My Brain on Line

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Wouldn’t you love to know what a guy is thinking when he views you on a dating site or app — particularly after you’ve sent him a message and he doesn’t respond but keeps coming back to take a look?

What is going on? Does he not like the carefully thought out question or comment you may have sent? Or are you just not his type? Then, why the view? To tease or boost your ego?

You can’t make sense out of a lot of what happens online.  And there’s usually no point in trying to figure it out.

I may not be able to read the minds of my matches and translate them for you …but I can share what I think when I swipe or read someone’s profile.

Join me in some sweet corn polenta with roasted tomatoes and avocado while I convey my thought process during recent reviews of dating profiles.

In some cases, I’m deciding whether to begin or continue corresponding with a man who has contacted or viewed me or to be proactive and reach out to a promising match. To protect the usually guilty, screen names have not been revealed. And despite my best effort, I sometimes can’t help but wonder what a guy is thinking.

Match #1:

Hmmmm, way out of my league. Kind of cute in a grandfatherly way but I’m just not into history or politics to the degree that he seems to want. Why does his profile read like half of a resume…but the other half is nice?

Continuing with the negative, he comes across as arrogant since he mentions how smart he is in an indirect/direct way. I don’t like braggarts or egomaniacs.

Sounds like he enjoys a nice lifestyle but that’s not enough. I guess some women would go for him but I can’t force myself to like someone for his great house or wealth. Plus, he seems to be perfect in everything! Give me a little humility please.  I’ll just have to pass.

Match #2:

He sent such a lovely note…oh, no, he’s 80. That must be a decades old profile photo. Sorry…no.  Kind of cool that he’s still trying at 80. Just saying.

Match #3:

Cute even if balding., tall enough, nice profile for Bumble…similar interests…Yes, I will swipe right.  Sad that he’s swiping from the airport-wonder if he lives here or is just passing through.

Match #4:

Another Bumbler. He looks active from his photos but there’s no written profile. Without a profile, I swipe left unless a guy knocks my socks—and various other things – off.

Match #5:

Another airport swiper on Bumble.  What gives? Are flights cancelled on this beautiful day?  One pix and his face is not visible. No profile.  Swiping left.

Match #6:

Damn- 6’5” on OurTime and a nice, profile with heart. Some of the same interests…a little younger.  All good. I’m writing to this one and suggesting we meet for a glass of wine.  Update: he responds, we exchange messages, and talk on the phone.  Not the best pre-meeting phone call I’ve ever had but willing to meet him to see if there’s chemistry.  However, haven’t heard from him in 2 days. This one bites the dust.  And it bites.

Matches #7 and #8:

Both Mr. A and Mr. B on Zoosk have one extreme close up head shot each and no other pictures. Mr. B also has travel and nature photos, which I find annoying unless the man in question appears in the photos.

I ask both for more photos. I explain to Mr. A that I have been “burned” before by guys with limited pictures who are deliberately hiding their true appearance (makes no sense to me as the gig is up if we meet).

Mr. A understands, explains that he is not photogenic and writes that he will try to look for more pictures.  Mr. B says he realizes he has loaded lots of travel photos and not enough of him. He adds that he’s in a work crunch but promises to load more.

Neither A nor B adds any pictures but both keep viewing me.  Have they misrepresented themselves? Lazy? Perhaps both are just “not into me” enough to put in the effort?

Match #9:

Nice looking and tall: check.  Intelligent: check. Well written profile that gives a sense of the man: check.  Retired and active, a volunteer, athletic, shared interests: check.  Looks good!  Oh, no, where is Mechanicsburg?  Pennsylvania? Sigh. Too far away.

Lightning round:

Conservative. No. No. No.

Ten years older than his pictures.  No.

Separated.  No.

A foot shorter than me.  No.

He’s my age and has two children under 10. No. No. No.

He is recently widowed.  No.

Profiles and pictures do not a person make…but sometimes, that’s all we have as the first decision point in the marathon of romance.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Stuck in the Dating Back Pocket and How to Cope

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dating Attention Deficit Syndrome: A New Epidemic?

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I am convinced that a significant number of men on online dating sites are suffering from a severe case of DADD — Dating Attention Deficit Syndrome. Women share this affliction but I suspect there are fewer of them and that they have a milder version of DADD.

Let’s discuss over Anthony Bourdain’s omelet with salmon and chives.

You have heard me rant before about the window-shopping or candy store experience of online dating. A recent virtual encounter on Zoosk triggered the naming of a real affliction I call DADD. (Apologies to all the fathers.)

DADD is backed up by research. A 2015 Pew Research study found that one-third of people who used online dating have never actually gone on a date with someone they met on these sites. I imagine these people emailing and texting ad nauseam until the end of time.

Case in point: A recent 10-day text exchange I had with Mr. F from Zoosk. I kept encouraging an in-person meeting but Mr. F was equally adept at promising and delaying.

For example, in a discussion of food and cooking, I suggested we get a drink to plan a salmon throwdown. Mr. F liked the idea and we continued to volley about this and other topcs — on the site and then offline (using my Google voice number).

Mr. F began sending me a daily 5 p.m. text asking how my day was. Sadly, he failed to advance the discussion significantly so that we could learn something substantive about each other. I continued to pursue an in-person meeting. And the kicker? He was constantly online. Every time I went on Zoosk to check messages, I got a notification that my connection, Mr. F, was on the site.

Finally, I’d had enough. At this point, the flirting by text lost its appeal. After a weekend of no contact (although Mr. F was certainly online), I was convinced he was either playing at dating and never intended to meet or he had lined up dates with so many other women that I wasn’t a priority. When he sent his usual 5 p.m. text on the Monday after the no-contact weekend, I decided to rebuff him in a snarky way.   See below for the end of our “relationship.”

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My last “Ciao” was cut off in the screen shot.

As I suspected (and hoped), my response ended this merry go round. When you’re pissed off, having the last word is deeply satisfying!

Mr. F wasn’t the first man with DADD I have encountered. Some have admitted to me they know they are online too much. Even if they meet some of the women they encounter, they can’t seem to stop looking for the next best Ms. Right.

Hope we all find someone who has kicked DADD – or never had it.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

Can He Cut it? Test Your Date’s Compatibility

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There are happy hour dates, movie dates, and walk in the park dates. What is really needed are dates to quickly find out if a man is the one or “one of the ones.”

Let’s enjoy this dating fantasy while we chow down on some lentil vegetable soup.

What qualities do we need to evaluate in our potential “one?” Here are a few desirable traits and a sample imaginary date you could use to test each one. Let’s call our fictional test dater Max.

The Quality: Good Communicator

The Challenge:

The ability to communicate is critical. If you have done or said something to annoy or anger your guy, he should be able to tell you about it. Otherwise, the issue will simmer and resentment will build.

Your challenge is to create a situation where you do something annoying or obnoxious to find out if Max will give you feedback.

The Date Scenario:

Suggest to Max that you go to a movie he has been interested in seeing. Once the movie starts, whisper a comment in his ear. Comment or ask questions about the plot every 10 minutes until the movie ends. Alternate your comments with an offer to share your popcorn. Even if Max says “no, thanks,” keep offering him tastes throughout the movie.

Scoring and Outcome:

A: Max quickly asks you to hold your comments

B: Max shares his annoyance after the movie is over

D: Max says nothing. You break up within a week.

F: Max runs screaming from the theater half way through the movie

The Quality: Resilience (Ability to roll with the punches)

The Challenge:

Life doesn’t always run smoothly. In fact, you can count on things going astray almost daily. An important quality is the ability to take these bumps on the road in stride and enjoy the day regardless.

Your challenge is to create a date filled with obstacles to see how well Max can “roll with it.”

The Date Scenario:

It’s a beautiful late spring day and you and darling Max are headed to a winery event in the country. Max’s favorite band is playing for a short set.

To start things off, you take a little longer getting ready to leave so there is no travel time to spare (if you’re to see the band and get the full wine tasting experience).

Under the guise of being the designated driver, you volunteer to drive so you can control the situation. Your car has a slow oil leak and you deliberately fail to replenish the oil prior to the trip. Soon after you start the 2-hour drive, the oil light goes on and you need to pull over to add oil. The clock is ticking.

You apologize to Max for the various delays but tell him that all is not lost since you found a shortcut on Google directions. This “shortcut” is in fact a nightmare scenario of weekend road construction (as predicted by the local traffic blogs you read in preparation for the trip).

You end up arriving at the winery just as the band is finishing their last song. Plus, the winery has run out of its signature pinot noir, Max’s favorite.

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Scoring and Outcome:

A: Throughout the drive, Max refuses to let the delays drag him down. At the winery, Max talks to the band and finds out the details of their next gig. He happily settles for merlot and kisses you passionately behind the winery shop.

B: Max is slightly petulant during the drive.

D: Max starts a nasty fight with you during the “shortcut” leg of the drive.

F: Max “accidentally” spills his glass of wine on your favorite white pants and doesn’t apologize. He drinks excessively and starts a fight with another patron. You break up that evening.

The Quality: Narcissistic or Not

The Challenge: No one loves a narcissist. Sometimes you’re not sure if you’re dealing with an egomaniac. It’s important to find out whether your guy is all about him, not much about you.

The Date Scenario:

You invite Max over to Netflix and Chill. Pizza is delivered and while you’re eating, you share that you’re dealing with a troubling work situation. You tell Max you’re so stressed out about it that you can’t sleep.

After dinner, you start the movie and move to the sofa to commence cuddling. About halfway through the movie, you pretend that you’re not feeling well. You run to the bathroom. Ten minutes later, you return looking exhausted (you have wet your hair a bit and splashed warm water on your face to look flushed).

You tell Max you think you have food poisoning, noting that it may not be the pizza since you had Chinese food from a sketchy carryout the previous night. You act like you’re about to throw up and run back to the bathroom.

Scoring and Outcome:

A: While you are talking about your work problem, Max is fully engaged, compassionate, and offers thoughtful suggestions. When the “food poisoning episode” begins, Max comforts you, brings you a washcloth, rubs your back in between attacks, and offers to call your doctor.

C: Max listens to your work story but checks his phone frequently while you’re talking. When you start to feel ill, he researches food poisoning online but otherwise is not helpful.

F: Max keeps interrupting your tale of work woes with reflections about times he overcame difficult work situations. He doesn’t let you finish sharing your story.

When the food poisoning attack begins, Max expresses concern that he ate the same pizza and starts to develop psychosomatic symptoms. He resumes the movie while holding his belly as if in pain. He doesn’t call the next day to check on you. You break up that week.

If you liked these diabolical “play dates,” you might like to play a break-up game/app called Damn Love. See my description of Damn Love in a recent post on my favorite things.

Soapbox Notes:

In real life, few, if any, women would be this conniving and few guys would score an F.

These exaggerated scenarios are a reminder to all of us to be aware of how a partner behaves during real life challenges – big and small.

Witnessing a partner’s behavior in tough situations presents us with an opportunity to learn about his – or her – true character and whether it is compatible with ours.

My motto: keep your eyes open; be true to yourself.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Seven Reasons Why You Should Blog or Keep a Journal

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Author and writing coach Natalie Goldberg said it well, “Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.”

With its similarities to journaling, I think Natalie would find value in blogging. I’d like to share with you what blogging has taught me in the hope that you might also blog with a benefit and purpose as you pursue a dating – or not dating – life.

This is something I’ve wanted to focus on for a couple of months but describing the pursuit of “One of the Ones” kept sidetracking me. Of course, since the dating life is a key focus of this blog, I’ll be incorporating dating stories into today’s post. I might even discuss sex (a tease so you will read to the end).

Let’s sit back and enjoy my own 4th of July light lunch creation: ricotta cheese and plain Greek yogurt mixed with fresh cherries and blueberries and chopped walnuts or almonds. If the ricotta and yogurt are low fat, you will have a heart-healthy patriotic lunch. Let me know if you want details on the quantities.

Blogging has shown me that the very act of putting fingers to keyboard or pen to paper – the writing processcan help me figure something out. At a deeper level, it helps determine and clarify my views on a particular person or situation.

Let me illustrate with an example from my recent dating history. After meeting Mr. D who was separated from his 3rd wife, I was on the fence about whether I should consider dating him since there was a possibility his marriage was not over. As I wrote about our meeting, I realized that I could not throw away the possibility of a relationship with someone who almost immediately inspired chemistry, connection, and intimacy. My gut said no, my heart said yes…but the writing process told me to let my heart win this one – even if I got hurt at some point. So write (pun intended) or wrong, that’s the direction I went in until Mr. D fired himself to preserve both of our hearts.

Blogging also motivates me to not give up the dating life. I may be frustrated or exhausted by the process but I know I have to carry on — not only for my ultimate benefit but also for yours. I started this blog to hopefully inspire and motivate others to jump into the dating pool after a hiatus.

Writing this blog reminds me of lessons learned so that I can truly incorporate those lessons into my life on an ongoing basis. When I described the steps I took to get ready to date, I reclaimed my commitment to continue working on myself. Self- improvement and strengthening one’s independence are essential parts of the post-divorce healing process.

Related to this, blogging provides a sense of accountability. I take action steps to move life forward since I have committed to them in the blog and have said to you, dear readers, that these steps are important and WE should do them. So I force myself to go to meet-ups when I might not be feeling terribly social. Or I go on a second date with a guy I’m on the fence about not only to see if he’s One of the Ones but also to have the experience, learn from it, and share it with you.

Part of the blogger’s modus operandi is to seek inspiration, knowledge, and familiarity with the landscape of the topic at hand.   So I read other blogs and listen to podcasts on a similar theme of dating and relationships. The side effect is I benefit from the wisdom, perspective, and often the sense of humor provided by others on a similar journey. Case in point: The podcast, Women of Uncertain Age. I enjoyed being a guest on this week’s show to talk about dating in your 60s. Additional side effect/benefit of blogging: Meeting other bloggers and podcasters.

Blogging also encourages the creation of a personal philosophy. Writing this post, for example, has given me a philosophy and credo on blogging.

Finally, blogging provides a creative outlet – so important for everyone and at every stage of life. So even if you don’t create a blog, buy a journal or an inexpensive composition book and “write like a motherfucker” as Cheryl Strayed said in her classic book, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.

O.K. so I didn’t talk about sex this time. But it’s coming, no pun intended. And I will have a surprise interview with a noted expert some time this month.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia