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

 

 

 

You Know You’ve Been Dating Online for Too Long When…

blog pix june 24

Whether you’ve been online for 6 months or 6 years, had 10 or 100 first dates, and progressed to assorted numbers of second dates and actual relationships (short or long term), you may reach a point where you are tempted to give it up.

Possible triggers include a heinous ghosting episode, an increasing lack of suitable partners, or the propensity of many men to window shop as a way of life.

Join me in some Turkish chickpea burgers as we review specific signs that you may be at or have already reached your breaking point:

You’ve been online too long when:

*You can remember the early days of Bumble when there was only one worker bee available.

*You have saved and checked enough photos on Google Image Search or Veracity mobile image search to fill an FBI most wanted file.

*You know that when a man says his age is 60 but he’s willing to date women up to age 75, he’s actually 76.

*Similarly, you know when a man says he’s 6’ tall, he’s actually 5’8.”

*Checking the online dating sites every morning and night is as mindless as brushing your teeth but without a guaranteed reward like a healthy mouth.

*You immediately shut down any guy who asks, “How long have you been on this site?”

*Being “favorited” is now one of your least favorite things, because it usually means you have been bookmarked and soon forgotten.

*You know not to take a man at his word when his profile says he likes to listen as much as talk.

*You have a new lexicon of dating terms: breadcrumbing, ghosting benching, swiping, etc.

*Dating terminology starts to affect everyday speech. When someone asks, “Do you have a match?” you don’t search through a drawer, you start to daydream about the guy you reached out to on Match.

*Your main reason for acquiring new Facebook friends is to increase your ‘stable’ of possibilities on Tinder, Bumble, and other Facebook-based apps.

*You immediately know when there’s a new guy on one of the dating sites because you are so familiar with the membership.

*Your inner editor is working overtime to correct such spelling or proofreading gaffes as “love the autdoors.”

*The bartenders at your favorite first date spots know what you’re drinking before you order.

*You’ve been filmed kissing dates goodbye on so many parking lot cams, that attendants are bringing popcorn to the security reviews.

Ranting aside, online dating – despite its many frustrating and time consuming aspects – continues to be a viable way to meet a romantic partner.

Hang in, continue to pursue real life interactions, and take it all with a grain or two of salt on your margarita glass.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @60sdating

Men and the Lost Art of Subtlety

blog pix art of subtlety man with roses

Guys don’t always get the importance of subtlety.  This failing can prevent them from achieving their dating goal – whether it ends in the bedroom or the altar.

Join me in some not subtle but yummy early summer greens goddess salad as we examine this situation.

I started thinking about subtlety after a recent exchange with a guy on POF.  I introduced Mr. X in my recent post about being stuck in a back pocket, the zone where a man’s interest diminishes and you are left hanging, wondering if you’ll hear from him again.

Mr. X lives in New Jersey and I thought I would jump start our 9 month erratic conversation by suggesting that we meet halfway between us – in Philadelphia – for lunch. Somehow I have never visited Philadelphia – other than passing through on my way somewhere else. So I figured if the date went sour, I could be a tourist and not call the whole outing a failure.

Mr. X didn’t respond to my suggestion for a couple of days. I assumed he had back-pocketed me and put me in the “no try zone” of forgotten online matches. So I was surprised when I saw an email from POF saying I had a message from him.   Feeling a bit ignored and annoyed, I waited a day and a half to read his message:

And there lies the crux of the problem. If I was going to Philadelphia for lunch, I would want to know that I was having you for dessert.  

Now you see my point about subtlety. Certainly it is a possibility that we might both order dessert but by putting it out there as a requirement, Mr. X ruined both the romance AND the possibility. He turned a potential romantic encounter into a transaction rather than a natural meeting/date-whatever you want to call it.

How could I give him the promise of dessert when we had never even shared an appetizer, let alone had a phone conversation* or actually met in person?

This type of exchange has happened to me online and on dates on numerous occasions. When a man jumps too quickly and aggressively beyond the chase to the “conquest,” and bypasses the romance, he ruins the chances of what might have been.

Mutual chemistry and true interest might advance things but to treat an encounter (whether still online or in real life) as a transaction ruins the romantic flow.

Mr. X will never know that we might have had a fabulous dessert in the City of Brotherly Love. I never responded to his email. Deliberately not subtle. Sometimes doing nothing is the strongest message you can give.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

*I would not have travelled to Philly without having a phone conversation first.

 

 

Do You Speak Body Language?

blog post body language

Why can’t people come with subtitles that decipher their body language?

These translations could be on an LED light display fixed to a hat or headband. It would be so nice to have a shortcut to the meaning of subtle and not so subtle cues that people exhibit.

But, there’s still a lot we can figure out on our own without a magic chyron. Help yourself to some Japanese vegetable pancakes while we talk about this issue.

I’ve contemplated the importance of body language many times over the years and it’s a useful tool for the dating life. To help my own natural powers of observation, I took a couple of online courses and did some reading on this topic.

There’s a lot of research on body language and what it means. From my reading and online classes, I’ve learned not only about various forms of eye contact such as “deep gazing” but also about the importance of such body language behaviors as smiling (a no-brainer for me), microexpressions – brief facial expressions that reveal emotions, leaning toward someone you like, and mirroring where you imitate someone as a means of communication and approval.

I have added to this knowledge base with real life experiences of body language fails.

Body Language Fails from my Dating Files 

Not Seeing Eye to Eye

One of my more frustrating encounters involved a date with a man who wouldn’t look me in the eye. It was an early fall afternoon — warm enough to sit on an outside lounge sofa (think poolside couch in Miami). Feeling bold, I sat on the couch next to Mr. A and we began to chat. However, instead of turning toward me and holding my gaze, he looked straight ahead while talking. I was having none of that. Eye contact is critical for me. “I need to see your eyes when we talk,” I said and orchestrated our positions so we were opposite each other. I made some clichéd comment about the eyes being the window to your soul but that didn’t help very much.

We continued what turned into an interesting and far ranging conversation. However, although most people hold eye contact between 60 and 70 percent of the time, Mr. A was more in the 10 to 15 percent range. I couldn’t figure out his behavior. He was U.S. born so I didn’t think it was culturally based. He seemed to like me and went in for the goodbye kiss.

After the date, I reviewed our interaction. I did a little Googling and asked some friends and came up with lots of theories explaining Mr. A’s lack of eye contact – everything from being shy, to lying about his marital status to having Asperger’s syndrome. I’ll never know the reason. There was no second date (though he tried at one point to schedule one). But Mr. A’s failed gazing behavior was too big of a deal breaker for me.

An Imperfect Kiss 

Beyond the issue of whether someone is a good kisser, is the message via body language that the kiss sends to you. For example, I went out a couple of times with a man who kissed with his lips only. Okay, you’re thinking well, of course he kissed with his lips. But when a man kisses you and doesn’t put his whole body into it, he’s holding back on emotion for whatever reason. Even when those lips know what to do, if they are isolated from his body, there’s a weird disconnect that says, “I’m not really that into you.”

What you want is a whole body kisser! (Unintentional pun.)

Too Many to Count

And then there was the man who placed his cell phone next to his happy hour glass, crossed his arms, and proceeded to go into overdrive about his incredibly boring job and medical/surgical history. I kid you not. The sad part is he was a good looking, tall, and well-built man. But that couldn’t compensate for his poor body language and pathetic conversation style. My body language said escape with my feet pointing toward the door and escape I did after about 35 minutes.

Self-Awareness

One side benefit of being aware of someone else’s body language is the increased awareness of the signals you are sending out. Pay attention to your body and what it’s doing. It can sometimes provide clues about what you’re feeling before you’re fully aware of the emotion.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201412/the-secrets-eye-contact-revealed

http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2015/02/science-love-2/

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher/201112/body-language-vs-micro-expressions

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/learning-the-look-of-love-that-sly-come-hither-stare/

https://www.bustle.com/articles/150983-6-ways-to-tell-if-someone-is-into-you-according-to-science

http://www.signature-reads.com/2017/05/vanessa-van-edwards-how-to-interpret-micro-expressions/

http://www.improveyoursocialskills.com/body-language/comfort-field-guide

http://psychologia.co/mirroring-body-language/

Stuck in the Dating Back Pocket and How to Cope

blog pix man back pocket

There’s little air and not much room in a back pocket. That must be why I’m feeling out of sorts. And it’s not just one back pocket. I’m jumping from one back pocket to another. It’s exhausting – not to mention emotionally draining.

Confused? Who isn’t perplexed by the vagaries of the modern dating world? Let’s try to calm down with some comfort white bean pizza with arugula.

It’s easy to know if you’re in someone’s back pocket. First, there’s a flurry of interest. You might get a wink and all of your pictures are liked or favorited. Or you receive a notice that “he wants to meet you!” If you’re lucky, Mr. X will actually email you, though too often your message is a “canned flirt” written by the dating bots and sometimes by a dating coach. But let’s say your inbox contains a real albeit likely routine message such as “let’s chat.”

I received that exact message yesterday. Here’s the transcript with my comments in bold face.

Mr. X: Let’s Chat… Cheers

Nadia: Hi, when are you moving here? Ciao (Important to me since his profile did not clarify his residence status.)

Mr. X: I have moved. Living in Alexandria.

Nadia: Nice – I love Old Town (though not sure if you’re in Old Town). I’m a DC girl.

(In an effort to stand out from the crowd and avert a potentially boring conversation pattern, I threw him a somewhat out of the box question.)

Nadia: So what would you do if the song September by Earth, Wind, and Fire came on the radio?

(I love this song and based on his age and profile, I thought this tune might resonate with him.)

Mr. X: Sing along, dance and remember September past.

Nadia: That’s correct. 😊

(Comment and digression: Mr. X may not have gotten the humor in my comment unless he is a fan of The Late Late Show with James Corden. In one of the show’s regular features, bandleader Reggie Watts asks the guests an out of the box (often weird and funny) question. No matter what the guests answer; Watts’ reply is always, “That’s correct.”) 

When Mr. X didn’t follow up with a question, comment, or anything – and I saw he was online most of the day — I realized I had likely been back- pocketed. The question is would I stay there (in his mind) for a day, a week, or 2 months?

Of course, I’m not sitting around waiting for him to sift through an overflow of other women’s profiles. But it is disappointing. And because he didn’t respond, I started to question what I wrote to him.

It’s worth remembering that sometimes you make it out of a back pocket but it might be only a brief reprieve.

Case in point: the same day I interacted with Mr. X, Mr. G, a guy who lives in New Jersey and writes me every couple of months, contacted me. I replied to him and said that I wondered if there was a point to such infrequent communication.

Mr. G replied that the geographic distance was an issue. So I suggested that we consider meeting for lunch in Philadelphia-halfway between us. That sparked his interest but only temporarily. Like Mr. X, Mr. G left me hanging and back in the back pocket I went.

That’s when I put down the phone and went for a swim. Exercise, fresh air, friends and family, and music….all are good antidotes to woes from the back pocket problem.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia