Nadia Tries Cooking Classes

cooking class

I’m getting ready for App-less April by trying to do new things in real life that might lead to an in-person romantic connection. Online dating increasingly discourages me. It can work and should be part of every single’s dating armamentarium (emphasis on the men). But for me it involves a high investment of time, money, and energy with a very low rate of return.

Dating experts say you can meet people anywhere – the grocery store, the gym, the line at the bank, walking your dog, etc. So far my daily routine has not brought me a love interest. So I’m branching out…and my first endeavor: cooking classes.

To whet your appetite for this post, enjoy some spring green risotto. I made this one Thanksgiving – substituting veggie stock for the chicken stock. Serve with grilled shrimp for a lovely decadent meal.

My cooking class theory: There are a lot of single men who might be interested in learning to cook or improving their skills. Perhaps, before their divorces, their wives did most of the cooking. Now, they are tired of takeout or they want to be able to cook for their children or a date. And, like me, they wonder if a cooking class would be a good way for them to meet a romantic partner.

I like to cook and have a fair amount of skill in this area but can definitely learn more. It’s important to have an interest in whatever extra activity you do to meet men. That way you’re having fun and/or learning something regardless of the meet-cute potential.

I searched for cooking classes and found a convenient venue with a good variety of types of classes and times. My first class was observation only. The time: 5:00 p.m. on a weekday. The subject was pad Thai, a dish I had once tried obsessively to perfect. My at-home experiment involved a variety of recipes using different ingredients and cooking methods. I ended up with tasty dinners but none of them tasted as if they had been made in a Thai restaurant. A pad Thai class could be the answer to both my recipe and man obsession.

Only one other person signed up for the class and….it was an age and height appropriate divorced man. His motivation for taking the class was cooking for his vegetarian college age daughter. Theory proved! Sadly, he was not my type. The only sparks were on the stove.

And the recipe was not my type either — too salty, too spicy, and did not taste like a Thai restaurant entrée. However, I did pick up some useful cooking tips including one for tofu: After pressing tofu to reduce the water content, dust it in cornstarch—not flour — before frying for a crispy, not greasy end result. Okay — maybe you knew that already but it was news to me and I was happy to learn about it.

The second class was hands on and involved three seafood dishes, including one with mussels. I love mussels but have never cooked them. Is there a word for fear of cooking bivalves? I had cooked scallops before and shrimp (not bivalves but on the cooking class menu). But mussels (and clams) always intimidated me. Perhaps it was the fear of not recognizing a bad mussel?

There were 12 of us in the Saturday afternoon seafood class but only one man…in his early 80s and with his wife. I was not overly disappointed because, hey, I was about to cook three fabulous dishes. All of these recipes were delicious and I’d share them but they’re not online. Added bonus: I lost my bivalve fear as I learned about ripping the beard off of mussels and rejecting bad mussels. If the shell of a raw mussel is open and won’t close if you hold it shut for 30 seconds it is a bad one OR if the shell of a cooked mussel won’t open after it’s cooked, it’s bad.

mussels

It wasn’t my day for romantic serendipity but there was a happy coincidence for two of my class mates. These women had gone to college together in another state, hadn’t seen each other in 20 years, and found themselves placed side by side in the same cooking class.

Until next week, happy cooking and dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

When Standing Someone Up is Fair Play

blog pix Feb 18

As much as I hate the idea of standing someone up on a date, I wish I had “stood up” a recent Plenty of Fish (POF) match instead of cancelling our planned meeting. It would have been a fitting response to his subterfuge.

Curious about yet another example of #ShittyMaleBehavior? Join me in some spaghetti squash shrimp scampi while I recount this tale.

If you’re on POF, you know the drill. You scroll through the Meet Me feature and say yes or no to an individual based on photos and profile. Sometimes you want to meet someone who doesn’t return the desire and vice versa.

Mr. M and I had a mutual match. I almost didn’t say yes to him. His profile said he was in the area for a couple of years — on “loan” from his university while engaged in work in the DC area. I worried about the possible lack of long term potential but decided to go for it. My philosophy is to be open as much as possible. Anything can happen and someone’s plans can change for the right person.

I liked his profile, which mentioned he had been widowed for 3 years and missed having a companion.

I assumed Mr. M was likely relatively new to online dating. He sent a nice, personalized message to me through the site and asked if I was free this weekend to see if we had chemistry. I always like when a man suggests an in person meeting soon after matching.

I told him I was booked until Monday and we had a little back and forth on venue and time. His car was back in his home state and he relied on metro and Lyft or Uber for transportation. I didn’t like the idea of dating someone without a car. It puts a greater transport burden on me and dammit I like to be picked up when I’m comfortable sharing my home address with someone. Anyway, once again I decided to be open to a less than perfect situation and suggested a venue convenient to metro.

When we had a solid plan, I let Mr. M know that I like to exchange cell numbers after agreeing to meet someone. I didn’t share mine at that point since a major goal was to search his number to ensure my security and verify his identity.

Mr. M sent his number and said he was excited to meet me. A straight Google search turned up nothing. However, searching his phone number in the Facebook search box pulled his profile up. All the basic details in his profile were confirmed. But there were recent photos of him with a woman and comments from friends implied they were in a relationship. When I went to the woman’s profile, I saw photos of the lovely Valentine’s Day bouquet Mr. M gave her. There was lots of evidence of their relationship, including her comment that she’s so lucky to have the love of Mr. M.

Insert random swear words – all will work. My disappointment was matched by my compassion for this lovely, accomplished woman who did not know what her partner was up to some 600 miles away.

Here’s what I wrote to Mr. M:

I’m going to have to cancel our meeting. It appears you are in a relationship. Most women who are online will “research” a potential date to ensure safety (as much as possible) and avoid someone who misrepresents their status. Perhaps you are in an open relationship and if that is the case you should state it in your profile.

On reflection, this was too nice of a message. And it was later when I was recounting the story to my son that I realized I should have let Mr. M make the hour trek on 2 subway lines to meet me tomorrow night, although I would not have shown up.

After I saw that Mr. M read my message, I blocked him. All traces of Mr. M are now gone except for the screen shots I took of his profile. They live on in the cloud with all of the other misbehaving men in my photo gallery.

Cue It’s Only a Paper Moon, Bill Charlap — Live at the Village Vanguard. It’s a good soundtrack for a disappointing post Valentine’s Day non-date.

Takeaway messages for my reader daters: Type someone’s cell number into Facebook to check them out. Consider standing up a guy who has behaved badly. He deserves it.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

First Dating Rant of 2018

blog pix angry bird

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks calling out men who behave badly, rejecting men who are not for me, wondering whether I’m too picky or whether I’m not picky enough.  In other words, this has been a typical couple of weeks in the life of a sometimes-dating boomer. Then I read a survey that says women and men in their 60s are having the best sex of their lives. This is not uplifting when you don’t currently have a partner. To top it off, I keep getting Valentine’s Day ads and announcements.

Can you sense a rant coming on? Join me in a healthy five layer dip snack for the Super Bowl or any time while I detail examples of these annoyances.

#1 Men Behaving Badly

Remember Mr. Hot N’ Cold otherwise known as Mr. M? I cringe to admit he briefly resurfaced and I’m to blame for encouraging him albeit in a lukewarm way (love those temperature metaphors).

To bring you up to date, I discovered that the voicemails of people whose numbers you block live on in a blocked section of your voicemails. About a month ago, I listened to Mr. M’s last voicemail. It was nice and harmless enough and I decided that maybe he wasn’t a stalker just a poor texter. That doesn’t excuse other problems including his lack of follow through and long absences. I wasn’t about to reach out to Mr. M but filed away a less negative impression of him.

Then unexpectedly, Mr. M resurfaced on Zoosk, one of the sites we had communicated on. He “viewed” me, which is the real life equivalent of a flirting glance. I agonized about whether I should “view” him back but I was feeling a lack of male company and decided to cast my fate to the dating gods.

He responded by sending me a nice message through the site and asked if we could get together. I said I would think about it and let him know I was hesitant due to his previous communications and behavior. “I can understand that,” he wrote and asked if he could have a do-over. Later that day, I message him that we could have a drink sometime. This is when the leopard’s spots reappeared.

The evidence via messages:

January 4:

Nadia: Okay, we can meet for a drink some time.

January 6:

M: okay will look at my schedule to fit into  yours

Nadia: Okay (smiley face)

Friday, January 19:

Comment: Notice the time span. No response from Mr. M after 13 days. So I messaged him (I know what you’re thinking):

Nadia: Hi, Not sure if I misinterpreted your last message, but I thought you were going to suggest a day to meet. Anyway, thought I would check in to say that.

About 4:30 p.m. on January 19th:

M: I got back in town thursday. was overseas working. What are you doing this evening

January 19 (continued):

I didn’t see his message on the site and then he phoned me. I missed his call. He left a voicemail and I called him back 30 minutes later.

Again, note the timespan. I returned his call on Jan. 19. On Feb. 2, he sent me a message through Zoosk saying he’d been traveling for work, then had to attend an out of town funeral, and after that “things were on the move with work locally.”   “I will try and call you shortly,” he wrote.

“I don’t think that explains why you didn’t return my call of 2 weeks ago…you were in town then,” I replied. “It seems like you are playing a game, perhaps just being a breadcrumber – look up this dating term. It describes the way you have behaved with me.”

