To PDA or Not

blog pix pda

Today’s topic: Public displays of affection (PDA): Yes or No? And what does it mean if you do or don’t like PDA? Can a disagreement about this behavior be a deal breaker?

Lots of questions to chew on while we chew on a delightful dish of baked feta and greens with lemony yogurt.

Let’s define PDA as showing physical affection to a romantic partner in the form of kissing, hugging, caressing, back rubs, or holding hands.

In this post, I won’t be discussing having sex on the beach, in an airplane, or a public bathroom. That’s a topic for another day – or maybe not.

I’ve encountered all degrees of PDA-friendly guys – both in terms of their real life behavior and what they mention in their online dating profiles.

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For some guys, a woman’s rejection of PDAs is a deal breaker. I don’t think about this characteristic when I review my checklist of desired attributes in a mate and I wonder if other women include “Enjoys PDA” on their must have list.

It may not be a deal breaker for me but I admit to indulging in PDA, reluctantly or enthusiastically – depending on the situation.

I have experienced a greater degree of PDA behavior early in the dating process. I may not be ready to go to a guy’s home or invite him to mine but I might want to kiss and hug him.

A PDA pet peeve: it bugs me when guys pick the most public spot to engage in PDA. I’d rather be discreet – an unlit bench in a park or a quiet spot in the parking garage as he walks you to your car. However some guys decide that standing by the door of a restaurant is the ideal spot for extensive kissing as customers enter and exit the establishment. Still others like long form smooching near the busy parking machine and elevator. Oy! Not my cup of tea and yet if the guy’s a good kisser, I might put up with it briefly.

What about parks? A guy I was dating engaged me in PDA in all corners of a public park’s extensive garden. We tried to find big trees and dense foliage to hide behind. It was fun and had an element of “danger” in that we could be discovered.

Sometimes when I am kissing a guy in a more public setting, a person walking by will say, “Get a room.” It is always said with a smile and laughter, perhaps because the commenter engages in similar behavior.

People have different standards and levels of comfort with PDA. I wouldn’t want to offend anyone and go into a more circumspect mode when children are around.   I have noticed more public making out in foreign cosmopolitan cities, e.g., Barcelona, Venice. When traveling, it’s always a good idea to check the local customs regarding showing affection, greetings, and non-romantic touching such as handshakes. It could save you embarrassment and even jail time.

So why do people engage in PDA? I view it as a spontaneous need to show affection to a partner. In some cases, the couple has nowhere private to go. However, research has identified other factors in play. One study of college students (admittedly I’m light years from that age group) found motivations included enhancing image; inciting jealousy or envy; proving a relationship; and for women, sexually arousing men.

So, the whole PDA thing can be a sticky wicket. If you and your partner disagree about PDA, you’ll need to come to a comfortable resolution. And when you’re having that talk, it’s worth checking in about what I call pDA for Private Displays of Affection, which are so important to the health of a relationship.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Reading for Extra Credit:

Reasons small public displays of affection mean a lot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Catchy Tune and Musings on Keeping Relationships Fresh

pina colada pix

Too many guys have dating profiles that are predictable, uninspired, and sometimes just blank. So it’s always a pleasure when a guy’s profile is a little bit different and even better when it slyly reveals something and/or gets you thinking about relationships.

Join me in a delightful Caribbean black bean dish that I made the other night while we discuss.

Mr. K’s profile on Plenty of Fish referred to the piña colada song.

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At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of his opener. It had been awhile since I’d heard that song. A quick trip to YouTube pulled up Rupert Holmes singing Escape, which is the name of “the piña colada song.” Watch the performance or read the lyrics to get the most out of this post.

You’ll find that Escape is about a couple that is a little bit tired of each other. Thanks to the personals column (remember those), they rediscover each other and learn they like some of the same things – including piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

I imagined that Mr. K appreciated the nuances of the lyrics – that you don’t know everything about your partner and if things start to get stale you need to find a way to discover hidden shared passions that might restore the passion in your relationship.

Of course Mr. K may have simply liked the song’s melody and needed an opening line for his profile.

I often think about the unknown aspects of a partner’s thoughts and personality, whether I’m reminiscing about the end of my marriage or the relationships that came after. I recall several “aha” moments when verbal or body language clues showed me what was really going on in a partner’s head.

I’m okay with the realization that you cannot know absolutely everything about someone nor can they know all about you. With a bit of luck, you’ll know the most important things and you will feel secure in a partner’s love.

Related to the issue of knowing your partner (as much as possible) and feeling love and security is finding a way to keep things fresh. As the Escape lyrics say, long-term relationships can start to feel “Like a worn-out recording of a favorite song.”

The challenge to maintaining desire in a committed relationship, according to couples therapist and relationship expert Esther Perel, is reconciling security, predictability, safety, and permanence with the human need for mystery, adventure, novelty and the unknown.

Which brings us back to the personals ad scenario in the piña colada song. In lieu of placing an ad or signing up for a dating site, you might need to have an adventure with your partner or simply observe this person in his or her element.

As Perel says, “Because sometimes, as Proust says, mystery is not about traveling to new places, but it’s about looking with new eyes. And so, when I see my partner on his own or her own, doing something in which they are enveloped, I look at this person and I momentarily get a shift in perception, and I stay open to the mysteries that are living right next to me.”

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Resources:

Desire in Long Term Relationships

Esther Perel

Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

Fresh Eyes, Andy Grammer

Update your Profile: It’s Dating Sunday

blog pix 2 dating sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

blog pix dating sunday

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

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

My Brain on Line

question mark

Wouldn’t you love to know what a guy is thinking when he views you on a dating site or app — particularly after you’ve sent him a message and he doesn’t respond but keeps coming back to take a look?

What is going on? Does he not like the carefully thought out question or comment you may have sent? Or are you just not his type? Then, why the view? To tease or boost your ego?

You can’t make sense out of a lot of what happens online.  And there’s usually no point in trying to figure it out.

I may not be able to read the minds of my matches and translate them for you …but I can share what I think when I swipe or read someone’s profile.

Join me in some sweet corn polenta with roasted tomatoes and avocado while I convey my thought process during recent reviews of dating profiles.

In some cases, I’m deciding whether to begin or continue corresponding with a man who has contacted or viewed me or to be proactive and reach out to a promising match. To protect the usually guilty, screen names have not been revealed. And despite my best effort, I sometimes can’t help but wonder what a guy is thinking.

Match #1:

Hmmmm, way out of my league. Kind of cute in a grandfatherly way but I’m just not into history or politics to the degree that he seems to want. Why does his profile read like half of a resume…but the other half is nice?

Continuing with the negative, he comes across as arrogant since he mentions how smart he is in an indirect/direct way. I don’t like braggarts or egomaniacs.

Sounds like he enjoys a nice lifestyle but that’s not enough. I guess some women would go for him but I can’t force myself to like someone for his great house or wealth. Plus, he seems to be perfect in everything! Give me a little humility please.  I’ll just have to pass.

Match #2:

He sent such a lovely note…oh, no, he’s 80. That must be a decades old profile photo. Sorry…no.  Kind of cool that he’s still trying at 80. Just saying.

Match #3:

Cute even if balding., tall enough, nice profile for Bumble…similar interests…Yes, I will swipe right.  Sad that he’s swiping from the airport-wonder if he lives here or is just passing through.

Match #4:

Another Bumbler. He looks active from his photos but there’s no written profile. Without a profile, I swipe left unless a guy knocks my socks—and various other things – off.

Match #5:

Another airport swiper on Bumble.  What gives? Are flights cancelled on this beautiful day?  One pix and his face is not visible. No profile.  Swiping left.

Match #6:

Damn- 6’5” on OurTime and a nice, profile with heart. Some of the same interests…a little younger.  All good. I’m writing to this one and suggesting we meet for a glass of wine.  Update: he responds, we exchange messages, and talk on the phone.  Not the best pre-meeting phone call I’ve ever had but willing to meet him to see if there’s chemistry.  However, haven’t heard from him in 2 days. This one bites the dust.  And it bites.

Matches #7 and #8:

Both Mr. A and Mr. B on Zoosk have one extreme close up head shot each and no other pictures. Mr. B also has travel and nature photos, which I find annoying unless the man in question appears in the photos.

I ask both for more photos. I explain to Mr. A that I have been “burned” before by guys with limited pictures who are deliberately hiding their true appearance (makes no sense to me as the gig is up if we meet).

Mr. A understands, explains that he is not photogenic and writes that he will try to look for more pictures.  Mr. B says he realizes he has loaded lots of travel photos and not enough of him. He adds that he’s in a work crunch but promises to load more.

Neither A nor B adds any pictures but both keep viewing me.  Have they misrepresented themselves? Lazy? Perhaps both are just “not into me” enough to put in the effort?

Match #9:

Nice looking and tall: check.  Intelligent: check. Well written profile that gives a sense of the man: check.  Retired and active, a volunteer, athletic, shared interests: check.  Looks good!  Oh, no, where is Mechanicsburg?  Pennsylvania? Sigh. Too far away.

Lightning round:

Conservative. No. No. No.

Ten years older than his pictures.  No.

Separated.  No.

A foot shorter than me.  No.

He’s my age and has two children under 10. No. No. No.

He is recently widowed.  No.

Profiles and pictures do not a person make…but sometimes, that’s all we have as the first decision point in the marathon of romance.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

The Great American Dating Profile

Woman writing her dating profile

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.

I’m ready to be found.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Resources:

The Daily Beast

British Medical Journal

DoctorNerdLove

Match

Zoosk

Business Insider

Huffington Post

Practical Happiness

 

 

 

Giving a Bad First Date a Second Chance

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Happy Thanksgiving week! I’m busy eating leftovers so please enjoy this guest post by Julie Weinberg.

I never give a bad first date a second chance. It’s a rule I established long ago in my eight years of post-divorce dating. It stemmed from a series of bad second dates following bad first dates. I asked myself, why bother? I thought my gut reaction during a first date was pretty accurate so I just went with that.

I recently had an experience, though, that has me wondering if my rule is perhaps too rigid. My shift in position is based on an interaction rather than a date but I think the principle applies. Here’s the scenario.

I arrive at a meetup.com happy hour–wait, stop the story. You’ve never heard of meetup.com?! Finish reading and commenting on this post and then immediately go to meetup.com where you will find a bonanza of like-minded people of all age groups who share your interests and plan events around them. Whatever your hobby or favorite weekend activity (comedy clubs, bird watching, hiking, canasta, you name it), you will find groups of people making plans to do it. Best yet, it is almost always FREE!

Back to my story. While spending three weeks visiting the San Francisco Bay Area on vacation, I go to a meetup.com happy hour at a yacht club. Last interruption. Note: I am not even from the Bay Area but I searched meetup.com and found what I thought would be a really nice way to spend an evening when I had nothing else planned. I swear I am not getting paid by meetup.com to promote their site; I just think it is a fabulous resource for singles looking for fun things to do. On to the story…

I walk into the restaurant and meander over to an organized looking group of about 20 people and confirm it is my meetup group. I plant myself at a table of seven or eight people and sit next to an attractive gentleman. After he exchanges pleasantries with everyone at the table for a few minutes, Mr. Attractive turns his attention to me and we dive into a more private conversation. I like him. He’s quite funny and captivating. I am thinking I would definitely like to go out with him.

During a lull in our conversation, another man at the table makes a comment about his experience on match.com and now everyone joins in the conversation because we all have online dating stories. We talk about profiles and I say, “I am brutally honest in mine” and Mr. Attractive says, “That’s a red flag for me. Someone who says she is ‘brutally honest’ really just means to me she’s a rude bitch.”

The table gets quiet. I burst out laughing because I can’t believe how rude Mr. Attractive is being to me, right there in front of everyone. I excuse myself to go to the bathroom and, in my head, rename Mr. Attractive to Mr. Rude. Another woman also excuses herself, and we bond when she says, “I can’t believe what a jerk that guy was.”  We spend the rest of the evening getting to know each other and, despite Mr. Rude (or really because of him), I now have a girlfriend in the Bay Area.

A week later, while still in the Bay Area, I attend a big singles mixer at an extremely posh hotel. Two hundred plus people are in attendance. About an hour into the event, guess who comes up to me? That’s right. Mr. Attractive/Rude. I couldn’t believe it. Why would a man who announces to the world that he thinks I am a “rude bitch” be so bold as to make a second attempt at getting to know me?

Being a direct and honest midwestern girl, I cut him off and say, “I am not sure what you are thinking here, but after how rude you were to me last week I really don’t want to chitchat with you now.” He is flabbergasted. He has no idea he was rude and he wants to know what he said that made me feel that way. We proceed to spend the next hour dissecting the conversation, me telling him how I took his comment and he explaining what he meant. During this evening’s conversation, he is again engaging, funny, and apologetic. I start liking him again. By the end of the evening, he asks me out.

I was leaving the next day so the date didn’t work out but we agree to stay in touch and see each other the following month when I am back in the Bay Area.

More importantly than a potential date with Mr. Attractive/Rude, this experience got me to think about my “no second date” rule. By limiting a guy to a single coffee date, am I missing out on getting to know a really great guy? Maybe I am being too harsh. I am not sure, but over the course of the next few months I may soften my stance to see what happens. Stay tuned.

*To learn more about Julie, visit her website julieweinbergbooks.com or purchase her book, I Wish There Were Baby Factories.  

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia