Voice Mail from an Ex

voice mail from an ex

The voice mail message sat on my home phone answering machine for over a week before I listened to it.

“Hi Nadia, this is Z. We went out once or twice. Hope you are well. I wonder if you have 10 minutes to talk. I have a rather awkward question to ask you.”

I listened to the message twice. I was confused and a bit alarmed. Mr. Z and I had briefly dated about 3 years ago. We got together 4 or 5 times. One time we attempted the 36 questions. I liked him but could not imagine a future with him due primarily to his religion-based lifestyle. I didn’t want to ghost him so when he called one day to arrange a date I told him the truth and said goodbye.

I racked my brain wondering what the awkward topic might be. My mind started making up all kinds of wild scenarios. I checked my medical files and was reassured that I had a clean STD-free bill of health. Oh, wait; I didn’t have sex with Mr. Z. Could I have some new STD that takes 3 years to develop? Oh, wait; I didn’t have sex with Mr. Z. So you see my bizarre and non-logical thought process. It was the word awkward that threw me. What could be awkward? Perhaps he was dating someone I know. There was only one way to find out. I needed to call him back.

“Hi Z,” I began, “Sorry about my delayed response to your message. I rarely listen to my home machine since it’s usually filled with sales calls.”

“No worries,” he said, “and thanks for calling back. I have an odd question to ask you,” he said.

“I’ve been dating someone for about a year and she’s a terrific person. But she’s not a very good kisser. We’ve talked about it – or tried to but I don’t have good language to describe to her what I want. I even gave her a book on kissing. But nothing has changed. Last weekend, I was thinking about it and I thought, who do I know who’s a good kisser. That’s why I called you. Also, because you’re a words person and I thought you might give me some language.”

I laughed. I was relieved (again, remember my weird thought process), somewhat flattered (he remembers my kisses 3 years later), and touched by Mr. Z’s heartfelt desire to attempt a “fix” with a woman he obviously cared about.

I shared my relief and worries about the nature of his call. “But we didn’t have sex,” he said. “I know,” I said, “it doesn’t make sense.”

I asked Mr. Z if his friend was offended when he gave her a book on kissing – or even during his talks with her about it. “No,” he said, “we’re able to be very honest with each other and we don’t take offense at suggestions.”

I can tell you right now that if a guy I was dating gave me a book on kissing I would be offended…but apparently (insert smiley face), I don’t need to worry about that happening.

The rest of our conversation was a brainstorming session led by me, Kissing Therapist. Just call me KT. “Do you think she likes kissing?” I asked. “Who doesn’t like kissing?” Mr. Z replied.

Kissing is not important to everyone. From my experiences and conversation with friends, some people just ‘aren’t that into it.’ They may enjoy sex but kissing is not that essential to them. Perhaps they grew up with a less than affectionate family. Oh, wait; I’m not a psychotherapist, just a kissing therapist. I happen to love kissing. And I think that’s a prerequisite for success.

I also suggested that Mr. Z consider whether his friend is a sensual person, a trait that I believe is associated with good kissing.

“Maybe you need to focus on her mouth – but not necessarily kissing,” I suggested, “try feeding her strawberries. Use your imagination.”

The more we talked about the kissing challenge, the more detailed were my suggestions.  No, not everything goes in this blog post. After a few minutes I could tell that it was time to end our conversation. I suggested that Mr. Z might need a cold shower after we hung up.

We laughed. He thanked me for my suggestions and asked if I’d mind if he called me sometime with an update. I said that would be fine. Later I thought about our conversation. Women often say they train their male partners to be better lovers so I guess it’s reasonable to assume that a man could “train” a woman to be a better kisser. What do you think? Have you ever stopped dating someone because he was a bad kisser? Would you try to “fix” the situation before breaking up? Let me know.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating. And, hopefully, happy kissing.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

blox pix pda 2

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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/