Fizzling, Catfishing, and Lessons from a Millennial

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Fizzling

I was feeling too cocky – thinking I had defied the odds by getting responses to my proactive dating messages. I thought I was finally getting somewhere. But getting a response to your virtual pick-up line is only the first of many hurdles in this online dating sports event.

Let’s review my recent experiences while enjoying some Independence Day appropriate herby picnic potato salad.

One recent afternoon, I dropped my line into the Plenty of Fish pond when I noticed an attractive man had viewed me. His profile appealed and he said he was looking for a relationship. I pondered my opening line to him. I noticed that he had a garden so I decided to incorporate that into my message. “Do you grow basil in your garden?” I asked, “I need a supplier for my pesto.”

A short time later, Gary wrote back. “Basil is awesome,” he replied. “We could discuss this over a drink.”

Pay dirt, I thought.

“That’s possible,” I replied.

“Will you be in DC on Tuesday?” he asked.

“I will be in DC,” I responded, “attending a writing workshop in upper N.W. It ends at 6:15.”

“Is it near 12th & H Streets?” Gary asked.

This question immediately put me on guard. I recently had lunch with a man who drove from West Virginia for our first meeting and Gary appeared to be balking at a distance of under 5 miles.

“No,” I wrote, “I’ll be around upper Connecticut Avenue.” I then suggested a couple of venues in the vicinity of my class and asked if either one of these worked for him.

But Gary never replied. I’m not sure if this counts as ghosting since we had only exchanged a few messages. I’ll refer to it as fizzling. And it’s certainly rude.

Imagine having an in-person conversation with a guy and he walks away mid sentence. It feels almost as bad when this happens online.

Could Gary’s “fizzling” be related to the fact that I am 10 years older than him?

The problem with fizzling or ghosting is that you never know what happened or even if the runaway person’s reaction has anything to do with you.

Catfishing

It was time to move on to other possible targets of my affection. Next, I sent a message to Robert on Tastebuds, a mixed-use (dating, friends, concert buddies) site. We liked some of the same music and he was attractive, tall, and single. His profile contained little information so it was my job to ferret it out. Oh, and he was Bahamian, a “fact,” if true, that would play a key role in the end of our non-relationship.

I emailed Robert and asked about his favorite local music venues. We then corresponded about our jobs (in my case, retirement), marital status, and our children. I learned Robert was single and had a married son who had recently moved out of his house/apartment.

Here’s his verbatim message:

I have a son but his Married and he just moved out of the house that makes me very lonely .. Please can I have you mobile number ? I will be honored

Yes, I know Robert’s English and grammar are questionable but I decided to play along in hopes that (1) he was intelligent but that English was his second language and (2) the keyboard was not his friend.

Give me some slack. I’m in a dating dry spell and willing to entertain false hope.

Still I was suspicious of a declaration of loneliness and his career also had me wondering:

Am into art works importations and sales and I also do artworks interior decorations for homes and offices

I decided to give Robert my Google voice number so we could text. When he sent his number, I searched it and found it to be a Voice over Internet Protocol Washington state number. Strike 3 – almost out.

Once we started texting, it didn’t take long for my suspicions to be confirmed. Ultimately, he did not want to speak on the phone due to his thick accent.  Classic catfishing behavior.

The only thing I’ll share from my second catfishing encounter of the week was a tip I learned to help you search photos of matches on Google image search. If you crop the image closely to cut most of the background, Google is more likely to find the photo’s match. This helped me identify a Coffee Meets Bagel match from Virginia who in realty (no pun intended) was a realtor in Texas. The real guy is single and cute so maybe I should message him via Facebook and tell him someone stole his photo for nefarious dating purposes.

Lessons from a Millennial

I was sharing my frustrating non-dating week with my daughter. A tall, natural beauty in her late 20s, my “baby” hasn’t gone more than few months without a boyfriend since age 15. And this is without Facebook, which she refuses to join.

“I’d never do online dating,” she declared.

Daughter has met men in Starbucks, at various jobs, volunteer experiences, and through friends.

She instinctively knows how to send the right signals to a man she’s interested in.

“I just position myself,” she explained.

“Would you go up to a stranger and start talking?” I ask.

“Yes,” she said. “Men are afraid of rejection too. If I see an attractive man at a bar, I sit next to him. I might wait for him to talk to me. Depends on how I feel. Or I might start talking.”

She’s a natural. I have watched her masterfully look at an attractive man, look away, and return her gaze in the classic flirt maneuver.

It’s surreal when you’re in your 60s to get dating advice from your daughter. But it’s also fun and usually helpful. My plan is to channel my millennial daughter’s attitude and energy the next time I’m in a situation where I might meet men in real life.

If you enjoyed this post or any past ones, subscribe to get regular e-mail delivery. Follow me on social media too: Twitter, Facebook.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

From Burned out to Somewhat Hopeful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your challenge?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Facebook Stalking my Ex’s Girlfriend

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A couple of weeks ago, I made the mistake of Facebook stalking my ex’s current girlfriend (GF). I had not done this before and it was not premeditated. I was searching online for local music events and happened upon an upcoming performance by my ex- and his romantic partner. The duo’s title was their two last names. I had not known the GF’s last name and only accidentally learned of her first name when one of my children let it slip. So it was pretty easy to confirm that my ex’s band mate and GF are one in the same.

I’ll back up a bit to explain the situation. Join me in some warm fusilli salad while I fill you in. Although some divorced couples maintain communication, we don’t. Our children were adults when we divorced and now that all financial entanglements have been untangled, we have no “business” reason to communicate. And that’s fine with me. I’m just not feeling the desire to stay in touch.

Right after we divorced, I admit to some minor online stalking of my ex. I wanted to clarify the names of his bands to avoid attending a performance.

But after I had that intel, I had no further interest in e stalking. It was time to move on with my life. So it was a departure for me to snoop on his GF’s social media page.

More back story: this current GF is not the woman my ex took up with soon after we separated. She’s long gone. I was mildly curious about her replacement.

So when I popped open GF’S Facebook page, I saw that she was younger than my ex (and me) and blonde, like her predecessor. A cliché come to life. There are so many “experiential clichés” in life – e.g., middle-aged man buys a sports car.

The GF’s Facebook page had only a few photos and no pictures of my ex. A check of her “status” revealed she was “in a relationship” as of 2013. She didn’t name her significant other, but I knew it was my ex. And then I saw his complimentary comment about her latest photo.

I closed the page.

Here’s the funny part. If my ex came crawling back to me, I wouldn’t have him. Truth: I don’t want him. And yet, it hurts to see evidence of his relationship and how relatively easy it is (and has been) for him to find someone. This is a harsh reality of what I call dating disparity. In general, divorced men have an easier time finding a date, a companion, or a partner, than divorced women – especially in the boomer years. Challenge me on this but this has been my experience and what I have observed.

So when I’m in a dry spell and not meeting any men, when there are no possible relationships in my life, I think about dating disparity and my ex.

In contrast, when I’m dating and have lots of possibilities, there are few thoughts of either dating disparity or my ex.

I’m used to this cycle by now. Dating dry spells can lead to the blues and self-pity. But self-pity doesn’t offer any rewards. To counteract the blues, I learned that it helps to get busy, reach out to friends, do something new.

That’s why even though I knew in advance that opening the GF’s Facebook page might trigger some emotional shakiness; I also knew any blue notes would be brief. It’s called healing.

If you liked this post or any past ones, subscribe to get regular email delivery of Dating, Sex, and Life in your 60s.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

A Week in the Outer Limits

universe for blog

I spent the last week reading strange dating profiles and emails from strange men, wondering if there are any age-appropriate educated, nice, single guys out there. The dry spell continues. I guess this is my fault since I could be enjoying a tickling session with a married man or chivalry and fantastic orgasms with a transient convention goer, or even a ménage a trois with an attractive couple in their 40s.

I don’t have a sense of shock anymore.   The dating life for a woman in her 60s is a lot like encounters with aliens in The Outer Limits. Who are these creatures writing to me? I have become almost blasé about the variety of male idiosyncrasies.

At the same time, I no longer have adrenalin surges when I match with a guy, when a guy I “like” also “likes” me, or when a guy winks at or favorites me. Why? For some reason, none of these indications of interest mean that the fellow in question will take action. I don’t know whether the winks and flirtations are a game or the way unavailable men show appreciation.

Since picking my “matches” from the DC metro area is not working and because I am tired of this dry spell, I expanded my geographic search on the dating sites and apps. Now I can choose from the uneducated, strange, and short ones several hundred miles away.

Do you detect a hint of sarcasm, frustration, and anger? Yes.

To fully appreciate my week, read the following evidence while having a lovely meal of pappardelle with mushrooms:

From a married ticklish guy who wrote me to tell me I was not nice when I didn’t respond to his lunch invitation:

ticklish trying again with edits

From a man who offers a 72 hour special:

 

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From Ménage à Trois R Them (accompanied by a NSFW or this blog photo of 3 sets of intertwined legs):

Married couple rotated

From an out of shape emotional mess who still wants some fun:

emotionally crippled for blog

From a man who needs a class in personal marketing:

I'm too ugly for blog copy 

And that, dear readers, is a snapshot of my week in the Outer Limits. Send your comments! Most of all send your sympathy. And if you know any single guys, send them my way. It couldn’t be any more of a shot in the dark than online dating.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Dating Dry Spell Ramblings

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When I am in a dating dry spell, my mind wanders. I think about my (and other women’s) criteria for selecting partners, general unfairness in the dating world, and ways to get out of my rut.

Oh serendipity! Just as I’m writing this, I match with a guy on Tinder and he sent me a message. So this post will have a bit of hope in it.

Let’s address the 3 topics mentioned above while enjoying some rice and shrimp bake with feta cheese. Just substitute veggie or fish broth and use fresh herbs if possible.

*Criteria for date/partner selection

A dating dry spell triggers thoughts about whether I am too picky. When I re-entered the dating world in my 60s, I had few criteria. I didn’t really know what I was looking for – in part because I had little dating experience outside of my long marriage and because, following a divorce, it can take awhile to trust your instincts.

After a few short-term relationships, what seems like thousands of dates, and some analysis and self-reflection I fine-tuned my selection criteria.

These criteria encompass brains, age, height, attractiveness, sense of humor, empathy/lack of narcissism, and outlook on life. Here’s how these criteria have morphed over time:

Brains. I was less picky about academic credentials at the beginning. Now I realize I would like someone who has at least a 2-year degree. I am fully aware of the value of street and people smarts. It’s just that, in general, someone who has been to college tends to align better with my interests, etc.

Age. At the beginning, I was fine with dating guys 5 to 10 years older than me. Now, I lean toward younger men and consider those who are 10-12 years younger. There are always exceptions but I seem to fit better with a younger man in terms of outlook on life – joie de vivre.

-Height. I’m tall and I prefer taller men. My ex- was shorter than me and so were some of my romantic partners so I gave the height issue a good run. Tall guys just work better for me on a variety of levels (pun intended) so for now I’m swiping right on those 6’+ hotties.

-Attractiveness. Although there are some “types” I like, I can be attracted to guys with a variety of looks – from Matt Damon to George Clooney (right — I can dream.) Over time, I learned that there are certain types I am not attracted to…so I swipe left or don’t reach out to them.

-Sense of humor. It has to be there. This is a deal breaker. Enjoyment of mild sarcasm and an ability to be silly are definite turn-ons. This criterion has not morphed over time.

-Empathy/lack of narcissism. No more narcissists. At the beginning, I was more forgiving of this character flaw but I learned my lesson.

-Outlook on life. This is another non-negotiable criterion. I seek a positive, optimistic, fun-loving and adventurous man. I’m not happy if I date someone with a negative worldview.

*General unfairness in the dating world 

-From what my friends and I have witnessed, it’s a lot easier for “older” men to find a partner. Certainly my ex and most of the exes of my divorced single friends are coupled.

Statistically speaking, the ratio of single men to single women gets less favorable as we age. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of unmarried men and women is about equal at age 40. Starting at age 45, there’s a decline in the number of single men. At age 64, there are 62 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women. Ouch – so the shortage is real.

-Not only are there fewer men as we age but society “trains” men to be more critical of a woman’s natural aging than of a man’s. Yes, there are “cougars” but, in general, you see more May/December couplings with older men/younger women. Side note: I was intrigued by the May/December marriage (he’s 55, she’s 70) of the Florida couple that won part of the recent enormous Powerball jackpot. I’d love to know their story.

*Ways to get out of my rut

         –In addition to the survival tips I offered in a previous post on dating dry spells, I am trying speed dating for a second time tonight. I am somewhat burned out on online dating and there’s a lot of appeal to finding out in 6 minutes whether you and the man you are sitting across from have any chemistry or potential chemistry. This will be my second foray into speed dating. Wish me luck!

-In another in-person activity, this coming week I’m going to a happy hour sponsored by one of the dating sites. I’ll be asking the wizard for some lioness courage before I go to that event.

What do you think about or do when you’re in a dating dry spell? What makes you angry? What gives you hope? Send comments!

If you liked this post or any past ones, sign up for regular email delivery of this blog.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

Online Dating: Epic Fails, Firsts, and Freaks

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Despite the recent wet and snowy weather, I’m in another dating dry spell. Oh, yes, there was my date in late January with the younger man who kissed like a steamroller (and that’s putting it nicely). Since that epic fail, my dating life has consisted of:

*Endless and slow-paced Tinder messaging (Hi, Hi, How are you? Good, How are you? I’m good, what are you doing? ad nauseum) that doesn’t result in an actual meeting

*Deleting emails from strange guys, and

*Falling on the floor in uncontrollable laughter at some of the profiles in my match list.

So, join me in a super sweet potato chickpea Buddha bowl while I share some of the epic fails, firsts, and freaks from my dating files.

Profile of a man who believes that size does not affect spirituality:

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Profile of a man on Tinder who believes a curriculum vitae is better than any pick-up line. Certainly a man who has strategic planning ability is a major turn-on for me.  

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Profile of a man who is unsure of his availability…perhaps…maybe:

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Profile of a man who knows just what to write to appeal to a woman:

I am separated and live alone with my cat.

Profile of a man who is so popular that he has to weed out some of his thousands of prospects:

I apologize but: Due to the volume of messages. If you are bigger than a size 18, not only will I not read your messages but I will delete them and block you as soon as possible.

Message from a man who apparently wrote to me and I failed to respond (perhaps due to his extreme geographic incompatibility):

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Profile of a man of uncommon height:

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Message from a meteorologically sensitive guy:

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No comment:

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Profile of a man seeking his clone:

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Message from a confused, scary man who thinks my name is Phoebe and who is likely as nutty as the weirdos he disparages:

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Profile of a man who travels almost 2/3 of the year…but hey, when you see him, you see ALL of him…

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Profile of a “man” who stole a woman’s profile (read to the end)…and not a great profile:

lipstick

Message from a man who can discern texture through photography:

soft feet

Message from a 20-year-old who might be 40+ years too young:

better pix from 20 year old

Send me your dating fails! And don’t forget to subscribe to this blog. Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Roller Coaster Not Dating Life: Men, learn some manners

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It’s time for some updates on my strange singles week. Let’s chat and enjoy an Arugula Greek Salad.

As you may recall, when we last connected I was riding the roller coaster world of dating – or not-dating — and had ended the week with a mixed message from one man and a rejection from the other.

Mr. A, a man I had spoken to by phone, ignored an email I sent after our first phone conversation. Then, several days later and against dating protocol, he called me on a Saturday night. I didn’t recognize the number and didn’t answer the call. Mr. A is the man whose real age, according to my sleuthing, is 5 years older than his profile indicates. Mr. B came into my life via a Facebook introduction from a mutual friend. However, he messaged me to say his life is too crazy busy to consider starting something.

Here are the updates and a new dilemma. I never returned Mr. A’s Saturday night call but he messaged me the next day to say he was in Florida visiting his daughter. So I decided to reply and we had a good conversation. Mr. A said we obviously had phone chemistry and should meet after he returned from Florida. He suggested dinner on Saturday night and I said o.k., even though I don’t always agree to dinner on a first meeting – especially on a Saturday. I agreed since he would be driving quite a distance. (Note to inquiring minds: he planned to stay overnight with his sister who lives nearby).

By Saturday morning, I still had not heard from Mr. A to confirm our plans. Since I wasn’t feeling well, I texted him to say I wasn’t sure our date was solid and that regardless I was not feeling up to going out. No response. So, another “fade away” as I like to call the matches who disappear without a trace.

Now for an update on Mr. B, the Facebook friend. I had written Mr. B off after he messaged me to say he was too busy to consider starting something. My reply was “As you wish” and a comment that this is my favorite quote from The Princess Bride. Unexpectedly, the next day, Mr. B wrote back to suggest we meet for coffee when things calm down in a week.   My only thought is that my reference to The Princess Bride must have captured his imagination because he included a photo from the movie in his text. Hope sprang (yes, it’s a real word) eternal!

Then, yesterday, over a week later, I see a Facebook photo update of Mr. B taken by a woman on what is obviously a hike in the woods. So, perhaps Mr. B is already seeing someone. And given my luck lately (yes, an obnoxious reminder of the dating dry spell another one has likely bitten the dust.

Before I leave my update on the strange singles week, a new match possibility emerged that presents a problem related to Mr. A’s age contradiction.

The problem guy, Mr. C, is on OkCupid, a site that seems to be increasingly attractive to romance scammers. Mr. C’s profile says he is single, which can mean never married, divorced, widowed, or separated. However, when I ran a security check on him, I found mention of a possible former or current wife but no reference to a divorce (divorce records are often online and included in an identity service’s report).

In a phone conversation, I asked Mr. C if he was never married, separated, widowed or divorced (trying to sound neutral). He started to say, “sep….and then switched to “divorced.” Freudian slip? True indication of his status?

When I sleuthed some more, I found another dating profile of his – on Plenty of Fish (POF) — with no picture and his marital status listed as separated.

I contemplated creating a fake identity on POF – just like the scammers – so I could email Mr. C to verify his status. (Yes, you can call me determined if nothing else.) I signed up using this new identity but have not taken the time to find and load a photo.

So, while I pondered whether I had gone overboard in my sleuthing, Mr. C and I had another good phone conversation. He asked if I was ready to meet. I said yes, despite my questions about his marital status. Why? I liked him and hoped my findings could be explained – e.g., old free profile he never took down. I planned to politely ask him about his marital status in person. My thought was that, if nothing else, it would be good copy for Dating, Sex, and Life in your 60s.

Side note about an interesting phenomenon: the writing of this blog compels me to pursue various situations as a learning experience for my readers and me. I plan to write more about this – how writing a blog can empower you — in a future post.

Back to the update: The last phone call I had with Mr. C, the possibly divorced guy, was Monday night while he was driving. (Pet peeve: does anyone NOT multitask when talking on the phone?)

Five days later, on Friday night at 10:00 p.m., Mr. C sent me a text to see if I could meet for coffee the next morning. He acknowledged the last minute aspect. Ha! Plus he spelled my name wrong. And the kicker? When I checked his profile, his photo was down. The profile was still visible but no photo. I texted him back to say my dance card was filled and asked about the photo. He said he didn’t like the photo and would be putting up a new one. When? After his divorce? A profile without a photo is always suspicious.

This was too much. I don’t think I can meet him – even for the sake of good copy.   If I add up the lack of divorce confirmation in the identify report, the extra POF profile, the Freudian slip when I asked him his marital status, and the disappearing photo on OkCupid, I am left with too many negatives.

These recent interactions have prompted a big question: what do you do when you find out information about a prospect that doesn’t match his profile?

Do you ask the guy about the discrepancy before you meet and risk looking “creepy,” particularly when the information you unearthed may not be accurate? Or do you ask him about it during your first coffee date? Or do you just “fade away” like so many men do?

Has anyone experienced this situation? What did you do?

All of these interactions also illustrate the epic lack of manners that is pervasive in the dating world. It’s too easy to be rude. You can hide behind text messages, false profiles, and geography. You’re not likely to run into someone you’ve met online so you can just fade away without embarrassing in-person run-ins. I would love to hear examples of rude dating behavior. Send a comment or tweet to #rudedates.

I’m hoping scientific research can uncover ways to engage in mass brainwashing to instill good manners.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating! XXXOOO Nadia