Dear Nadia, I Have a Dating Dilemma, #2

blog pix Dec 10 2017

Not much is happening in my dating life so it’s a good distraction when a friend reaches out for dating advice.

My friend Lauren’s dilemma: She’s enjoying conversation and flirting with a friend/colleague who wants to move the relationship to the next level. She knows a relationship with this person would not work and that a fling is also problematic. The situation is complicated in several ways.

Lauren, who is separated and actively planning her divorce, called to discuss the situation and bounce around some possible scenarios. Names and identifying details have been changed.

Have some fast and crunchy baked cod while I share my friend’s situation.

Lauren’s story reminds me of times when I have encountered decision points in my dating life. I knew what to do about a certain guy but I was tempted to go in the wrong direction. I needed a friend to reinforce my better instincts.

A couple of years ago, Lauren hired Joe, a landscape contractor at the hotel she manages. What started as a collegial work relationship has advanced into a friendship. Recently there has been a lot of banter and flirting and Joe frequently suggests that the two should talk over a particular problem at dinner or happy hour sometime.

Joe, who also does landscape work for Lauren’s soon to be ex-husband, knows about the couple’s marital situation. In fact he offered to be a witness in their upcoming divorce hearing.

Joe is 11 years younger than Lauren, less educated than she is, and is a hard drinker with a bad boy past. “He’s not relationship material,” she says. “The problem is that he’s attractive, has a great six-pack — despite too many six packs–, and is a really nice guy.” A few days ago, Joe texted her and invited her to a happy hour.

This was a clear invitation – not like previous ones that were more indefinite. Lauren is tempted by the possibility of a romantic fling but knows she should say no. She’s wondering how to decline his invitation without losing the friendship or offending him in any way. And she’s sad that if she turns down the happy hour, the flirting that she’s enjoying so much will likely disappear.

“How about if I just tell him I’m too busy right now getting ready for a holiday visit from my relatives and that getting together in the new year is more feasible?” Lauren asks.

“This leaves open the possibility that you’ll go out with him,” I suggest. “You’ll have to clarify your intention at some point – either now or the next time he asks you out.”

Lauren sighs. “He’s too young for me – even for something short term.”

“If he was fling material, his age wouldn’t be an issue- and might be an asset,” I say, “but he’s not good fling material. You’ve got a work relationship you don’t want to mess up and you’re counting on him as a witness in divorce court. You need a less complicated scenario for an ideal fling.”

I suggest she respond to Joe’s invitation in a way that acknowledges their friendship but removes the possibility of dating.

I propose a potential response: Sounds like fun but I’m super crazed right now getting ready for my visiting relatives. Happy to get together as friends in the new year. I like to be clear and want you to know that I’m not ready to date. Plus I value our friendship and I would not jeopardize it.

I don’t know what Lauren wrote to Joe but she reported that she successfully turned down the invite and was able to maintain collegiality and friendship.

Have you navigated a challenging dating scenario? How did it go? Let me know!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

An Imagined Meeting of Online Daters Anonymous

blox pix support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

The Not Meyers-Briggs Dating Types

blog pix questionnaire

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

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

INTJ Seeks ENFP

——————————————————-

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

——————————————————–

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

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

INTJ

Inaction

Not Meeting

Tempting

Jerk

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

ESFJ

Ego

Sexy compliment

Friend not

Junk

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

ISTP

Inadequate Dating Skills

Separated

Too early

Play the field

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

ENTP  

Eyes for you only

No problems

Too good to be true

Played

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

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

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

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 Lost Art of Smiling

blog pix smiling potato head

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

When Endless Texting on Tinder Paid Off

Maui

If you’re on any of the online dating sites or apps, you know about the problem of endless texting. The keyboard crush is the modern version of the pen pal.

Some guys (and apparently some women) prefer to extend the written conversation to such an extent that there is little chance of a real in-person meeting.

About a year into online dating I reached my threshold for this type of interaction. Now after 8 or so texts and/or a week or two of time, I encourage or initiate a real life meeting/date. I need to know if there’s chemistry and connection. All too often a great written or spoken communication does not translate in real life.

There’s a young Tinder-matched couple having fun with extended texting. Of course they haven’t invested a lot of time or energy into their “relationship.” You may have heard about Josh Avsec and Michelle Arendas’ story, which has been featured in the media.

Enjoy some of my Fenwick Island Corn, Cheese and Egg Stovetop Custard (recipe below) while I summarize.

Josh and Michelle, both Kent State University students, matched on Tinder in 2014 and exchanged 11 messages up until this month, with increasingly funny excuses for their delayed responses.

Then Josh tweeted about it:

Josh twitterJosh Avsec‏ ‪@Wes_03 Jul 7

Hahahaha one day I’m going to meet this girl and it’s going to be epic. Look at the dates of our tinder texts.

Josh tweet re Tinder

Josh’s tweet went viral and over 12,000 people retweeted it. Word got back to Tinder and the company offered to send them to a city of their choice for their first date.

TinderVerified account @Tinder

It’s time you got together IRL. You have 24 hrs to decide the city you want to have your first date in and we’ll send you there! @mch_rnd

They picked Maui and thousands of interested onlookers are waiting for the date to happen. Many in the extended peanut gallery are hoping for a wedding in the near future.

That’s a lot of pressure for a first date, which can be stressful enough without worldwide interest.

I hope Josh and Michelle’s real life meeting/date goes well.

I have a feeling they’ll take it in stride – just like their extended keyboard crush. And perhaps that’s the lesson in their relaxed and humorous exchange: Have fun with these sites and apps.

I’m not going to attempt to mirror their 3 year journey but I think I’ll try to foster a more laid back attitude as I deal with the craziness of the modern day romantic search.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Nadia’s Fenwick Island Corn, Cheese and Egg Stovetop Custard (Warning: like all my recipes – instructions are seat of the pants with flexible ingredient amounts based on eye/feel)

(What to cook on a beach vacation when you have a conglomeration of leftovers and 6 people to feed)

13 free range eggs

¾ to 1 cup of milk (I used organic 2%)

5 ears raw white fresh-from-the-farm corn on the cob

1 red pepper, chopped

5 Campari tomatoes sliced thin to create a single layer in the pan

1 or more cups of finely grated Monterey Jack cheese

Beat eggs and add 3/4 to 1 cup of milk. (Note: Judge amount of milk to use by the color of the mixture. It should be a pale yellow but not so white that you can’t tell there are eggs in it!)

Stir and season with salt. Cut raw corn from cob and sauté in olive oil in an 11” sauté or fry pan. After a few minutes, add chopped red pepper. Sauté for a few minutes and layer the tomatoes over the veggie mixture.

Cook 2 minutes.

Pour the egg/milk mixture over the vegetables and cook covered very slowly at low temperature until half set. Sprinkle the cheese over the top (enough to cover the mixture) and continue to cook slowly until the custard is set. For a future version, I think I’ll add 1 to 2 roasted sweet onions.

Enjoy with whatever side dish you can create based on the state of your vacation frig! We had pasta with bottled sauce. A green salad and garlic bread would go nicely with the custard. Serve with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

 

 

 

Resuming what Never Started

blog post pix july 2

They’re coming out of the woodwork…No, not termites – though some of these men are bugging me.

Curious? Taste this Spanish gazpacho while I satisfy your curiosity.

These are not men I was in a relationship with. These are the guys I emailed or messaged for a period of time but never met or met and very briefly dated.

The latest to reappear, Mr. V from a Tinder match, texted me on my Google Voice number this past Tuesday, 4 months after my last text to him. He continued his usual witty banter of “Happy insert day of the week.” Yes, I’m feeling sarcastic at the moment.

Blog text insert July 2

He attached a picture and appeared to have put on weight and a beard. When we matched, he had recently moved to the area and had a new, very busy, job with a crazy schedule. After several texts, I got tired of him not having time to move things forward. I also realized we had very little in common so I was fine when we stopped corresponding.

What’s interesting and kind of creepy is that he sent me the same message on Plenty of Fish (POF) – and we had never been in contact on that site. I wasn’t in a mood to respond to Mr. V and send another “sorry I realized we’re not a match” email so I blocked him on POF and also blocked his phone number.

Had I felt more of a connection with him, I might have renewed the correspondence but I just wasn’t feeling it.

And then there was Mr. R. I had not corresponded with Mr. R but I had a crush on him. I winked at, “favorited” and messaged him on several sites – with no response. Then, unexpectedly, we matched on Tinder. I was surprised and wondered if it was a mistake that he would quickly rectify by unmatching me. He didn’t unmatch me but neither did he make the first move. Feeling fed up, I was tempted to delete him rather than send another possible futile message. My ego is not immune from bruising! A friend advised me to just go forward and send Mr. R a message since there could have been a number of reasons why he had not responded before that had nothing to do with me.

So, I put myself out there once again. Mr. R answered but did not respond in kind to my witty banter. His profile said something about having his shots for rabies and distemper so I made what I thought was a clever comment/question but he ignored that and instead sent a nonsequiter that stopped the flow.

I waited a day and then decided to ignore his reply with a generic “excellent.” He replied with what would be his only question or comment about me: “What do you do for a living?”

Now, my profile says I’m a writer…so he could have commented on that or asked, “what type of writing do you do?”

Also, there’s something about the phrase “do for a living” that bugs me. It’s more crass than asking about someone’s job. I prefer to not ask about a man’s work as my initial query. It puts you on that boring Q and A tract of basic questions. I like to have a little flirty fun at the beginning, before moving on to the following essentials:

*Where do you live? (on Tinder that’s critical)

*Are you divorced?

*Are those YOUR twin 5 year olds?

I answered Mr. R and told him I was retired and now write for myself. I followed up with a specific question about his photography career. His passion for photography consumed the rest of our e-conversation. He never brought it back to me and failed to respond to my last comment. I gave it a couple of days and unmatched him. It felt good and I was totally cured of my crush.

There have been some other “out of the woodwork” examples, including a guy I met for one brief date. I left after one drink. It was clear I wasn’t interested and yet he started viewing me again as if that date never happened. Then there was the guy who messaged me ad nauseum before we finally scheduled an in person meeting, which he then cancelled because of work. Now he’s viewing me again. Sigh.

Online dating is often a feast or famine proposition – whether it’s men from the past coming out of the woodwork, new matches reaching out, or nothing happening at all.

I’m just trying to hang in and keep up hope.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia