Anatomy of a Brief Encounter with a Catfisher

cautious-heart

The Bumble alerts provided the first clue that something might be fishy (as in catfishy) with my new Bumble match. Although his profile said his name was Bill, the alerts referred to him as Evans. I filed that away in my increasingly dating- weary brain while I juggled playing “let’s get to know each other” with impersonating Nancy Drew.

Let’s chow down on some shrimp scampi while reviewing the evidence.

As soon as I matched with Bill last Saturday morning, I followed the Nadia Standard Operating Procedure (NSOP) – a reverse image search of all of his photos on my phone using the Veracity app. There were no matches but that didn’t mean Bill/Evans was legitimate.

We texted and I learned he was a widower. As I’ve written before, catfishers/scammers often say they are widowers. I filed this second piece of evidence away.

After I got another Bumble alert announcing a message from “Evans,” I decided to ask this guy for his last name.

Side note: Lately I have been asking for the last names of any guys I suspect might have a false profile. The men always give me a name (real or not) that I can then research. So far, every suspect dude has turned out to be a scammer that I then report and unmatch.

Dear readers, if you’re unsure about a guy and decide to ask for his last name, here’s a suggested script in case he asks for yours: I’m asking for your last name for safety and security reasons but I don’t give out my last name until after I have met someone in person. If the guy makes it an issue, I say good riddance!

Back to the story: Bill gave me his last name – and it wasn’t Evans. I now had a full name to search. I was particularly motivated since Bill wanted to know what led to my late-in-life divorce. This is not a question to be addressed via text before you have met someone.

I searched Bill’s full name and immediately found his Facebook page – with one of his Bumble profile photos as his main — and only — photo.

Here were the final pieces of incriminating evidence: Bill’s Facebook page was virtually empty except for the one photo, which was loaded a week ago. Where does Bill live? His Bumble profile said Arlington, VA (a suburb not too far from me). Facebook, however, showed his location as San Francisco. The only personal information about Bill was his marital status – widowed — and his employment — “self employed.” There was no mention of the job listed on his Bumble page. Bill had only one Facebook page like – a media company called, Faith, Family America (this would be enough to turn me off regardless of his status as a catfisher).

My work was almost done. I reported Bill to Bumble and unmatched him (after taking a few screen shots of our exchanges to use as notes for this blog post).

It was only 1 in the afternoon but I felt the need for a glass of wine.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Dating Roundup: Tips and Tricks

 

blog woman thinking

It’s time for a dating roundup: tips to make your dating life easier.

Help yourself to some arugula blend salad with pomegranate dressing while I share my latest dating hacks and suggestions.

Set up alternate profiles (without pictures) on all of the sites you are on.

This won’t work for Facebook-based apps such as Tinder or Bumble but you will find it immensely helpful for traditional sites such as Match, OkCupid, and Plenty of Fish. First of all, having an alter ego will allow you the freedom to browse any profiles you are interested in without your “target’s” knowledge. Bonus: you won’t have to pay for premium private browsing.

By the way, “private” isn’t really private on OkCupid. I’m constantly seeing fleeting glimpses of guys who think they are hidden when viewing me. Hidden is not totally hidden and, if you’re online, you will briefly see the voyeur with his screen name.

Your alter ego’s profile should be somewhat similar to your “real profile” but not so similar that one would guess it’s the same person. Change the age by a couple of years, change your height slightly, choose a different eye color (remember you won’t have a photo), and pick a nearby city within your desired geographic area.

The advantage of not creating a drastically different profile is that it will increase your chance of matching with some guys you will like. You will get some of the same matches as your real profile but will also receive some new previously unseen matches. If you’d like to contact these new guys using your real profile, just search for them by user name.

I find it interesting and curious that some men will write to my alter ego even though I don’t have a picture. There’s hope for the male population after all!

Log into your dating sites if it’s cold and rainy

It may be obvious but more guys are online when the weather outside is frightful – even if they’re watching a game while checking their dating apps.

What to say to your Tinder or Bumble match when there is zero information in their profile:  

Suggested message:

Since you didn’t have any info about yourself or your interests in your profile, I hope you won’t mind if I ask you “the elevator speech” question.  I think it’s easier than 10 back and forth texts.  If we were in an elevator and you had 20 seconds to tell me about yourself, what would you say?

How to reply to an 88-year-old man who asks you out:

Thanks for the invitation. You’ve got a great profile but I don’t think we are an age match. Good luck.

