Post-Valentine’s Day Blues

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Are you feeling the post-Valentine’s Day blues? I am and perhaps it’s because I didn’t follow through on all of my Valentine’s Day Resolutions to meet men in real life.

Let’s enjoy a blues-appropriate lunch of Southwestern black bean quinoa mango medley. Keeping it light for the approaching bikini season.

Oh, yes, those resolutions. I’m afraid I didn’t attempt all of them…and in one case, I tried to game the system by combining three in one day.

Among my resolutions were plans to write in a coffee shop, have dinner at a bar, and go to a “social” grocery store in the evening. As mentioned above, I mistakenly tried to cram all three actions into a single afternoon/early evening.

Here’s how the day went: One Wednesday afternoon, I decided to try writing at a local Starbucks. I arrived about 3:45 p.m. Although there were a couple of solo men working on laptops, the venue was sparsely populated. I selected a table where I could see one of the guys but it was too far away for conversation. Had it been more crowded, it might have been less awkward to sit fairly close to one of the laptop guys. However, it wasn’t a great loss since neither man was age appropriate or particularly attractive.

Since not much was happening in the possible romance department, I decided to focus on writing. This became a challenge in concentration as a man and a woman sat next to me and carried on an annoying conversation. I should have followed the advice of one of my teachers who suggested taking notes on the conversation of strangers in order to improve one’s dialogue writing skills.

Lesson learned: Late afternoon may not be the best time to meet men in a coffee shop—though this could vary depending on the venue.

Continuing my experiment, I walked over to a nearby restaurant/bar with the intention of having a happy hour “dinner.” Although some happy hours are lively at 5 pm, this popular restaurant’s bar area was practically empty when I arrived. A couple of people sat in one of the nearby booths but virtually no one was sitting at the bar. I ordered a drink and appetizer in hopes the venue would fill up but only a small group of work colleagues sat down. I decided to cut my losses and head to the Whole Foods across the way.

Lesson learned: Some bars ARE busy at 5 pm so it makes sense to try different venues at different times and on different days of the week.

It was about 6 pm when I arrived at the Whole Foods. I was a little too buzzed from the afternoon’s competing libations – a Starbucks cappuccino followed by a generously poured glass of wine. Needless to say, I wasn’t in prime flirting form. I failed to go to the produce aisle where imaginary men could ask for my help in selecting vegetables or to the prepared foods counter where more imaginary men could ask if I have ever tried the General Tso’s Vegan Chicken.  Instead, I shopped for things I actually needed or wanted to try (e.g., Halo Top ice cream).

Lesson learned: Don’t do a grocery run when you’re tired or tipsy. Do stroll to the best meeting locations within the store (after you select whatever you really need).

Aside from the 3-in-1 disaster, I made progress on some of the other resolutions: I signed up for a free introduction to improv class to be held this weekend, registered for more meet-up events, and made a resolution action schedule (promptly ignored).

It’s always worth celebrating the small victories. Without my list of resolutions, I might not have done any of these things. Plus the benefits extend beyond possible romance –  friendship opportunities in the meet-ups and improv class and pennies saved via a produce sale at Whole Foods.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Giving a Bad First Date a Second Chance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Ten Favorite Things: Fall 2016 Edition

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In need of a little mood lift this week? Browse through my latest list of favorite things and enjoy, chill out, be inspired, or just escape from the persistent rain of depressing news.

This list should be read while munching on arugula salad with manchego, apples, and caramelized walnuts.

  1. Ten Most Relaxing Songs Ever

Feeling an overwhelming desire to relax? An article in Inc.com by Melanie Curtin describes neuroscience research on songs that produce the greatest state of relaxation. Weightless, one of the songs tested, reduced study participants’ overall anxiety by 65 percent. Curtin created a public playlist of the songs on Spotify.

  1. RockMyRun

On the other side of the music spectrum, there’s RockMyRun, a smartphone music app that is anything but relaxing – but in a good way. The app is DJ curated and tested with and by athletes to provide tunes that increases your exercise enjoyment and performance. There are thousands of music mixes to choose from. The ROCKSTAR Premium Membership is ad-free and allows you to save stations and personalize the music to your heart rate, steps, or personal preference.

This is my go-to music app at the gym.

  1. The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage, Cathi Hanauer (ed)

How did I not know about this book? This collection of essays describing the modern woman’s struggles with relationships, sex, marriage, parenting, and career is beautifully written, searingly honest, and intensely personal. I was struck by the incredible variety of experiences women have. As editor Cathi Hanauer says of the authors, “Their pieces reflect, in a chorus of different voices, the elations and disappointments of our lives as fervent and ambitious women today.”

  1. The Bitch is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier, Cathi Hanauer (ed)

I read the first Bitch book right after the sequel was published so I didn’t have to wait 10 years to find out what happened to nine of the original writers. These writers, plus 16 new contributors, offer their thoughts on love, sex, work, family, independence, aging, body image, and health. “It’s a book about choices – specifically the choices today’s bold, deep-thinking, impassioned women make as they approach and pass through midlife—and about what we might gain, and give up, with each choice, “ writes Hanauer.

  1. Kind of Blue, Miles Davis

If you’re a jazz fan, you may know this album inside out. Often described as a masterpiece, and one of the top jazz albums of all time, the music matches my mood lately.   If you’ve never heard it, you’re in for a treat. See: NPR’s Jazz Profiles.

  1. Meetup

I’ve been talking about Meetups since day one of this blog. This website and app geared to bringing people together over common interests continues to be a favorite of mine. Meetups are a great way to make friends, experience something new, or just have a good time. I have joined so many Meetups that on any given day when I don’t have specific plans, I can search on the site or app and usually find something to do. It’s not a small enterprise: 28.46 million members in 179 countries.

  1. Eventbrite

I first learned of Eventbrite years ago when I received a party invitation from a friend. She used the free event-planning site/app to send out invitations and manage RSVPS.

What I didn’t realize initially is that a number of organizations post their events on Eventbrite for publicity purposes (and in some cases ticket sales). The Eventbrite service is free to use if you are hosting or sponsoring a free event.

From a consumer’s perspective, Eventbrite is a great resource for things to do. You can search activities by category, location, date, and price. Diversions include concerts, festivals, seminars, sports events, wine tastings, and singles parties. In addition to events in the U.S., 16 countries are represented. If you’re travelling, check out what’s happening during your trip.

  1. Power Bank for your phone or tablet, EasyAcc

This portable power bank saved me on a recent trip to Europe. If you’re out sightseeing all day, you don’t want to stop the fun to charge your phone or tablet. It’s also useful when you’re out and about in your hometown – or just hiking in the woods for the day. This model is not the lightest power bank you can buy, but it packs a wallop of charge. Check it out!

  1. Being Erica

Being Erica is my new favorite binge-worthy show. Erica is a young woman who feels like her life is a failure due to poor choices she has made in the past. She starts seeing a therapist to deal with her regrets. The twist? The therapist has the ability to send her back in time to relive and, in some cases, change crucial events. This four season CBC series ended in 2011. However, it seems very timely – even edgy.

I recommend it – especially if you enjoy stories about time travel. Being Erica is available on Hulu.

  1. Watching, New York Times

Watching, a new TV and film website from the New York Times, provides recommendations on what to watch across streaming services.

It’s free to subscribers and to those who register with the Times (also free). Check off what you’re in the mood for and the site spits back some recommendations. I did this and found Being Erica (see #9).

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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia