The Lost Art of Smiling

blog pix smiling potato head

I was searching for a parking space in the lot of a wine store last weekend when a man walked by on the way to his car. He looked directly at me and smiled in an appreciative way – a good and true smile that included his eyes. I smiled back noting his attractiveness. Several cars followed me so I quickly turned into the next lane to land a parking space. By the time I had parked, there was no sign of the smiling stranger.

I wished I had arrived at the store 20 minutes earlier. Perhaps the stranger and I would have met in the Italy or New Zealand aisle. It’s not as exotic as meeting in another country but at least we would live in the same country.

This brief encounter – not really an encounter – struck me as unusual. Why? Because it seems that a lot of the men I pass on the street, or in the gym, or in the grocery store, or at the pool are suffering from the male equivalent of resting bitch face or RBF.

Let’s explore this while eating the Barefoot Contessa’s lobster potato salad.

I rarely encounter a man who purposefully smiles at me. Now admittedly sometimes a male stranger might catch me in resting bitch face mode and would not consider smiling at my unhappy looking countenance. However, even when my facial expression is truly neutral and not intimidating, my quotient of smile receipts is fairly minimal.

I seek more chance smiling/eyes meeting encounters where a bold person might even initiate conversation. Why are these encounters so rare? Part of the problem – and you probably guessed it – is that everyone is looking at their phones or texting or talking on them. So, men are not tuned into their surroundings, which might include a tall woman of a certain age who has specifically put on make-up and skinny jeans to run a boring errand in hopes of having a meet cute.

Two other reasons: Like women, men are both stressed out and in a hurry. They’re often overscheduled and run from work to the gym to happy hour to home and so on. So they forget to stop and smell the lilac perfume of that same woman walking confidently down the street.

Back to the resting bitch face issue. As mentioned above, despite the word bitch, men also suffer from this affliction. One writer describes the male version as resting dick face (RDF), which I find hilarious and a great term. Scientists have found that a “resting bitch or dick face” shows minute signs of contempt even though the affected individuals are not feeling contempt. If you observe a person in the RBF or RDF mode, you will likely feel uncomfortable and my guess is you won’t smile at that person.

So what can we single ladies do about this phenomenon? As I have written before, we can make a concerted effort to get out of RBF and smile. And how should we handle an encounter with a man with RDF who is not looking at, texting, or speaking on his mobile? Consider accidentally bumping into him (unless you’re driving) and apologize profusely while smiling. It just might lead to a meet cute.

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

When Endless Texting on Tinder Paid Off

Maui

If you’re on any of the online dating sites or apps, you know about the problem of endless texting. The keyboard crush is the modern version of the pen pal.

Some guys (and apparently some women) prefer to extend the written conversation to such an extent that there is little chance of a real in-person meeting.

About a year into online dating I reached my threshold for this type of interaction. Now after 8 or so texts and/or a week or two of time, I encourage or initiate a real life meeting/date. I need to know if there’s chemistry and connection. All too often a great written or spoken communication does not translate in real life.

There’s a young Tinder-matched couple having fun with extended texting. Of course they haven’t invested a lot of time or energy into their “relationship.” You may have heard about Josh Avsec and Michelle Arendas’ story, which has been featured in the media.

Enjoy some of my Fenwick Island Corn, Cheese and Egg Stovetop Custard (recipe below) while I summarize.

Josh and Michelle, both Kent State University students, matched on Tinder in 2014 and exchanged 11 messages up until this month, with increasingly funny excuses for their delayed responses.

Then Josh tweeted about it:

Josh twitterJosh Avsec‏ ‪@Wes_03 Jul 7

Hahahaha one day I’m going to meet this girl and it’s going to be epic. Look at the dates of our tinder texts.

Josh tweet re Tinder

Josh’s tweet went viral and over 12,000 people retweeted it. Word got back to Tinder and the company offered to send them to a city of their choice for their first date.

TinderVerified account @Tinder

It’s time you got together IRL. You have 24 hrs to decide the city you want to have your first date in and we’ll send you there! @mch_rnd

They picked Maui and thousands of interested onlookers are waiting for the date to happen. Many in the extended peanut gallery are hoping for a wedding in the near future.

That’s a lot of pressure for a first date, which can be stressful enough without worldwide interest.

I hope Josh and Michelle’s real life meeting/date goes well.

I have a feeling they’ll take it in stride – just like their extended keyboard crush. And perhaps that’s the lesson in their relaxed and humorous exchange: Have fun with these sites and apps.

I’m not going to attempt to mirror their 3 year journey but I think I’ll try to foster a more laid back attitude as I deal with the craziness of the modern day romantic search.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Nadia’s Fenwick Island Corn, Cheese and Egg Stovetop Custard (Warning: like all my recipes – instructions are seat of the pants with flexible ingredient amounts based on eye/feel)

(What to cook on a beach vacation when you have a conglomeration of leftovers and 6 people to feed)

13 free range eggs

¾ to 1 cup of milk (I used organic 2%)

5 ears raw white fresh-from-the-farm corn on the cob

1 red pepper, chopped

5 Campari tomatoes sliced thin to create a single layer in the pan

1 or more cups of finely grated Monterey Jack cheese

Beat eggs and add 3/4 to 1 cup of milk. (Note: Judge amount of milk to use by the color of the mixture. It should be a pale yellow but not so white that you can’t tell there are eggs in it!)

Stir and season with salt. Cut raw corn from cob and sauté in olive oil in an 11” sauté or fry pan. After a few minutes, add chopped red pepper. Sauté for a few minutes and layer the tomatoes over the veggie mixture.

Cook 2 minutes.

Pour the egg/milk mixture over the vegetables and cook covered very slowly at low temperature until half set. Sprinkle the cheese over the top (enough to cover the mixture) and continue to cook slowly until the custard is set. For a future version, I think I’ll add 1 to 2 roasted sweet onions.

Enjoy with whatever side dish you can create based on the state of your vacation frig! We had pasta with bottled sauce. A green salad and garlic bread would go nicely with the custard. Serve with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

 

 

 

Resuming what Never Started

blog post pix july 2

They’re coming out of the woodwork…No, not termites – though some of these men are bugging me.

Curious? Taste this Spanish gazpacho while I satisfy your curiosity.

These are not men I was in a relationship with. These are the guys I emailed or messaged for a period of time but never met or met and very briefly dated.

The latest to reappear, Mr. V from a Tinder match, texted me on my Google Voice number this past Tuesday, 4 months after my last text to him. He continued his usual witty banter of “Happy insert day of the week.” Yes, I’m feeling sarcastic at the moment.

Blog text insert July 2

He attached a picture and appeared to have put on weight and a beard. When we matched, he had recently moved to the area and had a new, very busy, job with a crazy schedule. After several texts, I got tired of him not having time to move things forward. I also realized we had very little in common so I was fine when we stopped corresponding.

What’s interesting and kind of creepy is that he sent me the same message on Plenty of Fish (POF) – and we had never been in contact on that site. I wasn’t in a mood to respond to Mr. V and send another “sorry I realized we’re not a match” email so I blocked him on POF and also blocked his phone number.

Had I felt more of a connection with him, I might have renewed the correspondence but I just wasn’t feeling it.

And then there was Mr. R. I had not corresponded with Mr. R but I had a crush on him. I winked at, “favorited” and messaged him on several sites – with no response. Then, unexpectedly, we matched on Tinder. I was surprised and wondered if it was a mistake that he would quickly rectify by unmatching me. He didn’t unmatch me but neither did he make the first move. Feeling fed up, I was tempted to delete him rather than send another possible futile message. My ego is not immune from bruising! A friend advised me to just go forward and send Mr. R a message since there could have been a number of reasons why he had not responded before that had nothing to do with me.

So, I put myself out there once again. Mr. R answered but did not respond in kind to my witty banter. His profile said something about having his shots for rabies and distemper so I made what I thought was a clever comment/question but he ignored that and instead sent a nonsequiter that stopped the flow.

I waited a day and then decided to ignore his reply with a generic “excellent.” He replied with what would be his only question or comment about me: “What do you do for a living?”

Now, my profile says I’m a writer…so he could have commented on that or asked, “what type of writing do you do?”

Also, there’s something about the phrase “do for a living” that bugs me. It’s more crass than asking about someone’s job. I prefer to not ask about a man’s work as my initial query. It puts you on that boring Q and A tract of basic questions. I like to have a little flirty fun at the beginning, before moving on to the following essentials:

*Where do you live? (on Tinder that’s critical)

*Are you divorced?

*Are those YOUR twin 5 year olds?

I answered Mr. R and told him I was retired and now write for myself. I followed up with a specific question about his photography career. His passion for photography consumed the rest of our e-conversation. He never brought it back to me and failed to respond to my last comment. I gave it a couple of days and unmatched him. It felt good and I was totally cured of my crush.

There have been some other “out of the woodwork” examples, including a guy I met for one brief date. I left after one drink. It was clear I wasn’t interested and yet he started viewing me again as if that date never happened. Then there was the guy who messaged me ad nauseum before we finally scheduled an in person meeting, which he then cancelled because of work. Now he’s viewing me again. Sigh.

Online dating is often a feast or famine proposition – whether it’s men from the past coming out of the woodwork, new matches reaching out, or nothing happening at all.

I’m just trying to hang in and keep up hope.

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

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @60sdating

Men and the Lost Art of Subtlety

blog pix art of subtlety man with roses

Guys don’t always get the importance of subtlety.  This failing can prevent them from achieving their dating goal – whether it ends in the bedroom or the altar.

Join me in some not subtle but yummy early summer greens goddess salad as we examine this situation.

I started thinking about subtlety after a recent exchange with a guy on POF.  I introduced Mr. X in my recent post about being stuck in a back pocket, the zone where a man’s interest diminishes and you are left hanging, wondering if you’ll hear from him again.

Mr. X lives in New Jersey and I thought I would jump start our 9 month erratic conversation by suggesting that we meet halfway between us – in Philadelphia – for lunch. Somehow I have never visited Philadelphia – other than passing through on my way somewhere else. So I figured if the date went sour, I could be a tourist and not call the whole outing a failure.

Mr. X didn’t respond to my suggestion for a couple of days. I assumed he had back-pocketed me and put me in the “no try zone” of forgotten online matches. So I was surprised when I saw an email from POF saying I had a message from him.   Feeling a bit ignored and annoyed, I waited a day and a half to read his message:

And there lies the crux of the problem. If I was going to Philadelphia for lunch, I would want to know that I was having you for dessert.  

Now you see my point about subtlety. Certainly it is a possibility that we might both order dessert but by putting it out there as a requirement, Mr. X ruined both the romance AND the possibility. He turned a potential romantic encounter into a transaction rather than a natural meeting/date-whatever you want to call it.

How could I give him the promise of dessert when we had never even shared an appetizer, let alone had a phone conversation* or actually met in person?

This type of exchange has happened to me online and on dates on numerous occasions. When a man jumps too quickly and aggressively beyond the chase to the “conquest,” and bypasses the romance, he ruins the chances of what might have been.

Mutual chemistry and true interest might advance things but to treat an encounter (whether still online or in real life) as a transaction ruins the romantic flow.

Mr. X will never know that we might have had a fabulous dessert in the City of Brotherly Love. I never responded to his email. Deliberately not subtle. Sometimes doing nothing is the strongest message you can give.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

*I would not have travelled to Philly without having a phone conversation first.