How to reply to a 20-year-old man who asks you out:

I don’t date men younger than my children.

What to do when you need new dating ideas:

Look at upcoming or past activities of Meetups even if you’re not a member (unless the group blocks viewing by non-members). You’ll find lots of good ideas from people who spend time coming up with activities. In addition to trying one of the activities on a date, consider joining one of these groups.

What it means when a Tinder or Bumble match’s location changes drastically:

When a match’s distance from you changes from 15 miles to 5500 and then back to 15, it usually means he’s a scammer operating on the other side of the world. He just hasn’t figured out how to alter his location to be consistent. Just Google: how to change your location on your phone (or on Tinder) and you’ll find a number of hacks.

Unless this location-shifting guy is really a big-time international traveler (and he might say he is), chances are he’s not legitimate.

My latest scammer on Tinder said he was in South Korea on business as a marine engineer. See my previous post on dating scams. Engineering is a favorite occupation of catfishers.   And of course, these guys often say they are widowers.

What to say (via text) to a Tinder or Bumble match you haven’t heard from in several days (unlike traditional dating sites, you can’t tell if a Tinder or Bumble match is online):

Hi,

Thought I would say good morning and ask if you’d like to continue corresponding. I’m a straight shooter and I appreciate that in return.  So my bottom line is I enjoyed getting to know you a little bit and I’d be happy to continue with a goal to meet in person.  However, if you think we are not a match, for whatever reason, please let me know and I’ll “unmatch” you on Tinder.  No hard feelings either way!

Personal note regarding this message: I sent this exact message today and I received a response within 10 minutes. Mr. M said he has been swamped at work and would like to continue getting to know me and to meet and see where “it” goes from there. Hope springs eternal!

Do you have any tips, tricks, or insights into the dating life? Let me know!

If you liked this post or past ones, become a subscriber to Dating, Sex, and Life in your 60s. This blog loves subscribers.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

What if Rude Online Dating Behavior Transferred to the Real World?

Blog picture fisherman

Sometimes I feel like Lawrence Ferlinghetti when he wrote I am Waiting. Although instead of “waiting for a rebirth of wonder,” I am waiting for the tsunami of rudeness and irrational behavior so common in the online dating world to spread to the real world.

What if the social mores of Plenty of Fish, Tinder, and Match became so ingrained that men and women started to behave like their dating profiled selves?

Suspend all notions of the universe for a few moments and enter an alternate reality that hopefully will never come to pass. Your fuel for this journey? A beet bean cheeseburger.

Scene #1:

I’m walking down Connecticut Avenue, a major thoroughfare in Washington, D.C., when I stop to peer into the front window of a trendy bar. It’s 5 p.m. and happy hour is in full swing. At the bar, men stand 3 deep – a mug of beer in one hand, a large freshly caught fish in the other. How can this be? No nearby waterways, but perhaps they went fishing in the Potomac? They look eerily like the hundreds of profile photos of men with fish. At least these guys have their shirts on.

Scene #2:

I spoke too soon. I’m outside of Union Station and a horde of shirtless men exit from the 8:30 a.m. red line car. They’re walking proudly, cell phones on in selfie position – beer bellies all shined up for the office. Oh, dear, I’m going to be ill.

Scene #3:

It’s small business Saturday and I’m in Politics and Prose hoping the Obamas will show up like they did last year. This bookstore is a great venue to try to meet men in the wild. I’m here — why not go for it?

I head to the fiction section and stand next to an attractive man. He picks up a book I just finished reading. “That’s a great book,” I say, “one of my all time favorites.” He looks at me briefly and goes back to browsing. No comment, no smile, no nod. Nothing. I was proactive. I was ignored.

Scene #4:

I’m at the newly reopened Renwick Gallery entranced by Leo Villareal’s installation of LED lights suspended from the high ceiling. An attractive man who is also awestruck by this piece strikes up a conversation with me.

We chat for a few minutes and then he asks if I’d like to continue our talk over coffee. “Not just yet,” I say. I reach into my purse and pull out my OkCupid dating questionnaire. “Do you believe this country would be safer if everyone owned a gun?” I ask. He looks at me dumbfounded. “Yes, I guess I do,” he says. “Are you almost always on time?” I query. “Usually,” he says with a strange look in his eyes. “What about bathing and teeth brushing? How often?” I ask. He answers, albeit uncomfortably, and I proceed to ask several more questions.

After a few minutes, I say, “Sorry, I won’t be able to continue our talk. You don’t meet my criteria for an ideal man. Good luck with your search.” I walk away. He’s been rejected.

Scene #5:

“What a great party,” I say to the hostess, my good friend Lily. “You invited such an interesting mix of people.” Lily smiles and suggests I go talk to Jack, her old college roommate. I head over to the food table where Jack is filling his plate.

“Hi Jack. I’m Nadia, Lily’s friend from college. We met a couple of years ago. How are you?” I ask. Jack winks. He continues to fill his plate. I try again. “So Jack, I heard you work at NPR now. How do you like it?” Jack looks at me again, smiles, and winks…but doesn’t say a thing. He steps back from the table, pivots, and walks toward the bar. He stops midway, turns around, winks at me again, and continues on to the bar.

I’ve become a recipient or “victim” of the fruitless wink, a wink that doesn’t lead to conversation or even an email. It’s just there. And you never know what it meant.

Scene #6:

I’m at a concert this evening. I’ve got my friend posse with me because I expect my ex to be there. We both enjoy the same music so I have to be prepared. Yep- sure enough, there he is. And he’s heading over my way. Come on ladies, crowd around. Yay – he’s been blocked.

Scene #7:

After six fantastic dates, I think Max might be “the one.” He calls or texts me every day and we have plans to see a play the next weekend. I decide to shop for a new dress to wear to the theater. As I exit my favorite boutique, I see Max exit the Apple store. I walk quickly over to him. I’m seconds away from giving him a big hug when he turns away and scurries into Macy’s. My mouth drops open. I’ve been ghosted.

Let’s hope these scenarios remain a figment of my imagination. To help ensure that rude and irrational behavior does not transfer from the virtual to the real world, support good dating manners:

  • Don’t wink or favorite someone unless you want to correspond with and possibly meet him or her. “Bookmarking” a match for possible future correspondence is not fair to that person. Get a notebook.
  • If someone writes you a nice, thoughtful e-mail, don’t ignore it. Reply.
  • If you decide you don’t want to date someone, let him or her know. Don’t disappear without a word.
  • Be picky about who you date, but don’t go crazy with questions and checklists. A checklist cannot determine chemistry.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Dating Sites and Apps: A Rodeo Roundup

blog pix online-dating

It’s early Sunday morning (really early – before sunrise) and I’m sipping coffee, reading my latest OkCupid email. What a lovely note from a cultured man but he lives 2,384 miles away in Vegas, is 4 inches shorter than me….and he’s 86 years old.

You have to give him credit for desiring intimacy and going for it. And perhaps I’ll take him up on his offer of a road trip to see the Southwest…but it would be a friends-only no benefits excursion.

Before I pack my bags for Vegas, it’s time for a rodeo roundup of recently tried dating sites and apps. There’s a chill in the air so let’s have some cioppino to warm our bellies.

I tried to come up with a theory about why I like or dislike various sites and apps. Thoughts swirled around and I had a vague notion of why some of them worked better than others. My theories jelled after reading Maureen O’Connor’s recent article on dating apps in New York Magazine’s The Cut column. As she wrote, “We choose our dating apps the same way we choose bars, parties, coffee shops, concerts, and everywhere else we go with the vague hope of finding a mate – based on the people.” According to O’Connor, “the make-or-break factor in whether you stick around to flirt, or clam up and leave, is the crowd.”

My successes and failures with various sites and apps are certainly crowd-based. I hated eHarmony because the eHarmony folks picked the wrong crowd for me: they were boring and unattractive, and they all lived hundreds or thousands of miles away. To top it off, the site gave no option to scroll through and select guys I wanted to communicate with. I could only view men preselected for me.

Ms. O’Connor’s article presents a quick summary of the populations she encountered on 15 dating apps. Different users will, of course, see different crowds based on their profiles and search preferences. I tried some of the same sites/apps but my “crowd” is composed of older guys in a different location. Interestingly, in some cases, I must be getting older DC-area versions of the younger guys Ms. O’Connor found in NY.

Here’s my rodeo round up of sites and apps I tried, including a “senior” dating site geared to baby boomers and a couple of niche dating sites.

My assessment of online dating venues is based on whether there are a good number of dateable guys who are attractive, educated, and interesting; whether the men reach out and contact matches rather than just viewing them; and whether the site has a lot of scammers and fake users.

Dating Sites and Apps Round-up:

Match: I continue to find “dateable guys” seeking relationships on Match and they have the largest subscriber base of all of the sites so this one’s a keeper even though I receive a greater volume of inquiries on some of the other sites.

OkCupid: This used to be my favorite site and I have had a couple of 90-day relationships from matches on this site. However, lately, the site seems to be overrun with scammers, fake users, and strange guys. I’m not giving up on Ok but it’s gone down a notch on my list.

Plenty of Fish: I like this site and have had a number of dates from fish in this sea. No winners yet but at least the guys are dateable and reach out.

eHarmony: see above. Grade: F 

JDate: My matches did not appeal and the guys did not seem to reach out as much as men on other sites.

OurTime: At first I loved OurTime, a site for those 50 and over. The users are active. They reach out frequently. However, too many of the guys are not appealing or educated and none of my conversations resulted in actual dates. I deleted it after a few months.

Ebony and Ivory: My foray into this niche dating site was a bust and I have stopped using this site. I was seeking ethnic variety but I was presented with mostly older, white dudes out of my geographic area. The “personal” emails I received were generic bits of profiles. The one time I wrote to Customer Service, I received a canned response to my complaint about geographic incompatibility.

How About We: Hardly anyone is on this site and no one appealed. The concept is clever: you suggest a date idea and an interested party can respond to that idea or suggest an alternate one. There’s also a nice feature that says you’re available to go out that night.   I never received a “match” for the “go out that night” feature. The only date I had was with a widower who acknowledged he was not ready to date. I’m no longer a member.

Bumble: As a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, I was immediately intrigued by a “feminist” dating app. Created by one of the co-founders of Tinder, Bumble’s “shtick” is that only women are allowed to initiate contact with a guy. I like the idea of women being in control. I am proactive on traditional sites/apps, but prefer to have men make the first move on these platforms. On Bumble, I feel freer to be the pursuer.

I was worried at first that there wouldn’t be enough men my age on Bumble. And that appears to be the case. I haven’t received many matches and the only date I scheduled was with a younger man who cancelled at almost the last minute due to a work crisis. I’ll keep using this site but due to the small number of matches I’m getting, I feel like the likelihood of my finding someone is the equivalent of a needle hole in a haystack…or perhaps a tiny bee in a big hive. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Tinder: I have to give credit to Karen Yankosky of the Women of Uncertain Age podcast for inspiring me to try Tinder. Apparently Tinder is not just a hook-up App. Women and men can – and do — indicate they are seeking a relationship, not a one-night stand. So I bit the bullet a few days ago and quickly and easily created a profile.

Both Tinder and Bumble pull your public info from Facebook. Only your first name shows up on the App. If you feel nervous about exposing your Facebook info, you can follow my example. I pruned the public info on my profile. There is nothing in my Facebook profile that a stranger could use to identify or find me.

In addition to pulling information and photos from your Facebook profile, Tinder displays your location information and age. If you like someone, you can swipe right or select a heart. If you don’t like the guy, you swipe left or select the big X. If two people swipe right, they are both alerted by the app that they like each other and can start messaging. There seems to be an endless supply of men on the app (many of whom I recognize from other dating sites). I have my first Tinder coffee date set up for next week.

I love Tinder. It’s addictive. I especially like the fact that you only communicate with someone when you both like each other. Of course, this is my latest App download…and so I’m still in the crush phase.

To wrap up my rodeo, I leave you with two summary points. I think it IS a good idea to be on as many sites as you can handle. Some dating advisors suggest limiting your sites and apps to 2 or 3. I disagree. For one thing, if you have started dating someone from one of the sites, but you are not exclusive yet, you might want to browse on another site without your possible keeper guy knowing about it. Plus, with more sites, you’ll have more options. Maximize your possibilities!

If a site is not working out, stop using it but consider another trial period in 6 months. There may be some new users or app upgrades that change the experience.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

Put your Best Face Forward: Get a Professional Photo

Embed from Getty Images

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.

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

Survival Tips: Dating Dry Spell

The dreaded words: dating dry spell. We’ve all had them and I’m in one right now. The weekend is here. I’m writing a blog focused heavily on dating.  And I don’t have any dates lined up.

Coincidentally I saw an old episode of Sex and the City while working out at the gym. Carrie Bradshaw just happens to be in a dry spell too. “I’m in a dating desert,” she complains. “They’re gonna have to change the name of my column to just “…and the City.”… Last night I actually started writing about my sock drawer. Men as socks. “Socks and the City.”

I don’t plan to write about socks. There must be other alternatives! With no dates on the immediate horizon, I am trying to remember that these spells don’t last forever. In fact, since by definition, they happen after you have stopped dating someone, I plan to seize the moment to pause and reflect. Then, after a decent period of relationship mourning (short relationship, short mourning), I’m going to try to get some positive energy.

With more time on our hands, we can have a long lunch of herbed green pea soup with a crusty loaf of bread, and a glass of sauvignon blanc (we’re in a dating dry spell – we deserve wine).

Here are my survival tips for a dating dry spell. This is a perfect time to update your profile and photos. I just did that after receiving some feedback from a man on OkCupid. He had reached out to me but was 20 years too young and 2 inches too short. We ended up chatting online and I offered some edits to his profile which he greatly appreciated since he had grown up in another country and felt his writing skills needed improving. I figured turn-about is fair play so I asked him for some feedback on my profile. He had some good suggestions, which I then incorporated into all 3 of my dating profiles (OkCupid, Match, Plenty of Fish).

Mr. 40 something recommended a new introduction to my “about me” section. He said my list of attributes was too run-of-the-mill and I should write something that better reflects what I am passionate about. He also suggested I answer the OkCupid question about the most private thing I’m willing to admit. It doesn’t have to be about something sexual, he said, just something that provides a glimpse into who I am. Time will tell whether these profile updates bring me some good prospects.

While working on your profile is always good, a dating dry spell should not just be about how to date again. It should also be a time for personal renewal. On cue, my dating dry spell coincides with spring. Take some time to enjoy nature. I am planning two different field trips to see the Cherry Blossoms in DC and Maryland. Wherever you live, find a garden in bloom or a park trail where you can re-energize and also think about constructive and fun things to do.

While you’re walking or biking on your nature outing, you’re also exercising. A dating dry spell is a great time to ramp up your physical activity. Increase your endorphin levels with a favorite or new activity. Have you tried hula hooping as an adult? It’s lots of fun and good for your waist.

Not necessarily fun, but definitely constructive – get ready for spring and good things ahead by cleaning out your wardrobe. Move those winter duds to their usual off-season storage and toss anything that needs to be retired from lack of use or overuse.

Then, go shopping for at least one new item. Shopping can be therapeutic – just don’t go wild. If funds are low, head to a consignment, thrift shop. I do some of my best shopping at Reddz, a local DC-area vintage and designer consignment store.

It goes without saying that you should get together with friends – old and new. Re: new friends — I have committed to some of my Meetup group events over the next couple of weeks.

Schedule some activities just for you. This is a good time to strengthen your inner resources by planning and enjoying some alone time. Go to the movies by yourself. I have never done this but I’m waiting for the next rainy day to try it out.

What about a short road trip – all by yourself? I have driven to the beach – but relatives or friends were waiting for me there. What about a road trip with no predetermined soft landing of relatives? Stay overnight for a day or two to see what it’s like. If you’re shy like me, pretend you’re not and see if you can connect with some other tourists or locals. Perhaps there’s a local Meetup gathering you could attend.

Consider this experience a test for a possible BIG vacation as a solo traveler. A lot of women are doing this and blogging about it. See: Finding the Gypsy in Me

You can’t count on always being in a relationship when you want to go somewhere new. As a young woman, my sister went on a solo journey to Europe. She had a great time and also met her future husband there…. so there are advantages!

Solo traveling is about being bold. Think of other ways you can step out of your comfort zone. When you’re on your nature walk, instead of taking a selfie in front of a blossoming tree, ask a handsome stranger to take your picture. Just say you’re not very good at taking selfies. See what happens. If nothing, at least you will have a good picture you can send me so I can witness your boldness.

This reminds me of another strategy for conquering a dating dry spell. Be accountable for whatever new adventure you plan. Tell a friend your idea or send me a comment with your intention. I find that writing down a goal is motivating. Similarly, writing this blog is motivating me to try new things – so I can write about it – and hopefully help you.

Here’s a recap of strategies to survive a dating dry spell:

  • Update your dating profile (s) and photos.
  • Focus on personal renewal
  • Make time to be outside in nature
  • Get ready for spring by cleaning out your clothes closet
  • Shop for at least one new or gently used item
  • Get together with new and old friends
  • Plan and enjoy alone time – activities, travel
  • Be bold and step out of your comfort zone to meet new people
  • Be accountable – tell me what you are going to do

Happy dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia