Continuing Resolutions (not the Congressional kind)

blog pix new year

Happy New Year, my single and not single friends. We’re almost through the holidays, a time that can be stressful for those without a partner.

Piled on top of singleness are the tiresome 2017 wrap-up news stories and the guides to making New Year’s resolutions that stick. I’m pretty sick of these.

Let’s talk about a different approach while indulging in baked macaroni and cheese with crunchy panko topping.

I never make New Year’s resolutions. However I do make resolutions on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Reflecting on my life and how to make it better is something I do whenever I’m feeling a surge of dissatisfaction with the status quo and an energy boost to do something about it. That might happen after a break-up.

Breakups, particularly, when you are angry, can be good for motivating you to do things. I always exercise more intently when I need to get my angries out.

I also make resolutions when I’m in a rut and need more and new people or activities in my life. I’ve lived through some lonely times and they inevitably drove me to sign up for classes or activities that would expand my social life.

I’m mulling over some next steps right now – but nothing I’m going to announce tomorrow on New Year’s Day. There are classes to think about, new meet-ups to attend, trips to plan, and solo field trips that might trigger a meet-cute.

In the meantime, I recall someone (Ralph Waldo Emerson? T.S. Eliot?) said it is the journey not the destination that counts.

I believe that philosophy and it supports a practice of ongoing resolutions. So, I raise a glass of champagne (or asti spumante, prosecco, or cava) to you, my readers: let’s be our best selves in 2018 and embrace resolutions whenever we need them. It’s a good way to keep hope.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Feeling Older and Younger

Old young blog pix

Yesterday I received emails from two men on two different dating sites: a 57-year-old from OurTime and an octogenarian (86) from Match. Only the younger one brought up age, wondering if I’d date a younger man.

Perhaps this age span makes sense, as I am simultaneously feeling both older and younger. Does that mean I’m not aging?

Join me in some 1-pot pumpkin yellow curry while I discuss.

The online dating world makes you acutely aware of your age, even if you’re gracefully ignoring this fact in everyday life. Men select their age preferences when they’re in search mode so if you’re not in their preferred age range, you won’t appear as they browse.

Each dating site has its own peculiarities regarding age selection. On Tinder, for example, the lowest age range I can select is 46, younger than I’m comfortable with, and the upper limit is 55+.

So far, I have been honest about my age on these sites but I know men and women who present a younger persona. Sometimes, they’ll reveal their true age in their profile…as if to say, now that I’ve hooked you, here’s the real scoop.

Regardless of age, here are nine ways to feel younger. I live these principles and I think that explains my youthful outlook.

*Be open to new experiences

*Engage in frequent fun activities

*Delight in everyday occurrences – nature, human kindness, animal antics

*Value friends and family

*Be optimistic

*Be interested in romance and sex

*Practice resilience; ride out rough times

*Be active every day

*Live a relatively healthy lifestyle

Despite these principles, I feel older in various ways – some good, some bad. Some you would not choose to have.

Nine examples of feeling older:

*Living with new aches and pains

*Experiencing age-related health issues

*Realizing the limits of a life span

*Feeling frustrated and pessimistic about finding one of the ones

*Observing age-related physical changes to face — damn that harsh lighting

*Observing age-related physical changes to body (despite exercise). Thank God for Spanx

*Being more bold and outspoken (in some cases where I decide I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore)

*Feeling more capable (experience can result in competence)

*Recognizing that time on this planet has helped me figure life – and myself – out.

On a good day, feeling younger wins. I might have an exciting dating possibility or I’m looking forward to a new experience, or meeting a new friend. On other days, I wake creaky, stiff, and sleep deprived, and wonder if I’ll ever have a significant other again.

Some days I’m a mix of both: creaky but happy about seeing a beautiful sunrise. Perhaps those “mixed” days are the definition of middle age.

Until next week, enjoy whatever age you feel…and happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

Diary: A Week without Dating Apps

blog pix week without dating apps

Monday morning:

I deleted all of my dating apps and hid my profile on the dating sites I belong to. Feeling both free in a good way and strangely untethered in a bad way. To motivate myself, I made a schedule of activities for the week. The hope is that I will get out of the house more and possibly meet men in real life. Oh foolish heart.

While working on this blog’s social media pages, I experience what can only be described as online dating withdrawal.

I have various random thoughts and questions such as, “If there were no apps, would I ever have any dates?”

Wednesday morning:

I woke up from a strange dream in which I meet an attractive older man in a friend’s group house. The setting seems to be a mishmash of my early college and current days. I’m unsure about the meaning of the dream but I think it must have something to do with worry about a lack of romantic possibilities.

Yesterday I tweeted an article from Bustle about a young woman who has been app-less for a year. She recounted the things she missed about online and app dating. After two days, I could relate to all of them except the one where she longed for the ability to immediately ask out and meet a guy she matched with on a dating app.

Although some of my online encounters rapidly progressed from messaging to an in- person meeting, the man initiated them. Sometimes I gently pushed a guy toward a meeting, but I haven’t opened with, Hey you want to meet for a drink? Perhaps I should. Just to see what happens. My guess is that given her younger age, the writer of this piece has done better than I would if I went offline for a year.  She likely has a bigger “single” social circle and more professional connections compared to a single, retired woman of a certain age. But I’m just speculating.

With no apps or sites to check, no emails to write or respond to, I have more time for other things. I’m reading more and per usual I tend to read fiction about relationships and romance (not romance novels per se – though I enjoy them too). I discovered Laurie Colwin, a delightful writer who sadly died much too young. I devoured Happy All the Time and now I’m thoroughly enjoying Goodbye without Leaving. Of course, reading doesn’t get me out in the world…so perhaps I’ll finish the book at a café or coffee shop.

I realize that a week without online dating is not enough to fully plan activities where I might meet someone organically. I signed up for an archery Meet-up that’s getting together Saturday but it looks like the members are in their 20s and 30s. It won’t lead to any romantic possibilities but that’s okay.

Wednesday evening:

I felt better this afternoon…but evening brings on feelings of loneliness. Where are the phone pings that someone winked at me or sent me a message?

Thursday morning:

Another weird dream night – nothing about men per se and now I can’t even remember the story…but obviously an app-less week is affecting my subconscious.

I receive an email from Hinge that someone likes me and his picture is not bad. I wonder if I should go back on Hinge briefly to check the guy’s profile and possibly respond to him. I ponder whether that would be cheating on my app-less week. Then I notice Hinge sent the email at 2 am. A late or middle of the night “like” is often a signal that the man lives in another time zone, possibly in another country. So I decide to “hold” for the moment and not break this online dating fast.

I receive another like from someone on OurTime. Notifications from this dating site don’t include photos of those who like or message you so I’m not tempted to go online. Holding fast to my fast.

I hope to make it to an art museum tour this afternoon. I’ve heard this can be a good way to meet people. At the least, I will increase my knowledge about art and get out of the house.

Friday morning:

I missed the tour so I ended up wandering around Georgetown and the waterfront. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was good for my soul. I didn’t meet anyone but enjoyed the afternoon.

I confess that late last night, I semi-cheated (briefly) on my dating fast with a quick Tinder check related to a previous match with an attractive man. Although he lives 160 miles away, this guy visits his adult son who lives not too far from me.

The man said he would reach out next time he comes into town. Since it’s a holiday week, I thought I should reinstall Tinder just to see whether he had contacted me through the app. You guessed it (possibly): There was no message because he had unmatched me. After a couple of accidental super-likes, I delete the app again.

Saturday morning:

After seeing that the archery Meet-up is now filled with 7-to-10 year olds on spring break, I decide to cancel and go another time.

I’m looking forward to the end of this fast. I plan to go back online tomorrow rather than Monday as originally planned…still it’s a full 6 days without online dating.

You may be wondering about my rationale for breaking the fast one day short of a week. Sundays are typically the best days for connecting on the dating sites and holiday weekends also have more activity. Holidays bring out the urge to connect. A lot of people feel nostalgia for past celebrations and yearn to once again be part of a family or relationship “unit.”

Perhaps the lesson from my app-less week is that it’s okay to get back on the sites and apps since despite their problems, they give me hope. The key is to supplement the online world with real life activities and to check the apps less frequently.

Two years ago (I cringe as I think of how long I’ve been doing this), I tried to limit my online dating check-in frequency without much long-term success. I’m convinced that this April’s dating app “fast” is a better transition to healthier online dating behavior – similar to the way a food fast retrains your appetite so you are more satisfied with fewer calories.

At the same time, I plan on binging tomorrow.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

The Uncertainties of Online Dating

blog-pix-candy-store

Here’s what I don’t like about online dating. Eat this yummy white bean kale salad with tahini dressing while I tell you about it. In a typical encounter, you exchange texts or emails and possibly a phone call with Mr. X. You meet one evening for drinks. You both seem to have a good time and appear to like each other.

The next morning (or even later that same night), Mr. X sends you a text saying, “I had a nice time” or “That was fun.” This first post-date text may or may not mention getting together again. If he does not ask you out and you see that he’s online on the dating site, you are thrown into turmoil.

Perhaps you are online mostly to see if Mr. X is online…but you also received a “like” from a guy and you’re curious. When you find that Mr. X is also online, you immediately feel you are in competition with whoever else he’s “viewing” or messaging. You imagine he has found your replacement! The reality: You don’t know what he’s doing and, like you, he may only want to see if his new romantic interest – you – is online.

Now imagine a pre-online dating world. In this version of the first date encounter, Mr. X phones you to say he had a nice time.   Yes, he (and you) might encounter other potential romantic interests but finding these matches requires more deliberate effort. Neither you nor Mr. X has an always open in your living room candy store filled with others looking for romance. And it is this candy store that causes you to stress out as you imagine your guy binging on an excess of sugar.

In the pre-online dating world, you might want to date others and may be already dating others while you figure out who is the one (or one of the ones) but your process will be more deliberate. It will take more effort. In this universe, there’s a greater likelihood you’ll continue to focus on each other exclusively until you’re certain it’s working or not working.

Back to today’s world. Until you’re in a committed relationship, you stress when Mr. X is online, or changes his profile picture, or even temporarily removes his picture (why?).

Over time, and with enough false relationship starts, you may get more blasé as a defense mechanism. You don’t curb your enthusiasm when you’re with Mr. X but when you’re alone, you try not to hope as much; you limit your daydreams. Only when he gives you a clear sign that candy means nothing to him, do you let hope back in.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

First Dates

blog post high heel sneakers

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about first dates. This is not unexpected because I have a lot of first dates. And I don’t mean I have a lot of dates… just a lot of FIRST dates. Obligatory sigh.

Do you get hungry after reading the lead paragraph of my posts? If you are a faithful reader, you have been conditioned to expect a mouth-watering recipe at this point. So, enjoy a bowl of tortellini with snap peas and pesto (with or without the mint) while we discuss first dates. And, if you’re not a faithful reader, sign up!

There’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in a first date and a lot of inner monologue that takes place.

I’ve had a few dreadful first dates, a number of boring/mediocre ones, and some good and great ones. The irony is that a great first date doesn’t necessarily lead to a great second encounter, let alone a dating relationship.

It’s always fun to review the bad first dates…even when they’re not #10 on the horrific scale.

I recall a date with Mr. A, a nice but unbelievably boring man, I met for a drink after work. As a naïve new divorcée, I agreed to meet Mr. A despite our rather lackluster phone call. I should have known that struggling for conversation on the phone is a likely predictor of a painful first date. And painful it was. We ended up in a conversation loop about our kids, his new retirement, my hoped for retirement. No chemistry. No pizazz to the conversation. Only the wine made the brief date tolerable.

At the 45-minute point, I realized I was starving. The smells of pesto were tempting me. Mr. A asked if I wanted to get some food. I couldn’t imagine sitting there for another second. So, despite my grumbling tummy, I said I needed to walk my daughter’s dog. In fact, my canine care services were not needed that day.   I hated resorting to a white lie but could not think of an alternative and kind excuse.

The next day I was surprised when Mr. A emailed me to ask me out again. Was he unaware of the awkwardness and poor connection? This time I was direct and said I didn’t think we were a match.

One other bad date sticks in my mind. I met a Mr. B (I can’t remember his name so B is for Bad) at Politics and Prose for a lunchtime date. When I arrived, Mr. B was at a table drinking a coffee. After I greeted him (oh, disappointment – he was much older and much shorter than his profile and photos indicated), I asked, “Have you eaten?” “Yes,” he said. “Well, I didn’t have lunch so I’m going to grab a light bite,” I replied.

He didn’t offer to get me something or even wait in line with me. Yes, on a first date, I like that (though I always offer to pay half of whatever the joint bill is). So, given his age, height, and lack of chivalry, I didn’t have much hope.

When I returned to the table, we chatted (cocktail party get-to-know-you conversation) but he kept checking out every woman who walked by. Not that I wanted to lock eyes with him but I found it annoying and disrespectful. When I learned during the conversation that he had 7 cars I was even more annoyed that he hadn’t offered to at least pay for my tea. You can call me old fashioned in this regard.

Mr. B and I had nothing in common and after a painful 35 minutes, I said I needed to leave to prepare for a dinner party (a half–truth since I had company coming for dinner but plenty of time to prep).

And then there are the good first dates. He looks good. He looks better than his pictures. He smiles and is engaged. There is obvious, easy chemistry and connection. Conversation flows. He hasn’t yet revealed himself to be a narcissist.

He knows how to kiss – discovered at the end, possibly the middle, and sometimes at the very beginning of the date. He might rub your feet (yes, this happened), you might go to a second venue just to extend the evening (at his request), or you might go for a drink and then a walk.

You might be asked for a second date at the end of date #1 or you might be asked the next day. The date might last 3 hours or it might last 6.

The first date might be the beginning of a relationship or just the beginning of a short dating interval until it is clear that he’s not the right one. Regardless, it’s a good or great first date.

So, dear readers, hope for the best when you’re putting on your high heel sneakers in advance of date #1. Yes, on a scale of 1 to 10, it could end up being a zero but it might be a 20.

Anything can happen.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Burned out to Somewhat Hopeful

blog woman profile

I was prepared to title this post “fed up with dating” but at this moment I have possibilities and, therefore, a smidgen of hope.

I need to be pampered. Will you cook for me today? I made this recently and loved it: baked cod and potatoes with mustard horseradish sauce.

It’s been a bleak season and by season I mean months and months of going on first and second dates and maybe third dates or no dates and endless sifting, reading emails from non-prospects, cutting off scammers, emailing and messaging prospects, with a few phone calls thrown in.

Over the past year, I changed my tactics, revised my tactics, tweaked my profile, added professional photos to my profile, read articles on dating, started and even finished some books on the dating process, attended dating webinars, met with a matchmaker out of curiosity, and wondered if I would have to change the title of this blog to reflect my current situation and mood: Burned Out and Bitchy.

At various moments, I agonized over my age, my appearance, and the dating pool (seems more like a puddle sometimes).

So, as it sometimes happens, just when I thought I was going to have to change religions and enter a nunnery or Buddhist monastery, there’s action…or at least positive movement.

Could this shift be explained by the universe’s appreciation of the fact that despite my frustration, I haven’t given up? Examples of perseverance:

*I signed up for new activities – to enrich my life, not just to meet men

*After a period of not sending the first email, I decided to be the initiator again. Why the hell not? Personal mantra: Be tough when rejected and remember I am rejecting many too.

*I continue to blog about dating, an emotional challenge when I’m not meeting anyone (send hugs, please)

So now, at this very moment (because all can change in an instant), I am corresponding with two men I e-mailed first: Mr. P, who presents a geographic challenge, but suggested meeting halfway between our houses for lunch and Mr. C. who I contacted on the basis of our similar tastes in music. I also matched with Mr. J on Coffee Meets Bagel and Mr. B on JSwipe. On these last two dating apps, a “match” means you both like each other.

And, as I predicted, Mr. C may no longer be in the picture (a theory based on the 24 hour break I took from writing this post). Sometimes it’s hard to know if a guy is still in the picture or just takes his sweet time responding. So perhaps Mr. C is a slow responder…or not.

I have been in this situation before – enjoying a bonanza of prospects who, for various reasons, are gone within a matter of day or hours.

Back to the hope issue. Other than my possible prospects, two things gave me hope recently:

*I was introduced to a couple that met in their late 50s as a result of the woman initiating contact on OkCupid. They have been an item for several years now and seem very happy. The hope quotient for this example increased because the individuals are “older” and the woman made the first move.

*I attended the first installment of a dating seminar given by online dating coach Damona Hoffman. It wasn’t just her positivity that inspired me. She also had concrete tips and tactics for navigating the modern dating scene and finding love. I’ll visit some of these tips in a future blog post.

Today, in my moment of hope, I’ll leave you with Hoffman’s advice to adopt “an abundance mindset.” Like many of my friends, I am sometimes guilty of having a scarcity worldview, believing that “there are no good men where I live.” Part of the solution, says Hoffman, is changing your criteria – whether it’s height, distance, or something else. She’s not advocating that you ignore your deal breakers or must- haves, but being flexible is important.

As for me, I “widened the pool” by joining many dating sites and apps and going to more real-life activities. My personal homework and challenge is to expand in-person activities and venues even more. This requires a daily B for Bold vitamin.

What’s your challenge?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

An Odd Affliction plus Dating and Non-Dating Adventures

blog tango

It’s early evening and I’m reflecting on this past busy week while sipping wine with a straw. No, it’s not a new trend in drinking and in case any horrified sommeliers are wondering, my straw is not even made from glass. Excuse me while I digress and delete the profile of a God-fearing scammer who just messaged me. Just like swatting mosquitos.

Before I tell you about my week and explain the wine with a straw, let’s share some Passover-themed matzo brei . I like to add chopped fresh spinach or chard to the mixture before cooking. Have some wine too. Straw optional.

Dating Adventures 

Since this blog has a focus on dating, I’ll start with a review of current dating prospects. On Tuesday, after deleting and reporting two Coffee Meets Bagel scammers, I “matched” with Mr. A, a real life non-scammer! He sent a clever opening question and we bantered a bit (my favorite) while I skillfully directed our conversation to an in-person meeting over a glass of wine (no, this is not the straw story).

We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses, which is why I’m pretty sure Mr. A is a real boy! Man, that is, though he is younger. Since Mr. A’s email address is his name, it was easy to Google him. His pictures and profile lined up. We’re meeting this week.

If you know me, please don’t ask me about this date. Mr. A could revoke me before we meet or we could have a one-date relationship. I’ll tell you IF/WHEN there is anything worth reporting. Even if this date goes nowhere, I’m enjoying a feeling of HOPE.

Other dating prospects fell by the wayside due to catfishing/scamming, illiteracy, religious dogma, height, and one-sided Bumble interrogation. With the BUMBLE dating app, if both parties like each other, only the woman can initiate a conversation. The man I matched on Bumble this week responded to my initial message but didn’t ask me a question back. So I served a couple more times; he wouldn’t volley. He answered my questions but failed to ask one thing about me – or even comment on my profile or photo. So finally, feeling angry, I asked him what he liked in my profile. After a day, he responded: reading, music, and cooking. I was tempted to say, “Are you the strong, silent type or do you just have trouble typing on tiny phone keyboards?” Instead, I asked, “Do you like those three things too? What type of music do you enjoy?” I’m waiting for a response. I may have to use my strong, silent line if this goes on much longer. I am losing patience.

Non-Dating Adventures

I am classed out (not outclassed, you snide ones). Last Sunday, I went to my hip-hop dance class. Yes, I’m the oldest in the class and have to temper certain moves based on orthopedic issues but still, there’s nothing like channeling your inner Beyoncé once in a while. I call my version, Twerk Lite.

Then on Tuesday, I tried out a beginning Tango class with a female friend. The class consisted of two couples; my friend; an advanced female student helper; Sergio, the Argentinian teacher; and me. When Sergio partnered with me, he came up to my mid-chest. Not the stuff of romantic dreams. Height aside, I found tango more challenging than hip-hop.

On Wednesday, in an effort to improve my pathetic swimming skills, I test-swam a swimming instructor. I’m not sure we’re a fit since she had a very unique way of doing the free style. It may be so unique as to be unheard of in swimming circles. Still, it was a nice reminder of the joys of swimming and the coming summer season.

My final class of the week was Spanish.   No body movement in this one – other than to furiously rifle through the text to check an answer in anticipation of being called on. It’s a déjà vu experience to be in a Spanish class again after so many years. Most of my classmates are in the boomer age range. For the first half dozen classes, we felt nervous and confused (also because the teacher is not that good). Now, we’re more confident and, just as important, we laugh and enjoy an easy camaraderie.

The Kicker of This Story

¿Por qué estaba bebiendo vino con una paja? (Why was I drinking wine with a straw?). I overdosed on chewing gum and lemon. An odd combination but I was trying to curb my appetite and eat lightly and found myself chewing packs of gum and putting extraordinary amounts of lemon juice on enormous salads. The combination of the acidic lemon and the sweet gum gave me what can only be described as a nasty inflamed taste bud. Hence, the wine with a straw.

What I’m really worried about is that, when I meet Mr. A this week, and should the mood be right, I won’t be able to kiss him properly.

Now, that would be a hardship.

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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia