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

Random Rants, Observations, and Questions

woman screaming blog pix

This year, I’m not in a mood to write a sarcastic singles holiday letter but I feel a need to vent, observe, and comment on the current dating scene.

Let’s chow down on some one pot kale and quinoa pilaf while indulging in an end of the year wrap up.

*Is it sad that I recognize the screen names of some of the online guys that I frequently pass by on my way to bigger, better matches? When one of the “passed overs” sends me a message, a wink, or favorites me I don’t even need to open up the dating site. I already know who it is. They and I have been online too long.

*I realize that when a dating site sends you a match based on who you have previously interacted with, it’s really their version of computer “cookies:”

Hey, Nadia, we saw you browsing and you put OneHotGuy in your cart but didn’t check out. It’s not too late but perhaps you’d like AbsLikeSteel instead. Click through to his profile. 

*What is the motivation behind a guy’s frequent expressions of interest without following up? So many of them send “canned” dating site generated comments but never write a personal email.

I used to think it was a guy’s way of bookmarking me or testing me to see if I was interested. But these types of interactions never go anywhere and I continue to wonder what motivates these men.

*How can catfishers and identity thieves be so stupid? I can identify them with one eye closed…a professional photo of a very attractive man dressed to the 10s and an uncommonly spelled name, e.g., Micheal.

*How do you gracefully stop communicating with a guy after you ask him to post or send an additional picture and the one he sends confirms your suspicions that you could not stand to kiss him. I find that a lot of guys have one poor quality headshot (or half a headshot) and no full body pictures. Some ignore my request for more photos or make a silly excuse why they can’t send any. Others send a bad selfie or an obviously old photo, which gives me enough info to know there is no attraction.

The last time a guy sent me a selfie I waited a couple of days and said I had met someone and wanted to see where it would go but the real reason is that I had zero attraction to the guy. Is there a better explanation that is also kind?

*I hate Zoosk’s Carousel feature in which you scroll through photos of men. The problem? No profile or basic information is visible. All you get is a photo and the guy’s age. Inevitably most of the matches that result don’t work. A typical match might be a smoker who lives 300 miles away and is separated – hitting three of my deal-breakers. I know guys on Tinder and Bumble don’t always have profiles but some of them do and sometimes you’ll at least see a location, where a guy works, and where he went to school.

OurTime has a feature similar to Carousel but it allows you to see a man’s profile before deciding if you want to meet.

*What if you ended a first date by rating the person and sharing that assessment — like what you do at the end of a Lyft ride?

Here’s what the dating sites and apps could add to the phone interface:

On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your date’s

*Attentiveness and engagement

*Profile accuracy

*Cleanliness/grooming/manners

*Chemistry with you

Would you go out with this person again?

You and your date answer the questions and you immediately see each other’s responses. No awkward wondering, does he/she like me?

*When a guy says he’s a simple man, is he saying he’s unsophisticated, foolish or mentally impaired or does he mean he’s able to find happiness in the smaller things in life. Hard to know. So many of the men I encounter appear to fit the first definition.

*I have noticed that guys who appreciate antiques, old cars, 70s music, etc. tend to not be so picky about dating a woman of a certain age. One could say they like the classics.

Do any of these resonate with you? What are your rants, observations, and questions?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

The Dog Days of December – a Holiday Fantasy

dog days blog pix

I blame the 10 days I spent taking care of my grand-dog. Somehow during that time of bonding I began to imitate animal behavior.

Let’s have some roasted sweet dumpling squash with red onion and pumpkin seeds , a doggie favorite, while I explain.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Leslie and I went to a museum holiday shopping fair. As we walked by the Phillips Gallery display, I spotted an attractive man at the next booth; I immediately sank to the floor and stared at him. Leslie, who had been trying to drag me to the hot chocolate table in the next aisle, saw me go down and stopped.   “Are you okay?” she asked, “Did you slip?”

In that moment I couldn’t answer. I knew I wanted that man and sitting waiting for him to notice me and come over seemed like the natural thing to do. Leslie reached down, and grabbed my arm. “Let me help you up,” she said.

I resisted, my eyes never leaving the object of my desire. I decided to call him Mr. H for hot.

“Did you sprain your ankle,” she asked. Then, in a flurry of Wonder Woman transference, she lifted me to a standing position. “Lean on me if your ankle hurts,” she said.

At this point, Mr. H who had been engrossed in a National Gallery of Art bin of prints noticed me. My gaze did not waver.

Meanwhile Leslie realized I was able to put weight on both feet and started to pull my arm. “Come on Nadia, I really need a shot of hot chocolate right now. It’s my favorite holiday indulgence.”

I pulled in the other direction – toward Mr. H. Leslie, as strong as she was, was no match for my swimming-trained arms.

I walked right up to Mr. H and started nosing around his cute denim- covered butt. Suddenly, a woman came up to Mr. H. “Max, look what I ….” She stopped and saw me sniffing around. “What the….” I swear she growled at me. She pulled at Mr. H/Max. “Let’s get away from this crazy person,” she practically screamed. Mr. H/Max looked at me longingly but followed the woman.

Leslie shook her head at me. “What did you put in your coffee this morning?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I said, “I don’t know what came over me but I couldn’t seem to stop myself from acting that way. Am I going crazy?”

“Hopefully not- maybe it’s your way of reacting to the political and societal madness of 2017. It seems like any behavior goes these days. Let’s go get that hot chocolate.”

We headed toward the wonderful aroma of cocoa only to see a man crouching on the floor looking right at me. I couldn’t help myself. He was even finer than Mr. H. I sprinted to him and we ran in a circle chasing each other. It was clear we liked each other and were not afraid to show it – so unlike humans!

What’s the moral of this fantasy? There’s a lot that dating humans can learn from animals. You might have to tweak some animal behaviors to make them suitable for human interaction (and to avoid arrest):

*Don’t forget the power of eye contact. Looking at someone signals interest and attraction. Put away that phone.

*Approach the object of your fancy and smile (sorry-sniffing only allowed in fantasy mode)

*Be active with your partner. It’s a great way to bond. Chase that tennis ball or go for a walk in the woods.

*If you’re lucky enough to be partnered, give your SO a great dog-worthy greeting. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of greeting a woman gives the man she thought was lost at sea.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Dear Nadia, I Have a Dating Dilemma, #2

blog pix Dec 10 2017

Not much is happening in my dating life so it’s a good distraction when a friend reaches out for dating advice.

My friend Lauren’s dilemma: She’s enjoying conversation and flirting with a friend/colleague who wants to move the relationship to the next level. She knows a relationship with this person would not work and that a fling is also problematic. The situation is complicated in several ways.

Lauren, who is separated and actively planning her divorce, called to discuss the situation and bounce around some possible scenarios. Names and identifying details have been changed.

Have some fast and crunchy baked cod while I share my friend’s situation.

Lauren’s story reminds me of times when I have encountered decision points in my dating life. I knew what to do about a certain guy but I was tempted to go in the wrong direction. I needed a friend to reinforce my better instincts.

A couple of years ago, Lauren hired Joe, a landscape contractor at the hotel she manages. What started as a collegial work relationship has advanced into a friendship. Recently there has been a lot of banter and flirting and Joe frequently suggests that the two should talk over a particular problem at dinner or happy hour sometime.

Joe, who also does landscape work for Lauren’s soon to be ex-husband, knows about the couple’s marital situation. In fact he offered to be a witness in their upcoming divorce hearing.

Joe is 11 years younger than Lauren, less educated than she is, and is a hard drinker with a bad boy past. “He’s not relationship material,” she says. “The problem is that he’s attractive, has a great six-pack — despite too many six packs–, and is a really nice guy.” A few days ago, Joe texted her and invited her to a happy hour.

This was a clear invitation – not like previous ones that were more indefinite. Lauren is tempted by the possibility of a romantic fling but knows she should say no. She’s wondering how to decline his invitation without losing the friendship or offending him in any way. And she’s sad that if she turns down the happy hour, the flirting that she’s enjoying so much will likely disappear.

“How about if I just tell him I’m too busy right now getting ready for a holiday visit from my relatives and that getting together in the new year is more feasible?” Lauren asks.

“This leaves open the possibility that you’ll go out with him,” I suggest. “You’ll have to clarify your intention at some point – either now or the next time he asks you out.”

