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

 

An Imagined Meeting of Online Daters Anonymous

blox pix support

“I really don’t want to go,” I said to my friend Bonnie.

“You’ve got to go,” she said. “You need support from other online daters. I can listen to you and advise you up the wazoo but I’m not dating anymore.” (I swear she quietly muttered Thank God.) “I think it would help you to share your experiences with other people who are going through the same stuff.”

“Okay,” I sighed. Since Bonnie, a long-time friend and fellow retiree, had remarried 6 months ago, she’d been trying to nudge me into attending this support group. I knew she was right. The stress of online dating was warping my perspective on romance—at least that’s what I told my jaded self.

Two days later I found myself in a small meeting room at the local library. Enjoy some oven steamed mussels while I share what happened.

There were six women and four men of various ages and ethnicities already sitting in a circle in the simple but functional room. It was 7 pm and some of my fellow daters looked liked they had come straight from work.

“Welcome,” said a striking blond woman who motioned me to an empty chair. “We’re just about to do introductions. I’m Janet. I’m a social worker. I started this meet-up group in hopes of creating an ongoing system of support for those who are starting over after divorce and struggling with online dating. I’ve been divorced 4 years and started dating 3 years ago.”

Janet went on to explain that she wanted each meeting to focus on a particular question related to dating. Every person was to answer the question, followed by an open discussion. The question for this first meeting was “what have you learned about the process of online dating?” Janet asked us to go around the room, say our name and a few basic facts and then try to answer the question.

The first person to speak was Rob, a 50-something man who said he’d been divorced 5 years. “I’ve learned that women who are online don’t seem to want to meet. They’re stuck emailing and they keep asking me questions. I feel like I’m being interrogated.”

There was general nodding of heads and smiling. “I feel that men are the same way,” said Irma, a 40ish woman. “But they don’t ask good questions. It’s ‘how’d you get so beautiful?’ and ‘how long have you been on this site?’ No one seems to read my profile. I could say I was a mass murderer and the men wouldn’t notice.”

“My problem is when we meet,” said Rachel, a woman who could have been anywhere from 55 to 65. “I’ve learned that no matter how well you connect on the phone or in email, it’s what happens in person that matters. I don’t get too excited in advance any more because most of the time, the guys look much worse and much older than their pictures.”

A 30ish man who introduced himself as Hank said, “I’ve learned that I don’t like online dating. I actually came here to see if I could meet women,” he said with a grin. “I don’t have time for the dating sites but I use Tinder and just started using Bumble because there’s less work. Sometimes I hook up with someone but I think a lot of the profiles are fake.”

Helen, a woman in her 70s (go Helen), laughed. “I almost don’t believe it when someone is not a fake. I’ve never had anyone ask me for money but stolen pictures are everywhere. They must think women are idiots. Google image search is my friend.”

Then Janet turned to me. “Nadia, what have you learned?” She asked.

I sipped my water and took a few seconds to gather my thoughts. After listening to the mostly negative comments, I realized I might be jaded but I still have hope. I explained that I had learned to expect the unexpected. To suffer through long dry spells followed by an out-of-the-blue increase in romantic possibilities…only to have them fall apart right away or over the course of a few weeks. Rinse and repeat. I told the group that, just as all types of problems have suddenly appeared in my life, I hold on to the hope that good things will also spontaneously occur. It just seems to be the way things work. The law of nothing is static.

Janet thanked me for my comment and we continued around the room. My attention drifted away as a text from a first date appeared on my phone. It looks like this latest dry spell might be over.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

The Not Meyers-Briggs Dating Types

blog pix questionnaire

I’m not a Meyers-Briggs fan. It’s not that I think this personality test is meaningless but I don’t believe it’s religion. Those who characterize everything they do based on the results of one test annoy me. About 6 years ago, I was compelled to take MB as part of an office “retreat.” At the time, I was in a bad state due to my divorce and resented the questions on the test. I’m sure I “gamed” the results, in part because I didn’t like the idea of my boss reviewing them.

Recently I have noticed that a number of men’s online dating profiles tout their MB type. Some list their type in their profile name. I did a user name search on MATCH for INTJ and pulled up 84 hits. One of them even put his desired type in his profile:

INTJ Seeks ENFP

——————————————————-

  • 54 year old man
  • Wichita KS, USA
  • Seeking women 45-59 within 50 miles of Wichita, KS

——————————————————–

Although I don’t like the rigidity of this focus on “types,” I decided to have a little fun with the MB. I’d like to propose an alternate personality descriptor specifically for male online daters. It’s based on my observations of the types I have scrolled through, interacted with, and dated.

Serve yourself a healthy portion of the ultimate caprese salad and see if you recognize any of these Not MB Types. The letters may be the same but the types are new. Some of the letters in the types described below do double duty- standing for different personality characteristics. Creative license.

INTJ

Inaction

Not Meeting

Tempting

Jerk

Although the INTJ type is online 24/7, he’s definitely a man of Inaction. He’ll view you, message you through a dating site, and might even text you. But you will Not Meet. He’ll promise you, Tempt you with possible dates but in the end he’s a Jerk with no interest in a real life connection.

ESFJ

Ego

Sexy compliment

Friend not

Junk

You have probably interacted with an ESFJ. His ego is exceptionally strong and his first message will demonstrate confidence, while letting you know he finds you sexy. He’s not interested in friends first and would love nothing better than to get your number so he can send you a photo of his junk.

ISTP

Inadequate Dating Skills

Separated

Too early

Play the field

The ISTP man has rusty, inadequate dating skills because he’s newly separated. It’s too early for him to consider a relationship. He wants to play the field – as he should when he’s recently out of a marriage (after he gets his act together solo). The problem occurs when he promises you that he is ready for commitment. He will fail because he’s not ready after all. And your heart will be bruised.

ENTP  

Eyes for you only

No problems

Too good to be true

Played

The ENTP guy comes on strong…almost too strong. He only has eyes for you. There don’t seem to be any problems with this guy. Your connection is almost too good to be true. In the end, he ghosts you and you feel that you’ve been played.

Do you recognize any of these non-MB dating types? Have you encountered other types? Let me know!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

The Lost Art of Smiling

blog pix smiling potato head

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

A Single Gal’s Friday

blox pix woman vacuuming

It’s Friday about 1 p.m. and I’m cleaning the house in between giving myself both a manicure and a pedicure (the clear polish I’m using signals low anticipation of my date tonight). The mani-pedi specifics determine the level of interest I’m feeling for a pending first date.

Clear polish indicates the lowest level of excitement (unless I’m in a clear polish phase). A salon mani indicates a relatively high level of interest and a salon mani-pedi combo is the equivalent of …well, let’s just say my hormones are geared up. Men, don’t worry, this post isn’t all about manicures.

Sit down and have some of Jose Andrés’ gazpacho while we analyze Friday’s timeline.

Let’s back up from the mani-pedi/house cleaning frenzy to the day’s beginning:

6:00 a.m.: I make coffee and read the Times on my iPad. I’m distracted from the latest Administration fiasco by wondering whether Mr. D, the guy I’m supposed to meet that evening, will confirm our date or fade away. Our last communication was 3 days ago so I’m not sure of the status. As you may recall, I’ve been burned before.

9:20 a.m.: Showered and dressed, I’m packing up my stuff for the gym when my phone beeps that I have an email. Yes, it’s Mr. D, confirming our 5 p.m. date and saying he’s looking forward to meeting me. E-mail has been our primary form of communication. We haven’t spoken on the phone though we have exchanged cell numbers. I no longer require a pre-date phone call and, as it turns out, it wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome.

9:45 a.m.: Working out – it’s cardio day and I’m taking a little break from swimming to give my arms a rest so I pound away on the low impact cardio machine while listening to tunes on RockMyRun.

10:45 a.m.: Run errands, none of them relevant to the dating life. No meet cutes to report but a yummy taste of fresh bread from the local bread store.

11:30 a.m.: Back home for a lunch of that gazpacho.

Let’s return to the cleaning/home nail salon activities. Here’s the deal with cleaning my house before a first date. Although I have never brought someone to my home at the end of a first date/meeting, lately I’ve been cleaning my house “just in case.” Just in case I meet someone who stirs up so much mutual chemistry that we must end our evening at my house. So I vacuum, clean the bathrooms, hide any evidence of my blog, and turn on my bedroom’s ambient lighting (eclectic electric lamps and candles). Somehow this exercise, even though I know it’s likely futile, makes me feel better – like there’s a possibility of romance and sex and who knows what else.

The reality is, since my divorce, first dates haven’t led to this outcome…but one never knows and I think I may be at a place (and at an age), where the pluses of such an encounter might just outweigh the potential minuses.

3:00 p.m.: I shower, reapply my makeup, and totally change my planned outfit for this evening – opting for black jeggings and a silky top (more casual than my original choice of a black skirt/blouse combo).

Mr. D suggested I choose our meeting place. I picked a laid back bar/restaurant. I try to mix up first date locations for the wait staff’s sake as well as my own. I base the choice of a casual or more formal venue on my sense of what might work best with a particular man (of course I have to like the place too).

4:45 p.m.: It’s raining like crazy as I drive to our date – slight butterflies, but mostly trying to maintain hope that this, my 100th give-or-take first date, will be a good one.

5:00 p.m.: I pull into the parking lot – right on time. Before I open the door, Mr. D calls me on my Google Voice number. Our first conversation – and it’s to tell me he’ll be 15 minutes late since he forgot his phone and had to return home to get it. Sigh. I tell him I’ll meet him inside. At least he doesn’t have a thick accent from his home state of New Jersey.

5:15 p.m.: It’s still pouring rain and I’m sitting in the last booth by the bar. I’m drinking a happy hour white wine, checking my phone for any updates from Mr. D, and looking at every single male who walks in the door. There’s a man who looks 80. That better may not be him! Phew, he keeps walking.

5:30 pm.: Okay, he’s now officially 30 minutes late and I’m trying to be calm. The waitress, sensing my frustration, tells me that rain and flooding are impacting traffic. I take another sip of pinot grigio, respond to a text from my brother, and note that there’s absolutely no one of interest sitting at the bar.

5:36 p.m.: I see a man enter the front door. He’s unattractive, definitely not 6′, walks rather stiffly, and appears to be wearing a “company” work shirt.  Oh, good, he’s leaving…wait, he’s taking out his cell phone to make a call. Yep, my phone is ringing. I tell Mr. D where I am (he apparently doesn’t text as I had sent him a text with my whereabouts) and he lumbers over to the booth.

Sigh. I would never have guessed that the man before me is the same one I’ve been communicating with on OurTime. Ladies, and gentlemen, I’m sure you have faced this situation before. You try to hide your utter disappointment at the disconnect between someone’s profile photos and the flesh and bone person in front of you. You have two choices: make the best of the situation or be a total bitch/dick, make an excuse and leave immediately. I try to make the best of it and stay for at least 30 minutes. I can talk to most anyone for 30-45 minutes. I draw on my journalism training and ask questions.

Mr. D is at least a nice man and makes an effort to get to know me. I stay for almost an hour (remember I waited 30+ minutes for him) but decline a second drink or any food. Side note: I’ve learned to not order food in these situations. Inevitably, the conversation stalls and you still have to eat/wait for the bill, etc. Mr. D plans on having another beer. He refuses my offer to pay for my wine and stands up to shake my hand (!) as I prepare to leave. Our height disparity is clear. “You’re tall!” he says. Yes, I think, as I remember that his profile promises a man who’s a full 2 inches taller than me.

6:45 p.m.: Home. Eating a sandwich made with bread from the bread store, and glad I don’t have to eat with Mr. D.

8:30 p.m. Looks like a Netflix night. It’s the premiere of The Incredible Jessica James and I’m loving the opening scene with actress Jessica Williams being brutally honest with a first Tinder date. Nothing like a funny movie to help soothe your disappointed heart.

9:30 p.m. My phone beeps with an email from Mr. D. (He definitely doesn’t text.) He writes that he enjoyed meeting me and hopes to see me again. I’ll email him tomorrow to say: I enjoyed meeting you too but, sorry, I don’t think we’re a match. At this moment, I’m more interested in what happens to Jessica.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia