App-less April: Nadia Style

blog pix app-less April

 

Did you know this is App-less April?

For the second April in a row, Bustle, an online women’s magazine, is challenging readers and staff to delete their dating apps and meet people in real life.

It’s no surprise that online dating frustrates daters of all ages. Whether you’re using apps or websites, most singletons would prefer to meet people in real life.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know about my challenges – from finding men I like enough to date to revoking, ghosting, catfishing, breadcrumbing and just plain crummy behavior.

So, I’ve decided to embark on my own version of App-less April. Won’t you join me in a send-off meal of Tori Avey’s spice-broiled salmon with green apple salad?

This coming Monday morning, I will delete all of my apps and hide my dating profiles for a week (why lose out on the heavy Sunday activity?) After seven days, I will reassess this plan and decide whether I should continue.

Why this short trial period and not an extended detox? Despite its many problems, online dating gives me hope. Every couple of days there’s a new romantic possibility or two. The hope that one of these prospects will be “the one” keeps me going.

There are lots of resources with suggestions on how and where to meet men in real life. The big question is: Will I be able to do more than I am already doing (which apparently is not enough)?

When you rely on apps and dating sites, it’s easy to not push yourself to go out solo, or walk up to that cute stranger. Will knowing that I have no back-up plan waiting for me on my computer or phone motivate me to do more and take more risks? Tune in to future posts for the answer.

For inspiration, I’m ruminating over a recent online dating experience. Encounters like this are not unusual (although I find this one super weird) – and that’s the problem.

Mr. M., an interesting and quirky guy from Match, sends me a good first message. He clearly read my profile and his email points out what we have in common.

His message ends with:

“I am geographically close by to meet up for coffee some time. It would be a pleasure to meet you.”

I write back with an equally profile-specific email and comment that I’d like to meet for coffee (or wine) too and that I’m free this coming Tuesday.

I don’t hear back for a week but see that Mr. M. is online sporadically. I forget about him and conclude that Mr. M. is another non-responder who has lost interest.

Eight days later, he writes again:

“Sorry about missing the chance to meet with you this past Tuesday evening. No events. Just my own stupidity.

I would like to have the chance for us to meet. I am not a wine drinker. Coffee or hot tea is good by me. So. if you know of a place that serves both, we can both be pleased. 

I am free this Tuesday; but have a speech to hear on Monday, and a film on Wednesday.

I hope to hear back from you.” 

Since I’m a nice person, I decide to give Mr. M. another chance.  I write back noting that I am also free on Tuesday and suggest a place we could meet.

Once again, Mr. M. fails to respond to me. This time he is not online. One week goes, by, two weeks, and then three weeks. Still no response; and he is not online. I fear he is dead or hospitalized. With the few clues I have, I search for him online but I don’t know his last name or phone number (I planned to ask for the latter before meeting).

Then, out of the blue, I see that he viewed me. I’m curious as hell and want to know what happened. At the same time, I realize that the only way I would consider meeting him would be if he had an incredible excuse to end all excuses.

I write Mr. M.:

Hi, At this juncture, I’m curious about what happened to you since you never responded to me. Just trying to make sense of this crazy online dating world and an abundance of mixed messages.

As the more jaded of you have already guessed, he didn’t respond. He’s online frequently now.

What are your suspicions about Mr. M.? Pick one:

  1. Married?
  2. Girlfriend?
  3. Insane?
  4. Typical rude dater?
  5. All of the above?

None of these answers would be wrong. And that’s why I’m going App-less for 7 days.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Top 10 Dating Obstacles

dating obstacles

If you follow Olympics-related news, you likely read that obstacle course racing may become an Olympic sport.

Coincidentally – and despite having some romance possibilities — I have recently been thinking about dating obstacles.

Let’s ponder this issue while indulging in a lunch fit for an athlete or dater in training.

To appreciate the variety of dating obstacles, it’s worth a quick review of obstacle course racing (OCR).

According to Wikipedia, OCR is “a sport in which a competitor, traveling on foot, must overcome various physical challenges that are in the form of obstacles. Mud and trail runs are combined and the races are designed to result in mental and physical collapse.”

Note the reference to mental and physical collapse, which I bolded. I find this is a good analogy for the mental burnout that can result from the trials of modern dating.

Listed below, for your reading pleasure, sympathy, and empathy are the top 10 online and app dating obstacles:

*Finding someone you like and are attracted to

To do so, you must wade through a series of profiles with awful photos, poor to nonexistent writing skills, and such descriptors as “married” and “God-fearing.”

*Finding someone who also likes you

Hopefully your retooled, now excellent profile and carefully chosen photos serve you well.

*Connecting

Perhaps you view Mr. Z’s profile. Mr. Z then views your profile and photos. Does he write to you? Do you write to him? If neither one of you reaches out – even if someone has “favorited” or “winked” at the other person, call it a lost cause.

*Moving beyond the emails and texts

If you start corresponding with someone, will you get beyond this form of communication? Will you speak on the phone or arrange to meet? Or, will he or you just stop writing?

*Having a phone call

If you end up having a phone conversation, will it be good and balanced or will one of you indulge in a monologue?

*Moving beyond the phone call

Assuming you have a phone conversation, does he initiate an in-person meeting? Do you want to meet him or did he say something that turned you off?

*Scheduling

If an in-person meeting/date is proposed, can you find a day and time to meet? Does he live an hour away? Can you both find a convenient time and location?

*Follow-through and waiting

Perhaps you have a tentative date scheduled but lately he’s been online quite a bit and you start to wonder if the date will be finalized. You worry that he’s window-shopping for his best option (as he sees it).

Do you hang in, keep busy, and keep looking (the old “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” cliché)? This is a particularly challenging obstacle. With any luck, your date will be confirmed and finalized.

*In-person meeting

If you are finally on an in-person meeting/date, is there chemistry and connection? Does he look like his photos? Do you? Is there give and take during the conversation? Flirting? Real listening?

What’s his body language like? Does he dive into inappropriate topics such as the terms of his divorce, previous relationships, or recent surgeries?

Do you want to kiss him? Is he a decent kisser?

*Second date

Was there enough good in the first date to consider a second one? Does he text you after date #1? When/if will he ask you out? Will you go out with him again?

If everything fizzles at this point, and there is no second date, sit down and rest. You may be exhausted from running and leaping over obstacles. But don’t give up. Keep at it.

Eventually (and it might be a long eventually), you’ll ace this almost Olympic event and go on that second, third, fourth, and fifth date….

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

From Burned out to Somewhat Hopeful

blog woman profile

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

 

 

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:

 

Image 1

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

blog woman thinking of man

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

The Small Town World of Online Dating

Like every small town, the microcosm of one’s online dating universe, is composed of familiar characters — from the “angry town drunk” to the “shy old fashioned guy.”

You might nod at these townies as you pass by on the way to “the new hot one” or the “back again after a breakup guy.” And some of them might reach out to you on a regular basis. Let’s discuss the small town world of Matchville while munching on some classic macaroni and cheese revamped by skinnytaste for a modern healthy lifestyle.

Strolling down the too familiar streets of Matchville’s Recently Viewed Lane and Connections Boulevard, I encounter a familiar face – Mr. G.

Mr. G first wrote to me when we both resided on PlentyofFish Town. I kindly let him know that I didn’t think we matched (age, height, common interests, language difficulties on his part) but he has continued to check in periodically on Matchville to tell me to not give up and to let me know he wished we could see each other.

Sometimes his emails boost my ego: “Why haven’t you been snatched up? The guys here are fools,” etc. etc. When I’m in a dry spell, an email from Mr. G can keep me going. At other times, Mr. G’s persistence gets on my nerves.

Then there’s the recently moved to Matchville “thinks he’s hot” guy who is my new best friend. At first, his brief over-confident one liners amused me, even as I told him we were not a match. But now, this neighbor is becoming the one I want to avoid and I’m dreaming of toilet papering his tree. “I will rock your world,” he writes, “Let’s go get a drink tonight.” No surprise – he hasn’t commented on anything substantive in my profile and all of his emails focus on HIM and why he would be so great for me. This townie will be blocked.

The shy old-fashioned guy still exists. He started out writing to me several months ago during the broadcast of an award show. It took him awhile to suggest a date – going to a concert some time this summer. I kept looking at his profile searching for interests in common and hoping I would find him attractive but I couldn’t swing it. Plus he lived pretty far away so I stopped responding (yes – guilty of ghosting).

Shy guy still views me periodically and sends a short “how are you doing” email as if to stop me as I walk down Matchville’s main street. But I keep on walking.

Another townie is the “possibly creepy but maybe just lonely guy.” One such guy views me periodically. Two years ago we viewed each other on a regular basis and then finally exchanged emails. I can’t recall who reached out first. Things seemed promising even though Mr. L is a decade younger than me.

We ended up emailing about dating and relationships and started to make plans to meet. Then he revealed that he has ED and is trying to explore other ways of being intimate. I thanked him for his honesty about a subject that is not easy for most men to discuss. After letting him know what I was looking for — and given my relatively recent divorce – I wanted the whole kahuna :smile:, our emails stopped. To this day, Mr. L views me on occasion. I sense his loneliness and sometimes wonder if I should suggest we get coffee and just talk.

There are other types and regulars in Matchville. And just like a small town, I know something of everyone’s business. I know when a guy has started seeing someone regularly because his profile is “hidden” or he hasn’t been online in 3 weeks. Some of these guys might be exes and I feel a pang when I think they have found someone and I haven’t.

I have a history with a lot of Matchville’s residents and it’s starting to feel too much like a small town. I’m getting bored and tired of the search. It’s not that I’m in a dry spell. There are some irons in the fire but nothing definite yet. I’m just impatient and ready for big city life.

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

View from the Trenches: At Peace with Dating or Not Dating

It’s always good to hear about the dating life of other single women. If nothing else, it’s comforting to know that you are not the only one on the receiving end of some strange male dating behaviors. And when things go well, you give or receive hope from your support group.

Let’s find out about Gina Sangster’s dating experiences while we have Marcella Hazan’s classic pesto. This is my favorite pesto recipe and my go-to summertime staple.

Well, things have flat-lined – again – in my latest dating effort. Inspired by a recent ageist comment about Senior People Meet (I think it was something about denture-wearers) I re-upped my subscription. I’ll show them, huh? I had sworn off all dating sites for the past year and while not a hermit, my day to day life affords few opportunities to meet potential dating partners. That reality, and closing in on 65 which equals being invisible, irrelevant, disposable and even at times pitiable in public make my chances slim to none.

I keep forgetting that having gray hair means you can’t stand up on the Metro and while I still swoon for chivalry in a young man, it really bugs me when a woman close to my age offers me her seat. Hidden within this aging body with its head of silver curls lurks a formerly hot chick, a babe, a true blue pretty girl that even the women’s movement of the raging 70’s couldn’t squelch. So I decided to give on-line dating one more whirl.

I could stomach doing this because I stopped caring about whether or not I’ll ever meet someone, unlike when I was first sprung from my 20-year marriage just shy of 50 on the edge of the millennium when print personals were still in fashion. I met Rick, sturdy-looking, bald, divorced with a winning smile. He was wearing jeans and a nice shirt, just the pulled together casual style I like, and we made out like teenagers in front of the Library of Congress fountain with its spraying turtles, serpents and bold, muscular nudes. It seemed like we dated for years but it was only a few months. He slid right into my family, picking up my teenaged daughter from a friend’s house, sharing Thanksgiving dinner with us, showing a genuine interest in my young son’s martial arts practice. But I soon discovered he wasn’t over his last girlfriend, so he bowed out just before Valentines’ Day when I’d imagined us spending a romantic weekend at some bed n’ breakfast in the Shenandoah. Rick set the bar pretty high and in some ways my dating experience has been downhill ever since.

Not that I blame all the men. I’ve chosen to devote time and energy to relationships that were doomed from the start. How about a man calling from Saudi Arabia who even when he’s at home in the States would be about 500 miles away? I carried a torch for him for a couple of years, though we only saw each other maybe half a dozen times. Or the dapper man I dated for about 9 months who had habits you’d expect of a 15 year old: not calling when he said he would, coming up with lame excuses like he left his phone at home or fell asleep watching TV, all the while professing how much he cared for me and wanted our relationship to be meaningful. These ventures into dating boot camp help me stay grounded as a psychotherapist; though I reveal none of this to my clients, they feel my compassion as they share the disasters of their lives for which they suffer terrible guilt and shame. I’m pretty good at curing most cases of guilt and shame.

So my latest half-hearted return to on-line dating through Senior People Meet netted me a brief flurry of activity, headed up by the man who was especially excited because we’re about the same height which is less than five feet tall. I know it’s crass and superficial of me to admit that I just couldn’t cope with the prospect. Perhaps if his voice on the phone had been less grating and he hadn’t made one more joke about us “seeing eye-to-eye,” I might have considered it. Then the guys from Texas, Florida, and all over the South and Midwest who ignore the plea in my profile for contact only with men local to the DC area; and the men with little education who can’t write a complete sentence and wouldn’t know a comma or capitalization if it sat in their lap; never mind the beloved semi-colon. For me, education doesn’t have to be Ivy League; in fact, I prefer if it isn’t. The School of Hard Knocks is fine with me, as long as he’s literate. No picture? What is it about men who like a woman’s photo but post none of their own? We’re visual creatures too and while a man’s looks may not tell the whole story, how is it fair that we get to be seen but can’t see who’s watching? Oh, and the penchant for not answering a nice, inviting message? Even if the answer is no, why the silent treatment?

Here’s what I’d like: a man in a decent shirt, no tie; jeans or some other form of casual garb, photographed recently – let’s say within the last year – with no hair dye or hair piece, looking like he’s at home in his own body. No pictures of his kids or grandchildren need to be featured; that can come later. A dog or cat would be fine. If he’s snow-boarding, skiing, sky-diving, sailing around the world or clocking in under three-hour marathons, we may not be a match. Athletic is good, but not to excess; I love my weekly yoga class and long walks but I’m not going to keep up with an Iron-man competitor. Some extra poundage is fine; in fact, better than skinny in my book. Bald is okay too; Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas were stars of my formative years. I like smart and funny, curious and passionate; someone like me, only taller.

I’ll let my Senior People Meet subscription run its course and will check in when I get a “flirt” or message, but my heart isn’t in it. And there’s relief in that, to be at peace with my life as it is, with work that I love, friendships to nurture, and great relationships with my kids and grandsons. A wise woman once told me, “Well, you know, you can’t have it all.” Not something we hardcore feminists wanted to believe, but it’s true.

Gina Sangster

June 13, 2015