Epilogue: As expected, there was no response from Mr. M. This is finally the end of the Mr. Hot N’ Cold story unless it’s not.

#Rejecting Men who are Not for Me

Last month I went out with a very nice man, Mr. ZZ, despite the fact he had the same first and middle names as my ex. That was almost enough to put me off but I decided to go for it. Based on his photos, I was worried I wouldn’t be attracted to him. I thought, “Maybe I’m too picky” and agreed to meet for a happy hour.

We had a “pleasant” time, no conversation lapses but it started to feel a bit strained toward the end of the hour. There was not a whiff of chemistry on my part. He didn’t have the kind of male energy that I like.

I sensed Mr. ZZ liked me but I could tell he was shy and at the end of our date he shook my hand goodbye. He viewed me several times over the next few days but did not reach out for a second date. I think he was waiting for me to “view” him back but I didn’t want to encourage him. I vacillated a couple of times and thought maybe I should give it another go but ultimately let it fade away.

#Wondering whether I’m too Picky

See above encounter with Mr. ZZ.

#Wondering whether I’m not Picky Enough

I could cite any of a number of conversations with men whom I clearly have little in common with other than we are both breathing.

#People in their 60s are having the best sex

Send one of the men surveyed directly to me.

#Valentine’s Day Hype

I suggest an alternate “Galentines” Day for women to celebrate with friends.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Crazy and Not so Crazy Dating Trends in 2018

blogpix emoji

Catfishing, ghosting, breadcrumbing, benching, zombieing, cushioning, cuffing, uncuffing. AARGH! Are you tired of buzzwords for dating trends? It’s the same old shitty dating behavior with new terms that factor in the use of online dating sites and apps.

It’s time for some fresh words that capture the more idiosyncratic behavior one can find in today’s crazy dating world.

Join me in some roasted mushroom and vermouth risotto while I share the latest dating trends for 2018:

Emojiing: Excessive use of emojis in messages.

I’ve been guilty of this one. I deliberately stopped myself from using emojis in every message and now limit my use of these drawings to a maximum of 1 per text.

Bitmojiing: A variant in which the dater only uses bitmojis to communicate.

Mymamaing: A relationship in which the dater parents the other person excessively.

Example: Are you sure you want to order that dish? It’s so high in fat!

Truthing: Extreme truth behavior. No white lies in your dating profile or any conversation. Photos have bad lighting to highlight real flaws. In response to questions, you only respond with true answers even if it hurts you or your partner.

Example: You are attractive but look older than your dating photos.

Trumping: His dating profile is curiously silent about politics. However, on a first phone call, he discusses Trump at length. On a first date (you agree to this against your better judgment), he extols the virtues of his favorite president. You’ve been Trumped. There is no second date.

Meetupping: Joining meet-ups for the sole purpose of making romantic connections. Wait, that’s already happening and it could work.

Nomeetupping: In this trend, individuals have no intention of ever meeting their matches in real life. Pretending to want to date is a game for them.

Golfing: A man who obsesses about golf in his dating profile and during conversations. Deal breaker noted in his profile: A woman who doesn’t play golf. First date is golfing or getting a drink at a golf range while watching golf on a large screen TV. His wardrobe on first date: golf shirt, of course.

Neversleeping: An individual is ALWAYS online. You might pop in at any time of day or night to check your messages and you will find that this person is online.

Notreallysingle: He may be divorced from his wife but because of commitments to his young children, he cancels dates, is late to dates or, if you’re in a relationship with him, he has little time for you. He’s a good dad but misrepresented his availability. Tip: Consider age of a guy’s children when deciding if he would be a good fit for you.

iPhoneying: Your partner cannot detach from his or her phone. On all of your dates, the phone is that annoying third wheel—even when you’re in the bedroom.

#ConfusedAboutMeToo: Difficulty in distinguishing between sexual misconduct and harassment in the workplace and welcome and consensual sexual behavior in non-workplace dating situations. Both parties in a potential relationship agree to sign a notarized contract allowing the first kiss with subsequent contracts for additional moves.

Have you observed any other dating trends? Let me know!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Update your Profile: It’s Dating Sunday

blog pix 2 dating sunday

It’s Dating Sunday – the busiest dating day of the year, according to Match.com. And after a barrage of news articles and announcements about this holy day, I decided it’s time to rework my profile.

Let’s warm up with some perfect potato soup while we discuss.

Even if you’re a writer by trade, composing a dating profile can be difficult. It’s hard to know how potential matches will perceive your version of yourself. That’s one of the reasons frequent updates and rewrites are a good idea. A new version just might resonate with The One. And even good profiles and good photos start to look stale after awhile – particularly to the online regulars you keep seeing.

When revising your profile, there are certain principles to keep in mind. I’ve covered these in previous posts.

Every writer needs an editor: People tend to gloss over their own mistakes and it’s hard to be objective when you have birthed a baby profile. You wrote it so it must be lovable.

Distance can help keep you objective. I don’t mean you should read your profile from across the room but give it a few days or at least a few hours to reread and see if anything strikes you as off. It’s likely that a profile written a year ago will make you cringe. When I rewrote my last profile (sadly almost a year ago), I thought it was my best effort yet.

But when I reread it yesterday, I was more critical of what I once thought was charming prose. My red pencil was itching to strike out whole sections. I may have been influenced by a chapter on dating profiles in a compelling, hysterically funny, and painfully true memoir by Stella Grey (pseudonym) called Mid-Life Ex-Wife: A Diary of Divorce, Online Dating, and Second Chances .

Grey’s chapter, Trying to Write the Right Profile, offers readers a look at her original profile with comments written after she reread it months later. When I read this chapter, I realized that my latest and best profile with many activities and interests described might be overwhelming for some men. Not that I want to hide my uniqueness or interests – but sometimes less is more.

This brings me to my latest profile epiphany: Approach dating profile rewrites the same way travel writers tell you to pack for a holiday. Pack your suitcase and then take out at least half of the clothes. So write or rewrite your profile and then cut it down by 50 percent – or 70 percent if you’re prolific.

Another tip: A recent Zoosk analysis found daters who mention being a vegetarian or vegan get more messages than other members. So I added pesco-vegetarianism back to my profile, after previously deleting it an effort to refresh.

As I’m writing this post, I get a message from Match about Dating Sunday.

blog pix dating sunday

It can take several hours or more for a dating site to review your updated profile and make it publicly visible, so don’t waste any time. You want to be “fresh” for the peak dating moment at 8:55 p.m. Eastern. Good luck to us all.

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

 

 

 

Hello/Goodbye: The Art of Beginning and Ending a First Date

blox pix handshake

Have you ever thought about the hello/goodbye aspect of first dates? Second, third, and beyond dates are less problematic. As you work toward coupledom, you hopefully become more at ease with each other…and, at the least, you have a better sense of what feels right in terms of greetings and farewells.

Let’s review this important aspect of dating territory while we have a lovely green goddess crunch sandwich.

Greetings on my first dates have ranged from handshakes to hugs to the man standing up and pulling out my bar stool to cheek kisses to full-on mouth kisses. On the very first date I had while separated, I walked to meet Mr. H at an outdoor café. He lightly put his arms on my shoulders and planted a real kiss…I was surprised to say the least and since it was my first kiss of post-separation dating, felt strange. But then I was a newbie.

Much, much later I was to meet a first date at a small and charming indoor “mall” filled with antique stores and eclectic shops. We arrived at the same time and met in the parking lot. It was clear that we were attracted to each other. He smiled and said, “shall we get the kiss out of the way?” or something to that effect. I was at a loss for words but nodded yes, and then he kissed me…and kissed me well so that we had a rather long greeting.

“Well, we know we’ve got chemistry,” he said, and we walked into the mall where he managed to steal kisses in the nooks and crannies of stores, an empty event hall, etc.

But an initial greeting kiss tends to not be the norm. More likely, a guy will go in for the handshake. If my reflexes are on target, I’ll try to head him off at the non-pass and give him a friendly light hug instead. I look at a handshake as a greeting better suited for a work setting – or any non-dating situation.

What’s worse in my book is a handshake at the end of the date. Unless I’m repulsed by someone (it has happened) or I’m aware that the guy is not interested, I find a light goodbye hug is a better alternative.

If there’s chemistry, that’s a whole other story. Proviso: Chemistry does not necessarily equal a make-out session. I have encountered my fair share of shy guys. Sometimes I’ll make the first move, which could be a real (not light) hug or a kiss.

I make my choice based on my assessment of the mutual chemistry and how much I want to kiss or hug the guy. In one case, after a lengthy goodbye chat next to my car in a cold parking garage, I said to my date “Well, are you going to kiss me?” He was a bit shaken by my comment (I found out later he had Asperger’s syndrome) and managed to fumble a kiss (note: his technique improved on date #2).

At the other extreme, I have offered to drive a guy to his car in another part of the parking lot just so we could have a teenage make out session. Oy! At these times, I regret my small car’s bucket seats and lack of interior space.

For those dating newbies out there wondering about the greeting aspect of the date, just go with your gut. If you’re uncertain about converting a hello handshake to a light hug, don’t stress. Just accept the handshake. You’ll have more knowledge and another chance to express your feelings at the end of the date.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia