When you’re not having great luck with online dating, redoing your profile can help your “personal marketing” efforts. I’ve been in rewrite mode a number of times over the – insert sigh – years, but lately I’ve been suffering from online dating burnout and my profiles are gathering dust. The good news? Something inspired me recently to redo my Tinder and Bumble profiles.
I’ll explain while we enjoy a generous helping of vegan pumpkin panna cotta– a delicious dessert you could make for Thanksgiving. I used coconut milk and simmered it for 5 minutes after it boiled.
Tinder was not my first choice for a dating app. I waited until its reputation as a vehicle for hook-ups faded and it became just another way to meet people. I was, however, an early adopter of Bumble, which hands the power of first contact to women.
My profiles on these two apps are almost identical and I’ve had some luck with matching and dating but now I’m in a dry spell.
Dating inspiration came during a recent visit with my daughter who I will call Ms. D for daughter. Ms. D casually mentioned she joined Tinder. A gorgeous 31-year-old, she has good luck meeting men in real life. She’s not a fan of social media and until signing up for Tinder, had no interest in online dating. So I was surprised she had downloaded the app, particularly since she has been dating someone.
However, I’m used to Ms. D suddenly springing things on me (“Hey Mom, I might go to Thailand or the Bahamas this winter.) And she explained that the guy she has been seeing is not long-term potential. Perhaps her biological clock is ticking? I kept my mouth shut. I was curious about her profile. I knew her pictures would be enough to match a good number of Tinderfellas but I wondered what she wrote.
She offered to show me her profile. It’s perfect. As a writer who agonizes over every word and punctuation mark, I sometimes get caught up in making my profiles so clever and cleanly written that I lose what’s really important – ensuring that my unique personality comes through. In four short sentences, Ms. D’s profile captures her individuality and even highlights known “guy attracting elements” such as baking skill.
Sorry, I can’t share what she wrote. But I can tell you that I was inspired to throw out my old profile and pen a fresh one. I chose very specific interests to highlight and ditched the “creative headline” which had not brought me Mr. Right. I posted the profile on both Tinder and Bumble. I wondered if I would get more matches. And something interesting happened. A guy I kept passing without contact on Match and OurTime said yes to me on Tinder. He’d never reached out on either of these more traditional sites. I was thrilled. But my joy was short-lived. A short time later, he unmatched me. Was the initial match accidental? Did he finally notice my age? One never knows with the online dating world. As my mood plummeted, I decided to tweak my profile again. I realized it was still too “produced.” So I upped the quirkiness factor.
Will this new profile be my ticket to a relationship? As a 60 something singleton, I can’t expect the same response from Tinder men that my daughter received. In her first 24 hours on Tinder, she matched with about the same number of men I matched with in all of 2017. But I’m not looking for quantity at this point. Just one good one.
Many writers dream that one day they’ll write the great American novel. I dream about writing the great American dating profile. And why not? I have a few writing chops. The question is: Can I translate those skills into the greatest dating profile of all time? Sit with me and let’s discuss over some crostini with pea pesto ricotta spread. Pair with a crisp pinot grigio.
A couple of weeks ago I realized my dating profile needed retooling. I’ve written 4 or 5 different versions of my profile since I started online dating. In some cases, I approached the task as a profile tear down, building it back up in a new way; at other times I did a modest renovation. I like to think that the latest one is always the best so far.
Side note: More minute changes such as updating “last book read” should be done biweekly or monthly. I know from personal experience that when I make a tiny change in my profile (sometimes just changing a comma to a semicolon), the dating bots highlight my effort to their male subscribers and I get an uptick in views and messages. Try it and see if you notice an increase in interest.
I decided it was time for a tear down followed by all new construction. As with most challenges, I began with some quiet thinking time. I asked myself, what are the most important qualities that I seek in a man? I then thought about my attributes. Both inquiries turned into lists. I then reviewed a dating profile of a 60-something woman who had great success with online dating.
It was time for research and my friend Google. You can easily pull up between 5 and 7 million hits by searching for how to write a great dating profile or how to write a great dating profile for a woman.
One of my best resources was actually a scientific study published in 2015 in the British Medical Journal. This study was a meta-analysis, a study of studies, on online dating. My favorite part of the paper, other than the findings, was the Acknowledgements section: The authors would like to thank the potential dates who turned down one of us repeatedly, encouraging us to think about the effectiveness of online dating.
Ha! You’ve got to love scientists with a sense of humor.
This study, combined with several articles, and some reflection on articles and books I’d read in the last couple of years led me to identify some principles of the written portion of good profiles that I wanted to capture in my new version.
Second side note: I’m not focusing on dating profile photos in this blog post, but they are critically important to your dating success. Make sure your main pictures are current and consider having a professional photographer. Read about my photo shoot.
Good Dating Profiles (for women):
*Use a playful, positive screen name. Try to make it similar to the screen names of men you find attractive.
*Pick a screen name that starts with a letter early in the alphabet so it pops up earlier in a dating site search.
*Choose simple language for your headline.
*Your profile should be 70% about you and 30% about your ideal match.
*Emphasize character traits and hobbies that are people and value-centric. Focus on likeability, not academic achievement. (As I had to tell one guy, this is a dating site, not LinkedIn.)
*Use words such as romance, heart, and love (even if love is in reference to an activity you enjoy).
*Show emotional availability.
*Show your passion and what excites you.
*Make your first few sentences stand out.
*I like to have a theme for each profile (e.g., music, cooking, outdoor activities, etc.).
*Men prefer women whose physical fitness activities are yoga, aerobics, and the gym. (Scratch that reference to power lifting – but continue to power lift since men will love the result.)
After internalizing all of these principles, I crafted a new profile and screen name and rotated my primary photo from my last professional shoot.
I’m on several sites so I’ve been working my way through each of them, deleting the old profile and inserting the new one. The sites always take a little time to approve any revisions so each time I update my profile, I patiently wait for my “rebirth.”
The result of my effort? I have received more views and more emails. Unfortunately, it’s not a magic fix.
The key is to have that new and great profile available online when the “one” joins the site or happens to be searching and finds me.
Baby, it’s cold outside, #Snowzilla/Jonas has begun, and you’re stocked up on food, toilet paper, and wine, beer, or spirits. In between binge watching your shows and tweeting about the accumulation, take advantage of a mostly captive online dating audience.
Not only do you have a chance to interact with all the new “recruits” who signed up in early January but also more people will be housebound and surfing the dating sites this weekend. So go forth my daters and hang out online.
For once, meeting in the wild (unless you’re shoveling next to a cute neighbor), is not even on the table. Speaking of “the table,” put this yummy roasted vegetable lasagna on yours – unless you have no power, in which case, enjoy your peanut butter sandwich.
Snow bunnies, here are my dating life suggestions for this weekend:
Be current. Refresh your dating profile headline with a weather-related invitation or challenge. I changed the headline on all of my dating profiles to “Snowball fight in DC this weekend?” This question is a great opener for a guy who has run out of good introductory messages. See my previous post for some pitiful examples of hello e-mails. Since I posted my snow headline two days ago, my online traffic has risen. No winners yet but the weekend isn’t over.
If you haven’t updated or refreshed your profile(s) recently, take a few minutes to revise. Try to be creative – think of a guy’s profile that made you laugh or impressed you. Can you use it as inspiration and modify yours?
Remember that guys are visual creatures. Do you have any recent photos you can upload to your profiles? Or, perhaps you can take a cute selfie of you playing in the snow – or falling on your butt.
Sign up for a new app, or a general or niche-dating site you haven’t tried before. Here are my reviews and ratings of three sites/apps I recently signed up for:
*Star Trek Dating I love Star Trek and science fiction so I figured this would be a great site for me. I made a Star Trek specific profile, adding in fun stuff about replicators, Klingons, and the Borg. Unfortunately, no one else on this site seems to have any interest in Star Trek or science fiction. And no one has any fun with the concept. Few men are in my geographic area and the ones who reach out are more alien than human.
Now that my free trial is over, I can’t see the photos of those who view me. I can send a free message but can’t read messages unless I pay. Since I haven’t gotten any exciting prospects, I don’t feel like getting out my credit card. Grade: C
*Stitch Despite the name, this is not a site for sewing fiends. This site/ app is an online “community” established to help mature people age 50+ find companionship, whether it’s a new friend, a romantic interest, or an event buddy who could accompany a member to a movie.
You can join Stitch for free which allows you to browse 3 profiles a day and chat with members. A full membership costs $80 a year and allows for direct messaging, identity verification, greater control over search distance, and other features.
I have been diligently reviewing my daily free profiles and “stitched” or mutually matched with one man who lives in NYC. If two people want to connect with each other, they are “stitched” and notified of the mutual interest. I wrote to my stitch; he wrote back and said he might visit DC in the future and perhaps we could meet.
Aside from Mr. NYC, I have not been interested in any of the men whose profiles I have reviewed and most of them live far away. Grade: C+
*Tastebuds Who wouldn’t love a music-oriented dating service? I thought this was a great idea. This free dating site and app allows you to create a profile based on your favorite music artists and songs.
In the future, the founders say they will help members connect through festivals, gigs, and music meet-ups. I can’t wait.
My biggest problem with Tastebuds – like so many of the apps – is that there are not enough members in my area. It is interesting to scroll through the members from all over the world, and I might try to connect with some of them on my next European adventure. Unfortunately, for everyday dating, the pickings are slim. Grade: B for concept.
Take a good look at your wardrobe and pre-select some good first date outfits. Group them together in the closet so if you get an impromptu invitation, you won’t have to agonize about what to wear.
For future reference, make a list of all the good places to meet for a first or second date – whether it’s restaurants with good happy hours, wine bars, places that have late night happy hours, coffee shops with a good vibe, and anything different like an ice-skating rink or a new exhibit at a local museum.
Stay warm and safe! Until next week, happy dating or not dating!
Set up alternate profiles (without pictures) on all of the sites you are on.
This won’t work for Facebook-based apps such as Tinder or Bumble but you will find it immensely helpful for traditional sites such as Match, OkCupid, and Plenty of Fish. First of all, having an alter ego will allow you the freedom to browse any profiles you are interested in without your “target’s” knowledge. Bonus: you won’t have to pay for premium private browsing.
By the way, “private” isn’t really private on OkCupid. I’m constantly seeing fleeting glimpses of guys who think they are hidden when viewing me. Hidden is not totally hidden and, if you’re online, you will briefly see the voyeur with his screen name.
Your alter ego’s profile should be somewhat similar to your “real profile” but not so similar that one would guess it’s the same person. Change the age by a couple of years, change your height slightly, choose a different eye color (remember you won’t have a photo), and pick a nearby city within your desired geographic area.
The advantage of not creating a drastically different profile is that it will increase your chance of matching with some guys you will like. You will get some of the same matches as your real profile but will also receive some new previously unseen matches. If you’d like to contact these new guys using your real profile, just search for them by user name.
I find it interesting and curious that some men will write to my alter ego even though I don’t have a picture. There’s hope for the male population after all!
Log into your dating sites if it’s cold and rainy
It may be obvious but more guys are online when the weather outside is frightful – even if they’re watching a game while checking their dating apps.
What to say to your Tinder or Bumble match when there is zero information in their profile:
Since you didn’t have any info about yourself or your interests in your profile, I hope you won’t mind if I ask you “the elevator speech” question. I think it’s easier than 10 back and forth texts. If we were in an elevator and you had 20 seconds to tell me about yourself, what would you say?
How to reply to an 88-year-old man who asks you out:
Thanks for the invitation. You’ve got a great profile but I don’t think we are an age match. Good luck.
How to reply to a 20-year-old man who asks you out:
I don’t date men younger than my children.
What to do when you need new dating ideas:
Look at upcoming or past activities of Meetups even if you’re not a member (unless the group blocks viewing by non-members). You’ll find lots of good ideas from people who spend time coming up with activities. In addition to trying one of the activities on a date, consider joining one of these groups.
What it means when a Tinder or Bumble match’s location changes drastically:
When a match’s distance from you changes from 15 miles to 5500 and then back to 15, it usually means he’s a scammer operating on the other side of the world. He just hasn’t figured out how to alter his location to be consistent. Just Google: how to change your location on your phone (or on Tinder) and you’ll find a number of hacks.
Unless this location-shifting guy is really a big-time international traveler (and he might say he is), chances are he’s not legitimate.
My latest scammer on Tinder said he was in South Korea on business as a marine engineer. See my previous post on dating scams. Engineering is a favorite occupation of catfishers. And of course, these guys often say they are widowers.
What to say (via text) to a Tinder or Bumble match you haven’t heard from in several days (unlike traditional dating sites, you can’t tell if a Tinder or Bumble match is online):
Thought I would say good morning and ask if you’d like to continue corresponding. I’m a straight shooter and I appreciate that in return. So my bottom line is I enjoyed getting to know you a little bit and I’d be happy to continue with a goal to meet in person. However, if you think we are not a match, for whatever reason, please let me know and I’ll “unmatch” you on Tinder. No hard feelings either way!
Personal note regarding this message: I sent this exact message today and I received a response within 10 minutes. Mr. M said he has been swamped at work and would like to continue getting to know me and to meet and see where “it” goes from there. Hope springs eternal!
Do you have any tips, tricks, or insights into the dating life? Let me know!
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Sometimes I feel like Lawrence Ferlinghetti when he wrote I am Waiting. Although instead of “waiting for a rebirth of wonder,” I am waiting for the tsunami of rudeness and irrational behavior so common in the online dating world to spread to the real world.
What if the social mores of Plenty of Fish, Tinder, and Match became so ingrained that men and women started to behave like their dating profiled selves?
Suspend all notions of the universe for a few moments and enter an alternate reality that hopefully will never come to pass. Your fuel for this journey? A beet bean cheeseburger.
I’m walking down Connecticut Avenue, a major thoroughfare in Washington, D.C., when I stop to peer into the front window of a trendy bar. It’s 5 p.m. and happy hour is in full swing. At the bar, men stand 3 deep – a mug of beer in one hand, a large freshly caught fish in the other. How can this be? No nearby waterways, but perhaps they went fishing in the Potomac? They look eerily like the hundreds of profile photos of men with fish. At least these guys have their shirts on.
I spoke too soon. I’m outside of Union Station and a horde of shirtlessmen exit from the 8:30 a.m. red line car. They’re walking proudly, cell phones on in selfie position – beer bellies all shined up for the office. Oh, dear, I’m going to be ill.
It’s small business Saturday and I’m in Politics and Prose hoping the Obamas will show up like they did last year. This bookstore is a great venue to try to meet men in the wild. I’m here — why not go for it?
I head to the fiction section and stand next to an attractive man. He picks up a book I just finished reading. “That’s a great book,” I say, “one of my all time favorites.” He looks at me briefly and goes back to browsing. No comment, no smile, no nod. Nothing. I was proactive. I was ignored.
I’m at the newly reopened Renwick Gallery entranced by Leo Villareal’s installation of LED lights suspended from the high ceiling. An attractive man who is also awestruck by this piece strikes up a conversation with me.
We chat for a few minutes and then he asks if I’d like to continue our talk over coffee. “Not just yet,” I say. I reach into my purse and pull out my OkCupid dating questionnaire. “Do you believe this country would be safer if everyone owned a gun?” I ask. He looks at me dumbfounded. “Yes, I guess I do,” he says. “Are you almost always on time?” I query. “Usually,” he says with a strange look in his eyes. “What about bathing and teeth brushing? How often?” I ask. He answers, albeit uncomfortably, and I proceed to ask several more questions.
After a few minutes, I say, “Sorry, I won’t be able to continue our talk. You don’t meet my criteria for an ideal man. Good luck with your search.” I walk away. He’s been rejected.
“What a great party,” I say to the hostess, my good friend Lily. “You invited such an interesting mix of people.” Lily smiles and suggests I go talk to Jack, her old college roommate. I head over to the food table where Jack is filling his plate.
“Hi Jack. I’m Nadia, Lily’s friend from college. We met a couple of years ago. How are you?” I ask. Jack winks. He continues to fill his plate. I try again. “So Jack, I heard you work at NPR now. How do you like it?” Jack looks at me again, smiles, and winks…but doesn’t say a thing. He steps back from the table, pivots, and walks toward the bar. He stops midway, turns around, winks at me again, and continues on to the bar.
I’ve become a recipient or “victim” of the fruitless wink, a wink that doesn’t lead to conversation or even an email. It’s just there. And you never know what it meant.
I’m at a concert this evening. I’ve got my friend posse with me because I expect my ex to be there. We both enjoy the same music so I have to be prepared. Yep- sure enough, there he is. And he’s heading over my way. Come on ladies, crowd around. Yay – he’s been blocked.
After six fantastic dates, I think Max might be “the one.” He calls or texts me every day and we have plans to see a play the next weekend. I decide to shop for a new dress to wear to the theater. As I exit my favorite boutique, I see Max exit the Apple store. I walk quickly over to him. I’m seconds away from giving him a big hug when he turns away and scurries into Macy’s. My mouth drops open. I’ve been ghosted.
Let’s hope these scenarios remain a figment of my imagination. To help ensure that rude and irrational behavior does not transfer from the virtual to the real world, support good dating manners:
Don’t wink or favorite someone unless you want to correspond with and possibly meet him or her. “Bookmarking” a match for possible future correspondence is not fair to that person. Get a notebook.
If someone writes you a nice, thoughtful e-mail, don’t ignore it. Reply.
If you decide you don’t want to date someone, let him or her know. Don’t disappear without a word.
Be picky about who you date, but don’t go crazy with questions and checklists. A checklist cannot determine chemistry.
When you get a bad start, you and your man have to part
I ain’t gonna just sit around and cry
Lady Sings the Blues, Billie Holiday
It’s Labor Day on Monday – not a religious or sentimental holiday – and yet, I’m wondering if I’ll have the holiday blues. What single person doesn’t know about this affliction?
Since my separation and divorce, I’ve lived through 32 major holidays — Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukah, New Year’s Eve/Day and Valentine’s Day. This will be the 33rd.
And that’s the key, isn’t it? I lived through them.
Some may argue that Valentine’s Day isn’t a major holiday but when you’re separated, divorced, or frustrated by the single dating life, a lack of a Valentine honey can be depressing.
And Labor Day always seems to remind me of intact family and relationship celebrations.
But I’m not going to wallow here. I’m going to tell you about some good post separation/divorce holidays I HAVE had and give you an actionplan to prevent or at least help you cope with the blues. While we discuss this plan, let’s have some of Tori Avey’s Black-eyed pea burgers.
Last Valentine’s Day was the first one since my divorce in which I had a date. It was a good thing since I had recently endured a breakup with Mr. L, a man I had been seeing.
I wasn’t head over heels in love with my Valentine’s date and we only went out once after that but on February 14 we were both in the mood for a romantic celebration. We went to dinner and a play. He brought me chocolates and wore a dapper suit. I wore a red dress. Despite the freezing cold and snow, we had a good time.
The Valentine’s date was preceded by Hanukah and New Year’s Eve celebrations with family and Mr. L (even though we were too new for a “family meet.”) So I got a taste of the type of celebration I had been craving – a mix of family and a romantic interest. And that was a good feeling – even if I couldn’t duplicate it on every holiday. It provided hope and a sense that there was a “turnaround” in the way life events could play out for me as a single woman.
So what can one do to prevent or lessen the holiday blues? It’s not DNA sequencing science and hopefully you will get some new ideas or start thinking of your own tactics. (Side note: Since Labor Day is the day after tomorrow, some of these tips will be more useful to you for future holidays.)
12 Tips to Prevent the Holiday Blues:
Make plans. In advance. At least a week before the holiday, reach out to friends or any family living locally to see if they can get together for an evening out, unless you are planning to entertain. See Tip #2.
Host a gathering – whether dinner or a game night (on TV or a board game). Make sure to invite your single friends who may also suffer from the holiday blues.
If you’re feeling brave, plan to get out of town on a solo travel adventure. Check out these resources for ideas and possible companions:
Sign up for a Meetup event. The closer it gets to a holiday, the more Meetup activities are scheduled. You’re not the only one at risk of the holiday blues.
Commit to an engrossing project:
Organize your music downloads
Create a new music mix file for the gym
Purge and clean out your closet and pack up stuff to give away or sell
Organize photos into albums
If weather allows, plant or weed a garden
If you enjoy arts and/or crafts, commit to a one or two-day project. Plan in advance and get any needed materials. Listen to music, have a glass of wine, and create!
Plan a reading or TV series marathon. Make sure it’s a book or show that will transport you. Periodic escapism is healthy.
If stores are open, shop. Retail therapy in moderation and within budget is therapeutic. You will be where people are even if you don’t know them and that might make you feel better.
Work on improving or refreshing your dating profile. Join a new dating site or rejoin a site you cancelled because no one was on it. New guys are always joining. And holiday weekends are active times for online daters, perhaps because everyone has a touch of holiday blues. Consider joining a crazy niche dating site you haven’t tried such as Bristlr.
Stay up late and watch old romantic movies. Throw caution to the wind and rent a pay per view film.
Schedule a massage the day before a holiday (unless you can get one ON the holiday). A good massage = lovely.
Go to the gym and exercise like crazy. You won’t be the only one there. Make those endorphins work overtime.
Whatever you do, don’t pay bills, organize old family photos (that include ones with your –ex), or do anything that is not fun and uplifting.
Let me know if you ever get the holiday blues and share ways you cope.
Abraham Lincoln had a point when he said, “There are no bad pictures, that’s just how your face looks sometimes.” But do we really want to show a prospective match that face? That potential mate won’t be as forgiving as a friend or relative who knows you look better in person and — even if you don’t — loves you anyway.
From the day I created my first online dating profile, I realized the importance of posting a good photo. When I signed up on a couple of dating sites, I carefully selected what I thought were flattering photos taken by relatives.
I even used a photo taken by a guy I dated. He ghosted me inexplicably after 3 months. Only after I emailed him to ask why I hadn’t heard from him in a week, did he tell me he wanted to break up. As revenge, the very next day after he dumped me, I loaded a photo he had taken of me onto a new dating site. I was angry more than upset and my approach was: new dating site, new profile, and new photo.
Over time, I changed my main photo and after a few months both added and deleted pictures. The idea was to keep things fresh and as current as possible.
The photographer I chose, Joe LeBlanc with Ars Nova Images, also suggested shooting outdoors and we went to a nearby park. I have to admit that when you are over 29 as I am :), natural lighting can take 10 years off of your appearance. When I compared the test shots taken in Joe’s studio with the outdoor test shot, it was easy to go with the outdoor location.
Joe took about 300 photos (so quickly I couldn’t even tell it was that many) and he posed me in several settings in the park. I ended up with some dynamite natural-looking portraits. Sorry I can’t share them with you as Nadia continues to travel incognito on this blog, but I can share the results.
After loading the best photo onto my sites (Match, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, How About We*, and Bumble*), I sat back and waited for what I hoped would be an uptick in views and messages.
It took a few hours and then shazam, incoming! It wasn’t a torrential downpour, but a reasonable summer rain of men. It’s been two weeks since the new photo was posted and I’ve had two dates and more e-mails, views, “likes,” “favorites,” etc. than before.
I haven’t met “the one” yet, but I’m certain I have improved my chances.
Until next week, happy dating or not dating.
*More on my experiences with these two dating venues in a future post.
A recent article in a Washington Post blog on the single life explored the issue of whether men with bad online profiles could in fact turn out to be great guys. The writer, Jessica Guzik, was frustrated by the fact that her dates with men who had appealing profiles were not working out. So she decided to try an experiment. She dated men with unappealing or quirky profiles that would normally prompt her to ignore them.
To her surprise, she met some great men – whose bad profiles did not match the real person. One man in an attempt to be different filled his profile with obscure references; another was more interested in meeting women in the wild and filled out a lackluster profile just to put himself out there. Her conclusion: don’t put so much credence in the profiles; instead “put more faith in the men behind them.”
Of course this is easier said than done but Ms. Guzik’s article triggered some thoughts of my own about profiles, timing, and dating rules. Will you join me in some of Mark Bittman’s watermelon gazpacho while I explain?
It seems that for every rule you make, the opposite of the rule can also be true. After some disaster first dates that had been preceded by texts and emails but not a phone call, I made a rule that I had to speak on the phone with a man before meeting him. This rule was golden for a while and it helped me avoid creepy guys who were full of themselves and those who had terribly grating voices.
If I had already agreed to a date but subsequently had a “bad” phone call with a guy, I’d cancel the date after the call. I let the man know I didn’t feel a connection during our conversation. This angered some guys – especially if I texted or emailed them with this news. But I believe it is better to nip an obviously going nowhere relationship in the bud rather than to suffer a fool or miss-match in an awkward meeting at a café or bar.
So I had the “always talk on the phone before a date” rule. But then, I encountered some men who were able to carry on such a fun and witty conversation by email or text, that I forgot the rule and agreed to meet. And more often than not, the date was wonderful. So it seems that meeting someone great is often a result of chance, or fate or kismet.
This doesn’t mean that the first date, even if it’s fantastic, will lead to a relationship. A couple of weeks ago I met Mr. D for coffee. This first date was preceded by only a few emails and texts (funny, witty, and creative ones though). We had incredible chemistry, honesty and intimacy almost from the start. It was as if we had our own version of The 36 Questions. But it turns out Mr. D was separated. It was in his profile but somehow in my pre-date excitement I had missed it.
I discovered this key piece of information right before leaving to meet him. I decided to go anyway since separated can mean separated for 8 years with a scheduled court date or separated 2 weeks ago and still moving out of the marital home (I have dated both of these guys).
It became clear at the end of the date that our timing was off (a perpetual problem in the dating life). This was Mr. D’s 3rd marriage (previously widowed and divorced) and he was struggling with the fact that he didn’t want to leave his 3rd wife’s grown children whom he had grown to dearly love. I know it all sounds messy but he was truly a fine guy.
When I told Mr. D I hadn’t realized he was separated and that I was looking for a relationship, he “fired himself.” But not until he kissed me and let’s just say this was a kiss worthy of a big-screen movie – possibly IMAX or even bigger. I can’t seem to stop thinking about him even though we were together for a grand total of 3 hours. Perhaps Mr. D will end up divorced and we’ll serendipitously meet again when the timing is right.
I have also encountered men with a great profile, who gave great phone (insert smile here), but we had zero or minus zero chemistry in person. As an added insult, these men did not resemble the old pictures they had posted.
Another issue is whether a good and long first phone conversation or date predicts anything. I’ve had very long (2 to 3 hours) late night phone conversations before meeting someone and long (up to 5 hours) first dates and then for one reason or another the fledgling relationship combusts. In one case, the guy was an alcoholic and we ended up in a phone fight after the first date. In the other case, following a 5-hour date, Mr. Q decided he wanted to date another woman at the same time he dated me. Apparently he scheduled me as the fall back and I didn’t hear from him for a week. Then, when his other “relationship” didn’t work out, he texted me to see if I wanted to talk. I was disenchanted at that point and had already moved on.
So many dating and relationship situations call for you to decide whether you’re going to trust your heart or your gut. A thought-provoking article in the Chicago Tribune describes the ongoing battles these two organs can have over your love interests. As the article points out, sometimes you just don’t want to listen to your gut tell you a man is not right for you…and the heart wins. See Mr. D above. Other times, it’s easy – and neither organ wants a particular piece of work otherwise known as an incompatible match.
I’m still looking for a rule-breaking, take my breath away encounter that is a win-win from both the heart and gut and appeases the timing gods. Until then, happy dating or not dating to all of us.
Erika helps her clients with the world of online dating: writing a unique profile, composing emails that get answered, choosing the best photos, and planning dates. She also offers date coaching to clients.
Erika has a background in business and economics. She applied her professional and people skills to achieve great personal success with online dating. Since starting A Little Nudge, she has worked with hundreds of clients who have gone on to date confidently, marry, get engaged, or enter a relationship.
What is the best way for a 60-something woman to meet a man? Is it online?
As I tell all of my clients, there isn’t a best way to meet someone. There are many options—online dating, singles’ events, classes, groups. The important part is to put yourself out there in some capacity, online or otherwise.
Do you have any recommendations for meeting men in the wild?
Be approachable. Oftentimes, a man wants to approach a woman, but her nose is in her phone, or she has a scowl on her face. The best way to attract someone is to smile and show that you’re open to meeting new people. Men get scared, too!
What is the single biggest complaint you have about online dating from women? From men?
Bad pictures!! I recommend 3 to 5 photos—at least a clear headshot, a nice full-body shot, and a photo of you doing something interesting. In addition, make sure you’re alone in your photos because the last thing you want is for someone to compare you to your friend or family in your own profile. And NO MORE SELFIES!
Is there anything you would do differently now if you were dating (based on what you have learned from your business)?
Have a list of about five non-negotiables and beyond that, give people a chance.
Do you ever “match” your clients?
I do! I have what I call “matchmaking mixers” to get my clients together. It’s always a well-attended, fun time! I’ll be holding another one in DC in June!
What do you think about matchmaking services?
Some are great, and some are not so great. Try to get recommendations from others who have used the matchmaker to see if they were satisfied.
What are your tips for the first date? What if the first date is not spectacular? Should you see him again?
Start with just drinks or coffee (no dinner!) to see where it goes and if you have some rapport. Also, it’s important to go into a first date with no expectations. Simply having a good conversation should be considered a success.
I tell my clients if they’re on the fence about someone to give it one more date. More here:
How should one handle corresponding with 2 or 3 guys at once? How long can a woman date more than one guy?
This is a personal preference and everyone feels differently, but generally, the point of dating more than one person is to find the one who you like best. Once you do that, there’s no need to keep seeing the others. Don’t just see them as a fallback plan, because that means you’re already assuming the outcome of the one you want to pursue… and it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
How can one keep from losing hope?
I do recommend taking a break if you’re feeling jaded… just as long as you get back on the horse. And, as hard as it seems sometimes, remember that it only takes one.
Is a man who has been married 2 or 3 times someone to be wary of? What about a never married man? Should a woman stay away?
Everyone has a story, and nothing is black and white, so rather than making generalizations about people based on their prior marital status, I would hear the story and then use your judgment.
Do you have clients in their 50s and 60s? Do you have any particular advice for women in this age group/stage of life?
Desperate? Not at all! What man wouldn’t be flattered when a pretty lady reaches out to him? J
What if you find out before you meet that a man lied about his age in his dating profile? Should you address it before you meet or during the first meeting?
I generally do not recommend too much “research” before you meet your date, however, I know as well as the next person that, if given enough information, people are going to do their due diligence. If you do, in fact, find that your date has lied, first decide if you’d still like to meet this person. Ask yourself if the lie was too egregious, if you think he’s lying about other things, if he had a good motive, etc. (For the record, I never recommend lying about one’s age.)
Now, if you do decide to go on the date, it’s up to you whether you want to address it or see if it comes out organically. If you think it’ll eat at you the entire time, preventing you from enjoying yourself, then bring it up. He’ll have no more right to be upset with you for bringing it up than you have to be upset with him for doing it in the first place. But ask with some tact. Rather than, “Why did you lie about your age?” which will put him on the defensive, instead perhaps say, “Since I had your info, when I looked you up, I noticed that your age differed a bit from what you posted online. It made me feel a bit uneasy, so I just wanted to address it.”
Are there any games worth playing? Is it important for a woman to play it cool, not be too available?
The long and short of it: No games! We’re all adults, and the mature ones will appreciate that you’re straightforward with your feelings.
Are the “rules” for sex any different for 60 year olds? Do you think baby boomers are having sex any earlier in a relationship?
Just as with a 20-something, 60-somethings all go at their own pace. Go at a pace that’s comfortable for you, and that will differ for every two people. But, it is extremely important to build a foundation with someone before you go too far in the bedroom because once you start having sex, it’s harder to go back to learn about this person’s ins and outs.
Should women lie about their age to compensate for the age bias that exists?
Nope. A lie about your age (even a small one) starts out a relationship on the wrong foot. And it makes your date think, “What else is she lying about?”
Thanks to Erika for providing this guidance! Until next week, happy dating or not dating.
I’m getting tired of working on my dating profile. It’s much more fun to write imaginary profiles for the famous and the infamous. Enjoy the fantasy. It’s only appropriate that we have some mock cauliflower “bread” sticks
Headline: Honest take-charge guy seeks first lady
All About Me:
I can’t tell a lie. My teeth are false and the fit is not great so I might accidentally bite your lip off when kissing you. I like to talk politics. Fave food is cherry pie. Lifelong military and Federal career. Seeking a partner who can dance the minuet with me.
Do you smoke?: Yes (family owns a plantation – not much choice)
The six things I could never do without: freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, and freedom
Do you drink?
Only my homemade whiskey- neat
How ambitious are you? Extremely ambitious
The most private thing I’m willing to admit: I surrendered in battle once
Q: Would you enjoy a night in playing video games?
Q: Are you totally anti-war?
You should message me if: You live within a 2-day carriage ride of Mt. Vernon
Headline: World traveler seeks faithful one-man woman
All About Me:
I’m a lawyer, government employee and expert in international relations currently pursuing a second career based in the DC area. I may be a 67-year-old grandma but I know how to boogie and like to keep abreast of current events. As a one-man woman, I’m seeking a one-woman man who can match me in ambition, intelligence, and class.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit: I once chaired a chapter of the Young Republicans
Do you drink?: I enjoy a cold beer now and then
On Friday and Saturday nights I typically:
Go on road trips and give speeches
The coolest places I’ve visited:
I’ve been all over the world but my favorite place is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., DC
On our First Date remind me to tell you the story about:
The time I left my only cell phone in the ladies room of The Palm before an important briefing in the Harry S. Truman building
Headline: Come Twerk with Me
All About Me:
I’m an actress and singer who dances to the beat of her own drum and I definitely have a thing for crane operators. I like to explore and experiment. No vanilla for me. I’m looking for anyone – and I do mean anyone – who’s into experimentation and PDS (public displays of sex).
The first things people usually notice about me:
My sexy body and haircut
On a typical Friday night I am:
Riding my favorite wrecking ball to heaven
Do you drink?: G-d yes
Do you do drugs?:
I just love getting stoned
The most private thing I’m willing to admit:
I don’t keep anything private. Ask me anything you don’t already know
On our first date, remind me to tell you the story about….
Me and Joan Jett in the ladies room
How ambitious are you?:
Very. I know how to play the game and I play it well.
Headline: Bad good boy looking for a good bad girl
All About me:
Not sure how I came up with that headline or what it means but it sounds cool. I like to party and I’m looking for a sweet party girl (preferably Latina) with as many tatts as me. If you’re into egging houses, we’ll have a blast.
On a typical Friday night I am:
At a strip club with my dad, getting a lap dance, working out on my perfect body or getting a new tatt
Pet monkey but lost him at the airport
Do you drink?
Is the sky blue?
Do you do drugs?
See sky question
Do you have a car?
For fun I like to:
Wear a gas mask in public
My own. Listen to rap and church music since my faith is very important to me