Lauren sighs. “He’s too young for me – even for something short term.”

“If he was fling material, his age wouldn’t be an issue- and might be an asset,” I say, “but he’s not good fling material. You’ve got a work relationship you don’t want to mess up and you’re counting on him as a witness in divorce court. You need a less complicated scenario for an ideal fling.”

I suggest she respond to Joe’s invitation in a way that acknowledges their friendship but removes the possibility of dating.

I propose a potential response: Sounds like fun but I’m super crazed right now getting ready for my visiting relatives. Happy to get together as friends in the new year. I like to be clear and want you to know that I’m not ready to date. Plus I value our friendship and I would not jeopardize it.

I don’t know what Lauren wrote to Joe but she reported that she successfully turned down the invite and was able to maintain collegiality and friendship.

Have you navigated a challenging dating scenario? How did it go? Let me know!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

A Strong Woman

blog pix Dec 3

The disassembled brass and steel floor lamp came with an instructional sheet and diagram. Pretty simple, as these things go – not like assembling a cabinet.

*Attach middle tube to shade assembly. Turn clockwise.

*Attach bottom tube to middle tube. Turn counterclockwise.

*Attach bottom tube to base. Turn clockwise.

*Remove sticky backer from felt pad and attach to underside of base.

The issue? The damn thing is heavy, especially the base.

You’re wondering if this blog has morphed into one called Fix it, Build it, Paint It. No. Calm your mind with a bite of Israeli cauliflower steak with labneh and read on for clarity.

The large box sat in the living room for a few days, the lamp contents visible but in pieces. I was on a home improvement jag. I had just finished serving as project manager for several renovation tasks in my townhouse beginning with the installation of new flooring on the first floor. Natural maple everywhere except the kitchen, which is now a stunner with stone-look Italian porcelain in a frame pattern.

Then I had all the walls painted. The new floors and paint encouraged me to throw out three pieces of furniture. I decided to replace them with new items that looked and functioned better.

I’m on a budget so everything had to be “build it yourself.”  My son had tackled the entryway bench and two bookshelves and assembling a cabinet was next on his list.

I thought that the least I could do was to put together the floor lamp. Perhaps the project would take my mind off my dating dry spell.

The reality of putting that lamp together brought home the issue of strength and independence. After a lifetime of start and stop exercise regimens from yoga to running to Jane Fonda tapes, I finally found my magic combination of strength building and cardio.  I’ve been working out consistently with a personal trainer and a swim coach two times a week and doing the solo work on most other days.

The result: despite two herniated discs and a “vulnerable” knee, I have become pretty strong for a 60 something woman.

Strength: It’s something everyone needs to accomplish practical living tasks and to prevent injury when carrying out those tasks. Being strong is even more important when you’re divorced and no longer can rely on a husband for the heavy lifting tasks. During my post-divorce journey, I find that independence is fueled by mental and physical strength – and vice versa.

So, when I faced down the lamp instructions, I called to my newish muscles as well as my proud independent self to step up to the job.

The assembly was a little tricky and awkward due to having to balance the 30-pound solid steel base but I refused to give up (praying that I hadn’t stripped the tubes when screwing them into each other).  Voila! Mission accomplished. The light even works.

I felt great: the Wonder Woman of light assembly!

I could add this to my slowly growing list of independent, strength-fueled accomplishments: lifting and moving the wood dining room table with my son, who looked duly surprised when I was able to carry my half of the load; effortlessly carrying for 20 minutes what once felt like an extremely heavy portable “backpack” chair; easily transporting 3 heavy bags of groceries at once.

I highly recommend strength and other physical training for all humans but especially for previously married singletons. Be strong. As Pink said, “I like feeling strong. It keeps my mental floor higher.”

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Failure to Proofread and other Assorted Men’s Dating Profile Mistakes

blog pix main nov 26

Suffering from the post holiday, ate too much, relatives are gone and feeling lonely blues? Perhaps you need a laugh. There’s a wealth of comedy material available in men’s dating profiles and messages.

Join me in some raw carrot sticks (no recipe today, we have over indulged)…while I share some winners from my files, annotated of course.

A conundrum: Would a non-Jew be keeping kosher? Just saying…

Nov 26 4

I hadn’t really thought of Belgiun (sic) chocolates as one of my dating requirements…perhaps I need to rethink my criteria.

Nov 26 6

A different type of sugar-themed profile (sigh):

Nov 26 7

Love that he has a dog named Fred but I wonder about a guy who kicks up his “heals” and is in the hostility business…

Nov 26 8a

I guess I wouldn’t need my passport if I ended up with this man:

Nov 26 9

We won’t be meeting so no need to worry about crime….

nov 26 1

Huh?

Nov 26 woman like simple

I blame myself for this response. I asked him about the bad boy reference in his profile:

Nov 26 2

Tweet me your funny or eyebrow-raising profile examples!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

A Mirage in the Desert of Dating

blox pix desert mirage

It’s cuffing season, a time when single people want to couple up so they can have a boo for the holidays, a snuggle partner for the cold weather. But I’m experiencing more of a desert season – long treks sifting through the sand of matches without connecting with anyone even worth meeting. I thought this dry spell might be broken but it was not to be. I’ll fill you in on my mirage experience while we enjoy some seasonal roasted squash with brown butter and quinoa.

After a long period where Match was my least productive dating venue, I began to hear from some men on this site. I’m sure it was due to a minor tweaking of my bio, an action that propels a profile to a more prominent position.

Mr. R initiated contact. It’s always lovely when I don’t have to be proactive. His initial email was also an invitation for coffee. I liked his profile and photos. My dating rules are flexible now – particularly when I’m in a dry spell – so I didn’t push for a phone call or further messaging and agreed to meet.

He said he’d look for a coffee shop that was “not a madhouse of noise” and get back to me. He included his cell number at the end of the message. Bingo! Now I could check him out properly. It turns out his number was associated with his medical practice so after finding his name I did a straight Google search. Now I knew I was about to meet a tall liberal minded physician with an artsy creative side.

I began to feel excited. But then I found two You Tube videos he “starred” in. They were health based and produced by the hospital he was affiliated with. I was pleased with his voice and speaking style (so important in a partner) but then I noticed he was wearing a wedding ring. My excitement dimmed.

The videos were posted last June. I pondered the possible explanations for the wedding ring:

*His profile, which indicated he was divorced, was not truthful and he was married.

*He was very recently divorced.

*With a communications background, I am aware of a myriad of reasons why films may be produced but kept in limbo for a long time before public posting. I theorized that the videos could have been made months earlier.

Despite the wedding ring videos, I decided to meet Mr. R but to make sure I asked for details about his divorce and noticed whether he had a tan line on his ring finger.

We finalized a meeting time for Sunday morning and a location not too far from where I lived.

At 9:30 on Saturday night, I received a text message from Mr. R confirming that he was still on for coffee the next morning but wanted to be straight with me “about where I’ve found myself to be.”

He said he was still “wrenched with feelings about my divorce” and not really ready to start dating. “I need to tell you that,” he continued. “Speaking with my best friend tonight helped me recognize the form of the anxiety I’ve been feeling. I’m still processing it. I would enjoy coffee and something to eat and conversation with you but that’s all I can manage right now. If you still want to meet, please let me know.”

And so my mirage of a promising prospect disappeared. I replied that I was disappointed but understood and know what it’s like to be in that emotional limbo that can hit after divorce. I declined to meet the next morning and ended my message with “Continue healing and taking care of yourself and get in touch when you think you are ready to date.”

He wrote a nice response back and said he would contact me when he was ready to date.

My mood went from hopeful and excited to generally bummed out. The next day when I went on Match I saw he had recently been online. I wasn’t sure what to make of this until a friend suggested he was likely just browsing, not reaching out to anyone. I remembered doing that when I was separated and in the early days after divorce so I chose to believe this explanation. A few days later, Mr. R hid his profile – consistent with his story of not being ready to date.

You probably think the story is over. But I have been online long enough to know that guys do come back – sometimes after months or even a year. You might hear from a guy you dated briefly 8 months ago or from a man you messaged but never met.

I’m not sitting by the cell phone waiting for Mr. R to be emotionally ready to date but I have a tiny bit of hope that he’ll reach out at some point.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia