Could Wearable Tech Help Singles Connect? A Scientific Fantasy

blog love birds

Lately I have been wondering if scientists and medical engineers could create a new wearable tech device to help singles connect with each other.

Let’s discuss over a lovely mushroom leek and fontina frittata.

There’s definitely a need for such a product. Just look at how many millions of people are on dating sites.

And there’s money to be made! Love is a multi-million dollar business if you factor in dating sites and apps, matchmakers, writers, bloggers (minus one blogger not earning anything), therapists, coaches, etc., etc.

So, we have identified both a population need and a viable economic industry.

What would this wearable tech device do and how would it work? You may be wondering if I’m imagining an orgasmatron-like device as conjured by Woody Allen in Sleeper. No, I did not say I was imagining a device to help singles sexually connect.

I’m thinking of a device that single men and women could wear that would sense and signal mutual chemistry and attraction. Let’s imagine that this product is a pin, a watchband and matching ring duo, or a special vest.

There is already technology to sense heart rate and respiration, research on sensors that measure the skin’s electrical properties, and studies on devices that detect emotions. Wearable tech is still a growing research field but is it that much of a leap to think that a chemistry/attraction wearable device could be invented? One challenge: Some of the research involves MRI scanners– a bit large scale for a wearable device.

The Product in Action 

What would happen if this device was developed and used?

Here’s an imaginary scenario involving two singles who are wearing a watchband/ring combination device that I call the Attracto Band-Ring:

Nadia is at a local health food store sampling the free cheese. Just as she reaches for a lovely morsel of Brie with truffles, her hand grazes another customer’s. She looks up to see an attractive man who smiles and apologizes for crowding her selection. She’s immediately captivated. Almost instantly, the tiny LED lights in Nadia’s watchband and ring start to glow. She looks at the man’s hand and confirms that his watchband and ring are also glowing. Just like a “match” on Tinder, they both know the other person likes them.

Will Mr. Attractive Stranger suggest a green tea latte at the health food store café? Will Nadia ask for Mr. Stranger’s number? The next step is up to them. The glowing watchbands have given then a sense of security. They each know they won’t be rejected outright if they choose to connect. And isn’t fear of rejection often the reason people don’t reach out?

Would you wear an Attracto Band-Ring? Let me know.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

A Change in Dating Tactics

blog post woman chess

Online dating and dating apps are not working well for me. In the spirit of “I’m not giving up yet,” I decided to change my approach to meeting men.

Have some cheesy rice with asparagus and I’ll explain my reasoning.

I am frustrated with the caliber of the men who reach out to me. With apologies to Lady Liberty, don’t give me your tired, your poor, your uneducated, unkempt, and uninformed. Do give me an age appropriate educated man with a sense of humor. Age appropriate is difficult to find.

I believe – and my single friends will back me up on this – that the men about my age who are online are reaching out to much younger women. Some of them try to get away with this by lying about their age. I have caught men in an age lie (e.g., a reference to a 50-year-old son by a man who is supposedly 60). Sometimes all it takes is a close look at the guy’s photo to know the age on the profile is inaccurate.

My profile has my real age and perhaps that is the problem. If most of the men are lying, I sometimes wonder if I need to shed some years to be competitive with the younger women they are pursuing.

I recently met with a matchmaker who confirmed the ageism reality of online dating. When a man plugs in his search criteria – or just browses online – he may disregard women in their 60s, even though these women may be in great shape and able to pass for women a decade younger.

If that same man met an attractive 60+-year-old woman in person, he might ask her out without even knowing her age. I believe age discrimination may also explain why a man who matches me on Tinder immediately unmatches me. My guess is that he selected me based on my – recent – photo but balked when he saw my age.

We all know that people age at different rates.   Appearances aside, many “baby boomers” have a young outlook on life, are active, social, interested, and interesting.   Jumping down now (despite my aging knees) from the soapbox.

My new approach involves a combination of stepping back from online dating, embracing in-person opportunities, and, in a case of turnabout is fair play, seeking out younger (not crazy young) men who appreciate a woman of a certain age. Like many of my about-faces, this approach may not last long.

How will I put this strategy into action? Here’s my plan:

Online Dating Pullback:

I’m on a lot of sites and apps. I won’t be checking these sites as often and I’m considering hiding my profile on a couple of them. I also will stop going to the online dating sites on weekends. Some dating coaches recommend a temporary total break from online dating and I may try that at some point.

For my no online on weekends experiment, the traditional dating sites (Match, OkCupid, etc.) will be off limits between Friday at 6 p.m. and Sunday about 5:00 p.m. Not only will this give the impression that I am dating up a storm all weekend but it will also give me a break from the tedium of the online experience. To feel like I’m doing something proactive, I will still swipe on the Tinder and Bumble apps. These apps require less work and no one can tell when you were last on them.

Meeting Men in Real Life: 

In recent months, I’ve been gravitating toward meeting men in the wild – going to a Match happy hour for example. The matchmaker I recently met thinks meeting men in real life is my best tactic. It’s a work- around men who search for younger women and won’t consider someone their own age. Pros: I will know if there is in-person chemistry and what the person really looks like. Cons: I’m shy in certain social situations so this will be tough for me.

To implement this approach, I signed up for memberships in the Smithsonian (classes, films, concerts, and trips) and the Phillips museum (events, concerts). I also joined The Writer’s Center (classes and events).

I’m already in a number of Meetups and have met some great women friends. I plan to seek out new groups that offer more potential for a romantic connection.

Younger Men: 

Let me start by saying I hate the word cougar. I think one of the male equivalents – manther – is just as bad. Let’s just call it what it is – dating younger.

On the dating sites, I see 60-year-old men seeking women 30 to 45. I’m not that unrealistic and that would be too much of an age gap for me. However, I’m o.k. with a 10-year-difference give or take a few months.

Apparently, there are a number of women who don’t mind a substantial age gap. I’m currently reading Raven: My Year of Dating Dangerously by a 60-year-old woman who has a wild time with men several decades her junior.

The Raven’s experience aside, I doubt I will have the same success as 60 something men who wish to date 50 something women. But if I strike a 54-year-old’s fancy, I’m open to dating him.

Wish me luck dear readers and let me know how your dating life is going.

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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

The Meet-Cute

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About a year ago I had what could be described as a meet-cute encounter. I had been working to control my resting bitch face in hopes of meeting men in the wild and so when a meet-cute opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it.

In honor of the first day of spring, let’s have some pasta primavera while I share my story.

I was walking home one late afternoon after a stroll in the park. As I approached a basketball court in typical full man-watching mode, I noticed a tall grey-topped specimen with diminishing plumage who was shooting hoops. I walked by just as he scored. Remembering my resolve to be open to all opportunities, I smiled and gave him a thumbs up. Mr. B (for basketball) looked at me, grinned, and threw me the ball. We shot hoops for about 20 minutes.

During this time I learned that my new friend was a teacher at the local community college, had survived a heavy recreational drug-using period during his youth, and was now practicing some kind of “higher power” philosophy that related to him having two first names. I also learned that he had a former girlfriend who had been living out of the country and texted him while we were shooting hoops to say she was in town.

When it was time for me to leave, we exchanged first names (two first names for him) but no numbers. As I continued my walk home, I thought about Mr. B and decided he was mildly attractive (too sweaty to get a full read on this) but had a couple of red flags. He had a somewhat flaky persona typical of former heavy pot smokers and he practiced the mysterious higher power philosophy.

Despite these reservations and the fact that I didn’t even know if he was single, I wandered back to the basketball court several times over the next few months. I never saw Mr. B again.

Had we exchanged contact information and actually dated, this would have been a perfect meet-cute.

Although the term meet-cute has been around since the 1940s, I had not heard of it until a friend used it to describe my basketball encounter.

According to the Urban Dictionary, meet-cute is a “scenario in which two individuals are brought together in some unlikely, zany, destined-to-fall-in-love-and-be-together-forever sort of way (the more unusual, the better). The way the characters meet in “Serendipity” or “When Harry Met Sally” or at least half the romantic comedies out there.”

I’ve always been a hopeful romantic so I love the idea of a meet-cute relationship launch.

I have a number of meet-cute fantasies. Here’s a sample.

Fall In Love

I’m not into spectator sports but a date at a Washington Capitals game revealed a hockey loving audience of tall, hunky guys.

In this meet-cute fantasy, I’m trying to navigate the bleachers to find my seat when I stumble and land in the lap of a particularly handsome fan. Think Claudette Colbert when the bus swerves and she falls into Clark Gable’s lap in It Happened One Night. We both laugh and after I apologize and stand up, my soft landing partner asks for my number.

Double Uber

It’s been a long day and after a late happy hour I don’t feel like taking the subway home. I decide to treat myself to an Uber ride. As I approach the car and confirm that the license plate and vehicle match the message on my phone, I see that a sophisticated looking gentleman is approaching my ride. Just as I’m about to open the car door, he says in a lovely British accent, “Pardon me, but I think this is the car I ordered.” “I don’t think so,” I say and show him the message on my phone. He has the same confirmation on his phone. We laugh and decide to share the ride.

Dogtopia

As a favor to my daughter, I bring my grand-dog Rover to the dog park. Rover encounters Lucy, a sprightly golden retriever, and the two fall madly in love. They engage in tail wagging, lots of sniffing, and even kissing. Lucy’s owner, an age appropriate athletic-looking guy, and I have a great conversation. We plan a double play date for the dogs and for us.

Given the right circumstances and the attitude to move things forward, these meet-cutes could happen.

Do you have a meet-cute story you can share? Write me!

If you liked this post or any past ones, subscribe to this blog for regular email delivery.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Meeting Men in Real Life: What Happens at a Match “Event?”

blog post on match eventbar scene

I went to a Match.com happy hour a few nights ago. This was not an easy task for a somewhat shy 60-something singleton. I went unaccompanied and anticipated not knowing a soul. I also worried about running into a nosy single, male neighbor who is on the site or perhaps one of the men I used to date. But I put on my big girl panties, actually I put on my Spanx leggings (seriously, these are fabulous), channeled Wonder Woman and all the movie characters who said, “Let’s do this,” and I did.

I’ll tell you the story over a delicious meal of oven-roasted sea bass with ginger and lime sauce.

The event was held in a “rock and roll” themed restaurant/bar music club. Match said attendees would be able to see who had checked in to the happy hour in real time on the event’s mobile site. But I never received the promised link to view the check-ins. So when I arrived, I had no idea who would be there.

The happy hour was billed ($10) as an event for 45-65 year olds. I worried that the women attending would be on the young end of the margin putting me at an immediate disadvantage. I don’t like competitive situations so if fangs were in evidence, I was prepared to duck out.

Like so many life situations (waiting to take a test or waiting for the results of a medical test), one often anticipates the worst possible outcome. Fortunately, things often turn out well – or better than expected. I feared being a “wallflower.” Other than surviving with ego intact, my goal was to be sociable and talk to some men.

When I walked in, the place was packed. I asked a friendly-looking man if this was the Match happy hour. He smiled and pointed to the back of the main room. There, in a sectioned off area, was a Match check-in desk.

As a somewhat shy person (yes, there are somewhat shy versus totally shy people), I had wondered whether there would be any “ice-breaker” activities. Eureka! Each attendee wrote the last place they travelled to on a sticky note and wore it instead of a name badge. So with Aruba scribbled on my tag, I approached the bar to buy some liquid courage.

It was 30 minutes into the event and people were talking in groups of 2, 3, or 4. I wondered if I could easily break into a conversation. There were clearly more women than men. Sadly, none of the men made my heart stop.

As I turned from the bar, I met “Chicago.” He asked me about Aruba and when I had been there. For some reason, I totally blanked (even before the wine) but finally remembered. Chicago and I had journalism in common and we ended up chatting for about 20 minutes. No sparks but a pleasant time.

As he walked away, I smiled at “Caribbean,” a woman about my age standing at the bar. We started talking, comparing dating notes and life stories. After awhile, we both realized we had the beginnings of a possible friendship. She said, “I consider this evening a win-win,” and I agreed.

After a quick trip to the restroom, I returned to find my new friend chatting with a man, “Sydney and Australian cities.” After “Caribbean” left, I stayed a few minutes to chat with “Sydney.” Again, I felt no chemistry with this man, but we had a nice talk.

It was about 9 pm at this point and only a few attendees remained. I left with an overall positive feeling about the evening.

Summary: About 25 to 30 people showed up versus the promised 70. Most were in the middle or upper end of the predetermined age range so my fears of being the oldest woman there were unfounded. A day later, Match sent a recap showing profile snapshots and photos of all of the people who RSVP’d. You could filter the list to see who had attended – a great idea if you were too shy to approach someone or just didn’t get a chance to connect.

According to the recap, 60 people RSVP’d (not sure what happened to the other 10) and 19 checked in. My guess is a few more just bypassed the check in desk – or I need help with my counting skills.

Everyone seemed friendly. Just like with the Meetups I have attended, people are there to connect so you have a better chance of getting a welcoming reception if you approach someone than you would in a random situation.

There’s no way to know if you’ll meet the man of your dreams at an event like this…but you might have a nice social time, find someone to go out with, or meet a new gal friend. All are win-wins!

And it’s lovely to have a break from scanning the online sites and swiping left or right. I plan on going to another event – perhaps an activity-based one.

Have you been to a dating site event? Let me know what happened.

If you liked this post or any past ones, subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes of this crazy dating life.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

Imagining a Singles Revolution in 2016

Blog people at bookstore

It’s the end of the year and although I could list my 10 most popular blog posts of 2015 or the year’s 10 worst dates, I would rather examine the state of “single power” and the ways society can help singles improve their love lives in the coming year.

“Single power,” to coin a term, is an individual’s acceptance and enjoyment of the single life as well as society’s fair treatment and respect of singles. Certainly more singles live alone, dine alone, and travel alone than ever before. With the rise of “single power,” we have seen such cultural shifts as restaurants not hiding single diners in the back of a restaurant and a movement toward the creation of smaller dwellings or “micro housing” for this population.

But even if singles are happy with their lives, many of them also want a significant other for intimacy, love, sex, and to have a built-in Scrabble partner. This desire is fueled by a couple-focused world. If you’re single, couples seem to be everywhere. They’re holding hands in the park, shopping together, and spotting each other in the gym. The holidays amplify the significance of a couple-based society and December is one of the most popular months to get engaged.

What am I getting at? Singles need help. Online dating is time consuming and not always productive; meeting someone in the wild is also a crapshoot.

It’s time for a revolution of sorts. Institutions, businesses, non-profits and government agencies need to band together to support singles and help us find our matches.

As we look ahead to 2016, dream with me as I imagine a world vastly changed in order to help singles find partners. Are you paying attention movers and shakers?

Read this wish list while eating Southern New Year’s Day Soup.

Ten Ideas to Help Singles Connect with Each Other:

  • Singles cars on trains. Unlike quiet cars, these cars will be lively and your reserved seat will be next to someone who is at least a 60 % match.
  • Singles shopping day at the grocery store. Every Friday afternoon will be designated Singles Friday. Any single entering the store will be given a wristband that signals their availability and willingness to talk among the veggies. Sexy, lively music will be broadcast instead of the usual Muzak.
  • Single waiting room in the ER. If you’re in the hospital, why not multi-task and see if chatting up a hot guy or gal can alleviate your pain.
  • Singles Saturdays at Coffee Bars. On Singles Saturdays at coffee shops, you have to approach a person of the opposite sex and ask them to order for you. They don’t have to pay for your drink but they do have to get the details of your order and place it. The rest of the conversation is up to you. Any one caught ordering a latte for himself or herself will be asked to leave.
  • Singles concerts. Only single seats will be sold and the required ticket purchase app will alternate seating (man, woman, man, etc.). The band will organize audience activities – such as kiss the person next to you. Think of it as spin the bottle on a massive scale.
  • Singles rows at movie theaters. Certain rows will be designated as singles rows and only individual tickets will be sold. At the end of the movie, an emcee will ask everyone to make one comment about the movie to the man or woman on his or her right.

Blog movie audience

  • Singles charity day. Nonprofits will sponsor singles charitable activity days. The charities will organize events that only singles can participate in. It will be clear to attendees that all participants are interested in connecting with other singles.
  • Singles government job fair. A government-sponsored singles job fair will feature government agency representatives discussing current job openings. There will be coffee meet and greets as well as a “meet other singles” lunch.
  • Singles day at the bookstore. Local independent bookstores will organize singles days. There will be book talks by authors of relationship and dating-related books. All store visitors who are single and interested in connecting with other singles will be given a wristband (similar to grocery store example noted above) that says “Ask me about my favorite book.” Shy singles will have the option of choosing a wristband inscribed with, “I’m shy. Text me at _________.” A phone number can be added.
  • Singles in Space Day. Government-sponsored space visitor centers will have Singles in Space Days. Activities will vary by location. Single visitors can bond at simulated shuttle launches.  After feeling those g forces, talking to another single will be a piece of cake.

Can you add to my wish list? Join the revolution!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

Dating Sites and Apps: A Rodeo Roundup

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It’s early Sunday morning (really early – before sunrise) and I’m sipping coffee, reading my latest OkCupid email. What a lovely note from a cultured man but he lives 2,384 miles away in Vegas, is 4 inches shorter than me….and he’s 86 years old.

You have to give him credit for desiring intimacy and going for it. And perhaps I’ll take him up on his offer of a road trip to see the Southwest…but it would be a friends-only no benefits excursion.

Before I pack my bags for Vegas, it’s time for a rodeo roundup of recently tried dating sites and apps. There’s a chill in the air so let’s have some cioppino to warm our bellies.

I tried to come up with a theory about why I like or dislike various sites and apps. Thoughts swirled around and I had a vague notion of why some of them worked better than others. My theories jelled after reading Maureen O’Connor’s recent article on dating apps in New York Magazine’s The Cut column. As she wrote, “We choose our dating apps the same way we choose bars, parties, coffee shops, concerts, and everywhere else we go with the vague hope of finding a mate – based on the people.” According to O’Connor, “the make-or-break factor in whether you stick around to flirt, or clam up and leave, is the crowd.”

My successes and failures with various sites and apps are certainly crowd-based. I hated eHarmony because the eHarmony folks picked the wrong crowd for me: they were boring and unattractive, and they all lived hundreds or thousands of miles away. To top it off, the site gave no option to scroll through and select guys I wanted to communicate with. I could only view men preselected for me.

Ms. O’Connor’s article presents a quick summary of the populations she encountered on 15 dating apps. Different users will, of course, see different crowds based on their profiles and search preferences. I tried some of the same sites/apps but my “crowd” is composed of older guys in a different location. Interestingly, in some cases, I must be getting older DC-area versions of the younger guys Ms. O’Connor found in NY.

Here’s my rodeo round up of sites and apps I tried, including a “senior” dating site geared to baby boomers and a couple of niche dating sites.

My assessment of online dating venues is based on whether there are a good number of dateable guys who are attractive, educated, and interesting; whether the men reach out and contact matches rather than just viewing them; and whether the site has a lot of scammers and fake users.

Dating Sites and Apps Round-up:

Match: I continue to find “dateable guys” seeking relationships on Match and they have the largest subscriber base of all of the sites so this one’s a keeper even though I receive a greater volume of inquiries on some of the other sites.

OkCupid: This used to be my favorite site and I have had a couple of 90-day relationships from matches on this site. However, lately, the site seems to be overrun with scammers, fake users, and strange guys. I’m not giving up on Ok but it’s gone down a notch on my list.

Plenty of Fish: I like this site and have had a number of dates from fish in this sea. No winners yet but at least the guys are dateable and reach out.

eHarmony: see above. Grade: F 

JDate: My matches did not appeal and the guys did not seem to reach out as much as men on other sites.

OurTime: At first I loved OurTime, a site for those 50 and over. The users are active. They reach out frequently. However, too many of the guys are not appealing or educated and none of my conversations resulted in actual dates. I deleted it after a few months.

Ebony and Ivory: My foray into this niche dating site was a bust and I have stopped using this site. I was seeking ethnic variety but I was presented with mostly older, white dudes out of my geographic area. The “personal” emails I received were generic bits of profiles. The one time I wrote to Customer Service, I received a canned response to my complaint about geographic incompatibility.

How About We: Hardly anyone is on this site and no one appealed. The concept is clever: you suggest a date idea and an interested party can respond to that idea or suggest an alternate one. There’s also a nice feature that says you’re available to go out that night.   I never received a “match” for the “go out that night” feature. The only date I had was with a widower who acknowledged he was not ready to date. I’m no longer a member.

Bumble: As a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, I was immediately intrigued by a “feminist” dating app. Created by one of the co-founders of Tinder, Bumble’s “shtick” is that only women are allowed to initiate contact with a guy. I like the idea of women being in control. I am proactive on traditional sites/apps, but prefer to have men make the first move on these platforms. On Bumble, I feel freer to be the pursuer.

I was worried at first that there wouldn’t be enough men my age on Bumble. And that appears to be the case. I haven’t received many matches and the only date I scheduled was with a younger man who cancelled at almost the last minute due to a work crisis. I’ll keep using this site but due to the small number of matches I’m getting, I feel like the likelihood of my finding someone is the equivalent of a needle hole in a haystack…or perhaps a tiny bee in a big hive. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Tinder: I have to give credit to Karen Yankosky of the Women of Uncertain Age podcast for inspiring me to try Tinder. Apparently Tinder is not just a hook-up App. Women and men can – and do — indicate they are seeking a relationship, not a one-night stand. So I bit the bullet a few days ago and quickly and easily created a profile.

Both Tinder and Bumble pull your public info from Facebook. Only your first name shows up on the App. If you feel nervous about exposing your Facebook info, you can follow my example. I pruned the public info on my profile. There is nothing in my Facebook profile that a stranger could use to identify or find me.

In addition to pulling information and photos from your Facebook profile, Tinder displays your location information and age. If you like someone, you can swipe right or select a heart. If you don’t like the guy, you swipe left or select the big X. If two people swipe right, they are both alerted by the app that they like each other and can start messaging. There seems to be an endless supply of men on the app (many of whom I recognize from other dating sites). I have my first Tinder coffee date set up for next week.

I love Tinder. It’s addictive. I especially like the fact that you only communicate with someone when you both like each other. Of course, this is my latest App download…and so I’m still in the crush phase.

To wrap up my rodeo, I leave you with two summary points. I think it IS a good idea to be on as many sites as you can handle. Some dating advisors suggest limiting your sites and apps to 2 or 3. I disagree. For one thing, if you have started dating someone from one of the sites, but you are not exclusive yet, you might want to browse on another site without your possible keeper guy knowing about it. Plus, with more sites, you’ll have more options. Maximize your possibilities!

If a site is not working out, stop using it but consider another trial period in 6 months. There may be some new users or app upgrades that change the experience.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

Overcoming My Resting Bitch Face: A Work in Progress

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It was the last straw and I’ll explain why in a bit. Only an hour previously, I had been commiserating with a single friend about our unhappy looking resting bitch faces or RBF as the defined phenomenon is called. (See I’m not Mad. That’s Just my Resting Bitch Face.)

The dilemma: Women are strolling through life with a non-smiling face. This RBF is often accompanied by a failure to interact with strangers at opportune moments.

“Why is this the case?” I wondered.

Before I get too far on this rant, let’s have an appropriately sourced recipe of grilled trout from the Angry Trout Café in Minnesota.

My theory about the origin of RBF is based on the trials and tribulations of adolescence. As a young teenager, I found RBF an effective defense mechanism against cat calling by obnoxious alpha male teens. As I matured, RBF continued to be my go-to expression in public at a time when unwanted vocal male attention was more the norm. Today you’re more likely to get a sext from a stranger…but that’s another story.

So now that I’m in the 6th decade of life – and as a single woman, seeking male attention – my RBF is unfortunately fully ingrained.

Instead of a resting expression that invites smiling and flirting, I have an expression that says, “What’s your problem?”

Which brings me back to the last straw – see lead paragraph. The Epiphany of the Last Straw happened after attending an outdoor concert with a friend and talking about our mutual affliction of RBF.

After the concert, as I walked back to the parking lot by myself, thinking about RBF and the fact that it was a dateless Friday night, I was vaguely aware of a lone tall male presence carrying his porta-chair to the same lot. We each approached side-by-side parking pay-on-foot machines. For some reason, my normally competent pay-on-foot skills failed and I fought with the machine to accept my money. During this interlude, I felt my face in full RBF. Meanwhile, the dude was processing his ticket.

Did I ask for help? Did I turn off my full RBF and smile fetchingly while asking him for help? NO.

Instead, I kept reinserting my credit card until the parking gods decided to let me win. By then, Mr. Stranger was already walking to his car and my damsel in distress moment had passed.

“Shit,” I said to myself. “Here was a perfect flirt opportunity and I blew it…thanks to an RBF attitude.” Because function follows form or some such thing… basically when your face and body are closed off, your mind is following suit and you are not in flirt ready mode (FRM to coin a term).

So, my epiphany was the realization of my too frequent RBF. This revelation was accompanied by a resolve to bury it through a concerted effort of awareness and motivation.

My pledge: During every waking moment I am in public (wait – I am usually awake in public), I promise to be aware of my facial expression and smile or at least exhibit a pleasant face. Should there be an opportunity to flirt, I will make the most of it and I resolve to always be in flirt ready mode.

Before there can be behavior change, there must be awareness. So I’m definitely aware and working on the behavior change. I went solo to a happy hour at a bar the other night and actually smiled at strangers a couple of times. Like the headline says – a work in progress.

If you have cured your RBF, please write to me and let me know it can be done.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Put your Best Face Forward: Get a Professional Photo

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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.

But recently I started thinking about having a professional take some photos I could use for dating profiles. After interviewing dating coach Erika Ettin, who advocates the use of professional photographs when possible, I decided to bite the financial bullet and go for it. I took the advice offered in her book Love at First Site: Tips and Tales for Online Dating Success from a Modern-Day Matchmaker and opted for an outdoor shoot.

Before I tell you more, let’s break for a lovely celebration of the summer season by enjoying Bon Appetit’s grilled shrimp salad with corn and avocado.

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.

XXXOOO

Nadia

*More on my experiences with these two dating venues in a future post.

The Small Town World of Online Dating

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Like every small town, the microcosm of one’s online dating universe, is composed of familiar characters — from the “angry town drunk” to the “shy old fashioned guy.”

You might nod at these townies as you pass by on the way to “the new hot one” or the “back again after a breakup guy.” And some of them might reach out to you on a regular basis. Let’s discuss the small town world of Matchville while munching on some classic macaroni and cheese revamped by skinnytaste for a modern healthy lifestyle.

Strolling down the too familiar streets of Matchville’s Recently Viewed Lane and Connections Boulevard, I encounter a familiar face – Mr. G.

Mr. G first wrote to me when we both resided on PlentyofFish Town. I kindly let him know that I didn’t think we matched (age, height, common interests, language difficulties on his part) but he has continued to check in periodically on Matchville to tell me to not give up and to let me know he wished we could see each other.

Sometimes his emails boost my ego: “Why haven’t you been snatched up? The guys here are fools,” etc. etc. When I’m in a dry spell, an email from Mr. G can keep me going. At other times, Mr. G’s persistence gets on my nerves.

Then there’s the recently moved to Matchville “thinks he’s hot” guy who is my new best friend. At first, his brief over-confident one liners amused me, even as I told him we were not a match. But now, this neighbor is becoming the one I want to avoid and I’m dreaming of toilet papering his tree. “I will rock your world,” he writes, “Let’s go get a drink tonight.” No surprise – he hasn’t commented on anything substantive in my profile and all of his emails focus on HIM and why he would be so great for me. This townie will be blocked.

The shy old-fashioned guy still exists. He started out writing to me several months ago during the broadcast of an award show. It took him awhile to suggest a date – going to a concert some time this summer. I kept looking at his profile searching for interests in common and hoping I would find him attractive but I couldn’t swing it. Plus he lived pretty far away so I stopped responding (yes – guilty of ghosting).

Shy guy still views me periodically and sends a short “how are you doing” email as if to stop me as I walk down Matchville’s main street. But I keep on walking.

Another townie is the “possibly creepy but maybe just lonely guy.” One such guy views me periodically. Two years ago we viewed each other on a regular basis and then finally exchanged emails. I can’t recall who reached out first. Things seemed promising even though Mr. L is a decade younger than me.

We ended up emailing about dating and relationships and started to make plans to meet. Then he revealed that he has ED and is trying to explore other ways of being intimate. I thanked him for his honesty about a subject that is not easy for most men to discuss. After letting him know what I was looking for — and given my relatively recent divorce – I wanted the whole kahuna :smile:, our emails stopped. To this day, Mr. L views me on occasion. I sense his loneliness and sometimes wonder if I should suggest we get coffee and just talk.

There are other types and regulars in Matchville. And just like a small town, I know something of everyone’s business. I know when a guy has started seeing someone regularly because his profile is “hidden” or he hasn’t been online in 3 weeks. Some of these guys might be exes and I feel a pang when I think they have found someone and I haven’t.

I have a history with a lot of Matchville’s residents and it’s starting to feel too much like a small town. I’m getting bored and tired of the search. It’s not that I’m in a dry spell. There are some irons in the fire but nothing definite yet. I’m just impatient and ready for big city life.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating. XXXOOO Nadia

View from the Trenches: At Peace with Dating or Not Dating

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It’s always good to hear about the dating life of other single women. If nothing else, it’s comforting to know that you are not the only one on the receiving end of some strange male dating behaviors. And when things go well, you give or receive hope from your support group.

Let’s find out about Gina Sangster’s dating experiences while we have Marcella Hazan’s classic pesto. This is my favorite pesto recipe and my go-to summertime staple.

Well, things have flat-lined – again – in my latest dating effort. Inspired by a recent ageist comment about Senior People Meet (I think it was something about denture-wearers) I re-upped my subscription. I’ll show them, huh? I had sworn off all dating sites for the past year and while not a hermit, my day to day life affords few opportunities to meet potential dating partners. That reality, and closing in on 65 which equals being invisible, irrelevant, disposable and even at times pitiable in public make my chances slim to none.

I keep forgetting that having gray hair means you can’t stand up on the Metro and while I still swoon for chivalry in a young man, it really bugs me when a woman close to my age offers me her seat. Hidden within this aging body with its head of silver curls lurks a formerly hot chick, a babe, a true blue pretty girl that even the women’s movement of the raging 70’s couldn’t squelch. So I decided to give on-line dating one more whirl.

I could stomach doing this because I stopped caring about whether or not I’ll ever meet someone, unlike when I was first sprung from my 20-year marriage just shy of 50 on the edge of the millennium when print personals were still in fashion. I met Rick, sturdy-looking, bald, divorced with a winning smile. He was wearing jeans and a nice shirt, just the pulled together casual style I like, and we made out like teenagers in front of the Library of Congress fountain with its spraying turtles, serpents and bold, muscular nudes. It seemed like we dated for years but it was only a few months. He slid right into my family, picking up my teenaged daughter from a friend’s house, sharing Thanksgiving dinner with us, showing a genuine interest in my young son’s martial arts practice. But I soon discovered he wasn’t over his last girlfriend, so he bowed out just before Valentines’ Day when I’d imagined us spending a romantic weekend at some bed n’ breakfast in the Shenandoah. Rick set the bar pretty high and in some ways my dating experience has been downhill ever since.

Not that I blame all the men. I’ve chosen to devote time and energy to relationships that were doomed from the start. How about a man calling from Saudi Arabia who even when he’s at home in the States would be about 500 miles away? I carried a torch for him for a couple of years, though we only saw each other maybe half a dozen times. Or the dapper man I dated for about 9 months who had habits you’d expect of a 15 year old: not calling when he said he would, coming up with lame excuses like he left his phone at home or fell asleep watching TV, all the while professing how much he cared for me and wanted our relationship to be meaningful. These ventures into dating boot camp help me stay grounded as a psychotherapist; though I reveal none of this to my clients, they feel my compassion as they share the disasters of their lives for which they suffer terrible guilt and shame. I’m pretty good at curing most cases of guilt and shame.

So my latest half-hearted return to on-line dating through Senior People Meet netted me a brief flurry of activity, headed up by the man who was especially excited because we’re about the same height which is less than five feet tall. I know it’s crass and superficial of me to admit that I just couldn’t cope with the prospect. Perhaps if his voice on the phone had been less grating and he hadn’t made one more joke about us “seeing eye-to-eye,” I might have considered it. Then the guys from Texas, Florida, and all over the South and Midwest who ignore the plea in my profile for contact only with men local to the DC area; and the men with little education who can’t write a complete sentence and wouldn’t know a comma or capitalization if it sat in their lap; never mind the beloved semi-colon. For me, education doesn’t have to be Ivy League; in fact, I prefer if it isn’t. The School of Hard Knocks is fine with me, as long as he’s literate. No picture? What is it about men who like a woman’s photo but post none of their own? We’re visual creatures too and while a man’s looks may not tell the whole story, how is it fair that we get to be seen but can’t see who’s watching? Oh, and the penchant for not answering a nice, inviting message? Even if the answer is no, why the silent treatment?

Here’s what I’d like: a man in a decent shirt, no tie; jeans or some other form of casual garb, photographed recently – let’s say within the last year – with no hair dye or hair piece, looking like he’s at home in his own body. No pictures of his kids or grandchildren need to be featured; that can come later. A dog or cat would be fine. If he’s snow-boarding, skiing, sky-diving, sailing around the world or clocking in under three-hour marathons, we may not be a match. Athletic is good, but not to excess; I love my weekly yoga class and long walks but I’m not going to keep up with an Iron-man competitor. Some extra poundage is fine; in fact, better than skinny in my book. Bald is okay too; Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas were stars of my formative years. I like smart and funny, curious and passionate; someone like me, only taller.

I’ll let my Senior People Meet subscription run its course and will check in when I get a “flirt” or message, but my heart isn’t in it. And there’s relief in that, to be at peace with my life as it is, with work that I love, friendships to nurture, and great relationships with my kids and grandsons. A wise woman once told me, “Well, you know, you can’t have it all.” Not something we hardcore feminists wanted to believe, but it’s true.

Gina Sangster

June 13, 2015