who have gone on to date confidently, marry, get engaged, or enter a relationship.

Let’s relax and learn from an expert while enjoying grilled halibut with mango/avocado salsa.

What is the best way for a 60-something woman to meet a man? Is it online?

As I tell all of my clients, there isn’t a best way to meet someone. There are many options—online dating, singles’ events, classes, groups. The important part is to put yourself out there in some capacity, online or otherwise.

Do you have any recommendations for meeting men in the wild?

Be approachable. Oftentimes, a man wants to approach a woman, but her nose is in her phone, or she has a scowl on her face. The best way to attract someone is to smile and show that you’re open to meeting new people. Men get scared, too!

What is the single biggest complaint you have about online dating from women? From men?

Bad pictures!! I recommend 3 to 5 photos—at least a clear headshot, a nice full-body shot, and a photo of you doing something interesting. In addition, make sure you’re alone in your photos because the last thing you want is for someone to compare you to your friend or family in your own profile. And NO MORE SELFIES!

Is there anything you would do differently now if you were dating (based on what you have learned from your business)?

Have a list of about five non-negotiables and beyond that, give people a chance.

Do you ever “match” your clients?

I do! I have what I call “matchmaking mixers” to get my clients together. It’s always a well-attended, fun time! I’ll be holding another one in DC in June!

What do you think about matchmaking services?

Some are great, and some are not so great. Try to get recommendations from others who have used the matchmaker to see if they were satisfied.

Do you have any tips for writing a great profile?

http://www.alittlenudge.com/2013/02/he-likes-me-for-me/

http://www.alittlenudge.com/2013/03/the-curse-of-the-empty-adjective/

What are your tips for the first date? What if the first date is not spectacular? Should you see him again?

Start with just drinks or coffee (no dinner!) to see where it goes and if you have some rapport. Also, it’s important to go into a first date with no expectations. Simply having a good conversation should be considered a success.

I tell my clients if they’re on the fence about someone to give it one more date. More here:

http://www.gatherthejews.com/2013/11/whats-the-whole-point-of-dating-gtj-dating-series-with-erika-e-no-78/

http://www.alittlenudge.com/2011/03/the-rule-of-two/

How should one handle corresponding with 2 or 3 guys at once? How long can a woman date more than one guy?

This is a personal preference and everyone feels differently, but generally, the point of dating more than one person is to find the one who you like best. Once you do that, there’s no need to keep seeing the others. Don’t just see them as a fallback plan, because that means you’re already assuming the outcome of the one you want to pursue… and it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

How can one keep from losing hope?

I do recommend taking a break if you’re feeling jaded… just as long as you get back on the horse. And, as hard as it seems sometimes, remember that it only takes one. 

Is a man who has been married 2 or 3 times someone to be wary of? What about a never married man? Should a woman stay away? 

Everyone has a story, and nothing is black and white, so rather than making generalizations about people based on their prior marital status, I would hear the story and then use your judgment. 

Do you have clients in their 50s and 60s? Do you have any particular advice for women in this age group/stage of life?

Sure do!

http://www.jdate.com/jmag/2014/06/the-five-things-to-keep-in-mind-when-dating-over-50/

Can you share any photo advice? Should one invest in a professional photo?

Check out: http://www.alittlenudge.com/2012/03/a-pictures-worth-a-thousand-words/

If you proactively reach out to a guy, is it a good idea to comment on what you have in common or does that look desperate? Should a woman reach out first? Don’t men like to pursue?

See: http://www.alittlenudge.com/2013/05/online-dating-email-etiquette/

Desperate? Not at all! What man wouldn’t be flattered when a pretty lady reaches out to him? J

What if you find out before you meet that a man lied about his age in his dating profile? Should you address it before you meet or during the first meeting?

I generally do not recommend too much “research” before you meet your date, however, I know as well as the next person that, if given enough information, people are going to do their due diligence.  If you do, in fact, find that your date has lied, first decide if you’d still like to meet this person.  Ask yourself if the lie was too egregious, if you think he’s lying about other things, if he had a good motive, etc.  (For the record, I never recommend lying about one’s age.)

Now, if you do decide to go on the date, it’s up to you whether you want to address it or see if it comes out organically.  If you think it’ll eat at you the entire time, preventing you from enjoying yourself, then bring it up.  He’ll have no more right to be upset with you for bringing it up than you have to be upset with him for doing it in the first place.  But ask with some tact.  Rather than, “Why did you lie about your age?” which will put him on the defensive, instead perhaps say, “Since I had your info, when I looked you up, I noticed that your age differed a bit from what you posted online.  It made me feel a bit uneasy, so I just wanted to address it.”

Are there any games worth playing? Is it important for a woman to play it cool, not be too available?

The long and short of it: No games! We’re all adults, and the mature ones will appreciate that you’re straightforward with your feelings.

Are the “rules” for sex any different for 60 year olds? Do you think baby boomers are having sex any earlier in a relationship?

Just as with a 20-something, 60-somethings all go at their own pace. Go at a pace that’s comfortable for you, and that will differ for every two people. But, it is extremely important to build a foundation with someone before you go too far in the bedroom because once you start having sex, it’s harder to go back to learn about this person’s ins and outs.

Should women lie about their age to compensate for the age bias that exists?

Nope. A lie about your age (even a small one) starts out a relationship on the wrong foot. And it makes your date think, “What else is she lying about?”

Thanks to Erika for providing this guidance! Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia