Signs you’re dating a 50 yr old boy

As a kid I had a lot of friends who were boys. We rode our bikes together, we explored tom cruiseabandoned quarries, build dams (or fires), and generally mucked about. I loved my boys-who-were-friends. They never seemed to have ‘moods’, they didn’t have unspoken rules and I never had one hold a grudge. Sure they called me nicknames and made fun of me in class, but I never had a problem with liking boys as I was growing up.

Fast forward through boyfriends, lovers and husbands.. and suddenly I have a problem liking boys. See at 12, 14 or even 18, a boy is fine. A boy is fun. But at 50? A boy is kinda pathetic, needy and sad. Not sure what a 50-year-old boy looks like? Here’s a taste;

He doesn’t want to touch your boobs. Boys are scared by boobs. What starts out as fear, turns into fascination (or at least appreciation) somewhere in the teenage years, but if he’s still snickering at them  or terrified of them at 50, you’re dating a boy or a gay man, but definitely not a grown up. Run.. run away before he shows you how funny ‘radio tuning’ them can be.

He sends dick pics: I thought this was for teens and married folks trying to spice up their love life, but apparently boys send dick pics at any age. And they’re desperate for your approval. Can you imagine a 50 yr old woman sending a vag pic?? I mean.. just.. no. Men.. men write porn texts and make dates.

He speaks about his anatomy in the third person. If it has a name, or an independent presence in a 50-year-old mans life, you’re dating a boy. Someone who thinks their dick is a separate thing after 50 years, either needs an education or to grow the fuck up. Unless you ironically call it Brian. I’ll okay a Brian.

He’s braggadocious.  If he’s oh-so-proud about his dating prowess, his hair, his job, his car or even his finances at 50, he’s still an insecure little boy who thinks that’s what’s appealing in a mate. If that were the case, we’d ALL be cuing up for a chance at The Donald instead of reviling him from afar and shuddering at his name for the last 30 years.

He dumped his last girlfriend for being ‘not hot enough’. I know all single dudes over 40 with a job and even the slightest sanity have a plethora of women to choose from, but really? Actually maybe this isn’t a case of being a 50 year boy.. I think this is a sign of being an ‘ass-hat’.

So there you have it.. boys will always be boys, even with grey hair, crows feet and thickening waistlines. Date one if you must. I can vouch they’re awesome at building a dam when you need one. Just make sure to put that on your Tinder profile.

Summer Lovin’

“Summer loving had me a blast…Summer loving happened so fast…”grease_l-4

John Travolta was never so wrong.

Summer used to be the time for first dates, flings, blossoming romance and at least a few months of ‘getting to know you’ dates, dinners, hikes and smooches. Long days, hours of sun and defrosted loins seemed to swarm the city and offer us singletons new hope. It was, in short, a blast.

But lately summer just seems to bring out the hermits, the hostile divorcees and the downright strange. And it’s not just me who has noticed the shitshow that summer dating has become. My single girlfriends are all experiencing a summer of strangeness; flakes, fuck-boys and stage five clingers.

To those happily partnered, let me explain.

Flakes: These charmers jump in, express interest in meeting you then once you accept, just disappear. Having gotten over the hurdle of getting a date.. they just don’t seem to want to make it happen. Flakes fade out faster than your iPhone battery but with far less notice.  The consensus is that flakes don’t actually want to date. They just like the positive thrill of flirting, finding evidence of their attractiveness or creating a ‘black book’ that they’ll never open.  I presume most flakes are already attached, drunk texting or suddenly find me hideous, but mainly I assume they’re just rude.

“John” told me how amazing I was, asked for my phone number , texted me about how he’d love to meet me and how much fun we would have. I finally agreed to a date and then I never heard from him again. Multiple by 20 and that was June.

Fuckboys: Self explanatory really. Guys who are “down for whatever” as long as whatever means sex, straight up, no strings and nothing else. Usually accompanied by a ‘not looking for anything serious, but you never know’, these guys offer up the potential for something in exchange for some humpty.. followed by yawning silence. Where the fuckboy excels is popping up 4, 6, 12 months later, to apologize, seduce and repeat. Great if you just want to get laid, but don’t wait around for a second date; he’s already on his, and it’s not with you.

“Chris” disappeared for a year after our first “date”. He reappeared full of apologies to schedule a “real date” (you know with food and conversation), which I finally agreed to despite misgivings. He left the house after some humpty and then disappeared for 2 years. I headed to therapy with some serious questions over my appeal. Cue year 4, and Chris reappeared proclaiming love. Not surprising, 3 weeks later, he apparently died because I’ve never heard or seen him since. My first, and last, fuckboy.

Stage Five Clingers: After 5 years of dating, I really thought a clinger might be nice. You know, someone who actually wanted to see me. Someone who planned dates, called all the time and seemed to have endless time for me. WARNING- this may be a Stage Five clinger in disguise as ‘normal guy who just thinks I’m awesome’. Be aware, these folks walk right up to the edge of claustrophobic and fall headfirst into stalker territory veeeeery fast.  Expect Facebook, LinkedIn, Insta stalking, back to back texts asking why you’re not responding and then hear about “your” plans for the weekend. All in the first month.

“Bob” was an ok first date and mellowed into a charming second date. I gotta admit, I was sorta excited. Sure, the selfies, morning, noon and night were a little intense, but hey, he was a ‘communicative guy’. But when he started planning “our summer” after our 4th date, and started talkng about ‘believing in me’ and I realized I had a Stage Five Clinger. There’s nice and eager.. and then there’s just.too.much.  After I broke it off, he left a rose on my doorstep and continued to text me support. I put 911 on speed-dial.

And I’m suing John Travolta.

The goods are still odd

Its been a while. 2 years since I wrote about dating. Largely because I didn’t. After too many years having coffee interviews I decided I was sick of me, sick of them and over it. So, 2 years later here I am. Trying it again.

This time it will be different. I’m different so it has to be right? New attitude, new empathy, patience and more of an understanding that we’re all a bit broken. It was almost exciting.

I am still so naive.

Guy 1: A guy I connected with before I moved to CA. Surprising, despite great photos, he was still single. I moved in on that and suggested we meet for a drink.

First rule of fight club – use photos which were taken within the last decade. Second rule of fight club, ask me a question. Third rule of fight club, don’t email and text while you’re meeting me for the first time. Unless you’re the president… well fuck that.

I learned more about selling doors, his training regime and his work grievances than I ever need to know. Next.

Guy 2: This guy showed up and looked like his photos. Score. I forgive the ‘dad attire’ of pleated front chinos and a golf shirt (maybe he’s being ironic??), but when he insisted we split the bill I had to wonder ‘did I overdo the independent, successful woman’ bit? Still we scheduled another date, and after an enjoyable hike where I learned of his dating spreadsheet (financial independence, distance from his house and athleticism were weighted heavily) and his upcoming dating schedule, he suggested lunch. After hiking for 2 hours with my jaw on the ground, I relented. I ordered a sandwich and a cup of coffee.

He insisted on separate checks.

COME ON!!!!??? At some point this guy thinks he’s wooing me and that given another date or two, he’s going to want to be inside of me. BUT YOU WONT BUY ME A SANDWICH???

Welcome back to dating. The odds are good and the goods are awfully, perpetually, odd.



Only Commonwealth countries and Detroiters may now apply

flagLast night my dating pool hit a new low.

Following some insanely rational advice from a girlfriend, I decided to relax some of my ‘not that tight’ rules, and go on a date with a 50 yr old dude. Yes, I know I’m not a spring chicken and 50 ain’t that old.. but for me, 50 is 10 years from 60 which is .. well. OLD. And old means yellow teeth, gout and a weird funky smell from parts unknown.

But, as my friend pointed out, everyone my age is still in the midst of divorce drama, dealing with 5 years olds, custody adjustments or freakishly single (‘still waiting for ‘the one”), so I’m left with no choice. Go old or young, or go home.

Now I tried ‘younger’ this summer and while the eye candy was delicious, I did feel a little, well, ‘pervy’, on a date with a thirty something. Something about the lack of crows feet and totally optimistic outlook made me feel old and a little too weathered for his peachy ass. So I guess ‘older’ was inevitable really.

Tucking any thoughts of geriatric shoes and yellow teeth into my mental lockbox, I headed out on my first ’50-ish’ date. I was promised ‘no drama’ ‘maturity’ and ‘got it togetherness’. Plus the dude was a cute baldy and he was rocking those jeans in his photos. Who knows.. maybe this is where I’d been going wrong? Maybe 50 was the new 40?

Well…  maybe not just yet. Yes he was cute, but from the moment I entered the bar, he seemed more interested in watching the baseball that meeting his date.

Seriously dude? Hot chick in low-cut top, who smells delicious and is rocking her size 4 jeans is sitting by your side and you can’t drag yourself away from the tv screen to find out whether you might like her?? It wasn’t even a good team!!! (sorry San Francisco).

When I did manage to break his concentration (I think an advert was running), his conversation was right up there with the nutter dude you try to avoid at Whole Foods. I mentioned spending the weekend with friends and their 3-year-old then received a lecture on the eco-poison that is diapers.  I gently reminded him that I didn’t have kids, and at 40 something, it was highly unlikely that I would be buying diapers OR cloth nappies, at which point the game resumed, and his eyes slide off towards the screen. Wow.. diapers. That was the sum total of his conversational menu. Not so much ‘together’ as ‘past it’. Zero effort. Zero interest.

Now maybe it was my bad martini (how do you fuck up a dry martini?), my high expectations (‘dudes over 50 have it all together!’) or just bad luck, but from now on I’m only dating dudes from Commonwealth countries or Detroit.

If I’ve got to compete with a televised sport on my dates, let it at least be rugby or hockey.


Love Disconnection

A fabulous post from my favorite ‘Sips of Jen and Tonic’ on internet dating…

Sips of Jen and Tonic

Bugs crawling into my ears at night.  Getting pregnant with triplets. Being forced to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. There is only one thing scarier than all of those things, and it’s internet dating.

It should come as no surprise that I’m not the best at dating. I can certainly hike up my breasts until they’re at cruising altitude, and I always refrain from using my shirt collar as a napkin until we’re in the “I accidentally farted on you” stage of our relationship. The thing I don’t have on my side is the ability to pretend I like stupid people who waste my time.

Internet dating has its benefits, but the relative anonymity of it coupled with the ease of access to thousands of potential mates has created a problem for those interested in a serious relationship. Gone are the days of daters trying to pretend they’re halfway normal, and…

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Dating the ‘Separated’

separatedOver the years’ I’ve broadened my dating pool out of a combination of curiosity, necessity, and lately, by chancing upon dudes who lie compulsively.

Lying you say?

Yes, I know. Lying isn’t exactly new to online dating. Between myself and my pool of single chicas we’ve all encountered chubsters, baldies, dwarfs, a guy in a wheelchair, a AARP member and yes, even people who have used someone elses photo entirely. ‘Fit’ has been interpreted to be mean ‘possesses some Nikes’ and ‘fixes the photocopier’ becomes ‘IT engineer’. I know women do it too.. but the type of lying I’m stumbling on lately is more along the lines of marital status.

While your newly separated woman is off at the gym, forging new female friendships and Facebooking her old college boyfriend, her counterpart is online, announced his instant ‘divorce’. He’s not separated… he’s mentally divorced. So that makes him so.

(in which case, I am 5 ft 6 and have naturally blond hair)

I’ve learnt that ‘divorced’ to a guy can mean anything from ‘I got the papers last year but haven’t gotten around to signing them’ to ‘she moved out last week’ . He might still be living with his wife and kids ‘but its been over for years’ (does she know?).  He might actually be living apart from his wife but ‘hasn’t had time to meet with a lawyer’ or ‘filed the paperwork months ago’ (90 days people.. it only takes 90 days). He might be hesitant to actually be divorced due to ‘tax implications’ or ‘business reasons’. Or, like many, he might have discussed divorce that one night when they drank 2 bottles of Chardonnay but he’s still going to bed with his wife every night. So sorry buddy, but you’re not divorced.  Hell, you’re not even separated.

Now I don’t have an issue with dating someone who’s newly divorced. I’ve been there. I know it’s a weird time and everyone thinks they’re handling it great, but is actually acting like a horny 18-year-old. But there’s a good reason that they include ‘separated’ on the dating form… one which the newly, or less newly separately seem oblivious to.

Being newly separated means you’re ‘undateable’. No, not because you’re still technically married.. or still in love with your wife… but because you’re not equipped to go on a date period. The newly separated guy has no IDEA of how to date.. and beware anyone who thinks ‘how bad can it be?’ or ‘he said its been over for years’.

It’s not his lack of emotional availability that you need to worry about. Indeed, it’s quite the converse. Frankly, the recently or newly separated man is terrifyingly available.

Let me explain.

If you date online after the age of 40, with someone who’s been divorced – say 6 months – it goes like this;

  1. Day 1 – 5: Email exchanges. Identification of shared interests, humorous asides and general ‘are you sane?’ questions.
  2. Day 5-7: Phone call or coffee. Verbal confirmation of sanity, ability to converse etc
  3. Day 7-10: Dinner. Contingent on good first date/ call.
  4. Day 11 : Dinner, sex, hiking, whatever…Contingent on good dinner date and level of comfort. Also depends on whether you think you could take him in a fight … you know, should the need arise.

But if you go on a date with someone who’s separated it goes like this;

  1. Day 1: Email exchanges  ~21 emails in a single day.  All escalating in excitement, identification of kinship and plans for ‘the future’. You hear all about his kids, his job, his life, how ‘ok’ he is, how ‘he’s done the work’, how he just wants to have fun.. and then a comprehensive list of how damn awesome you are. You level of awesomeness increases by the hour. In fact, by Day 2, he’s convinced of your connection and your compatibility. Actually… he might be falling for you.
  2. Day 2 or 3: Phone call or coffee. He declares his love. Detailed review of the agenda for the next 3 weeks of your life. Activities will include, but are not limited to, running errands, picking up and dropping off of kids, cooking at his house, every activity he’s ever done and wants to share with you, detailed list of bands/shows/plays he has tickets for but no date now, weekends he wants to take and friends I need to meet. Like right now. Oh and he booked flights to San Francisco for Thanksgiving. Hope that’s ok?
  3. Day 4. There is no Day 4. This is where you block his/ her profile and run screaming from the man who is clearly not ready to date, has the judgement of a 12-year-old boy and finds the empty side of the bed all too frightening and a ‘to do’ to fill.

You see ‘the separated’, as they reenter the dating pool, are essentially looking for one of three things;

a) A replacement wife. Like now. Because looking after kids 50% of the time is really hard and .. you know.. he needs help. And he’s used to a partner. He doesn’t like those empty spaces or empty silences. He remembers how awesome it used to be with a wife around… and women like being married right? Time to find a new one STAT.

b) Instant sex partner. Excited at the potential after sleeping with the same person for 20+ years, he wants to jump past all the getting to know you, spending time together and just fall in love right now and FUCK. Which wouldn’t be that terrible, if he didn’t insist on assuming you like EXACTLY what his wife liked.

c) Free therapy. He is traumatized. He is hurt. He is angry. And he wants to tell someone all about it and see a sympathetic face. Feel understood. Get the ok to move on. But therapy is expensive and you, you’re free!!! And willing to sit and listen to him!!!

And while people who are separated, especially the newly separated, need love just like the rest of us, they tend to be mentally, at the place they last left off dating.

  1. If your date married his high school or college sweetheart, beware. He’s got a lot of catching up to do, has no idea of how to seduce or romance a woman, and isn’t quite clear why you’re not as eager as he is to fumble around in the back seat of his car as ‘a date’. And unless he’s a compulsive cheater, he’s probably only slept with one or two women. Cross your fingers and hope they taught him a few things.
  2. If your new date last ‘courted’ in his early 20s, say hello to a lot of drinking, live music, sex in public places and assumptions that you’ll drop everything to move around his schedule. This guy thinks that skateboarding is a great idea for a date, and that you’ll be impressed by his swimming pool cannonballs.
  3. If he last dated in his 30s, he’s more likely to understand that a degree of ‘woo-ing’ is necessary, but he’s just jaded enough to resent you for it. This guy probably hates his wife, HATES his wife.. and boy he’s just dying to air his grievances.
  4. If he last dated in his 40s… hmmmm. Did he kill his wife?

But what of the long-term separated? Those who’s been living separate lives for years and haven’t yet pulled the plug?  Surely they’re as good as divorced right?

No. They’re still technically married. And if they’re still married after being separated for months or years, you need to ask the questions as to why. If there are young kids involved, I get it, but if not.. what’s the hold up? There’s something there. And whatever it is – its complicated, it’s not changing any time soon and really.. do you need to start dating a married man? Who still has his wife on the insurance documents? Who still -legally- has his wife as #1 on his list, even if mentally he’s moved on? That’s some heavy shit …and this is dating. So unless he has a golden penis or he’s really honestly the best person you’ve ever met in your life… move on.

They put ‘separated’ on the online profiles as a clear signal to the rest of us. Date warily. Lower your expectations. Be prepared to have some very honest conversations and offer not a small amount of coaching. Enter at your own risk, and be prepared for premature  declarations of love, lots of processing his prior relationship and no small measure of insanity.

You have been warned.


Date-A-Thon 2014

sex appealSince its summer and that’s my most energetic time of year, I decided to kick off ‘Date-A-thon 2014’ early. Hey maybe I could find myself a cute Jewish nerdy guy with a killer sex drive and a penchant for early mornings.. and enjoy him for the whole summer? You never know!

But just a few weeks after the kickoff off  ‘Date-A-Thon 2014’ I am cancelling the event, effective immediately.


Well the last few weeks of dating has been like a series of trips to IKEA. You really don’t want to go, you know it’s going to be a time suck that will leave you miserable and irritated BUT you’re really in need of something. In this case, someone to make out with before I hit 43 and potentially fight off some bears while camping this summer.

But like most trips to IKEA, the last few weeks have been ones I’d rather forget. True, I didn’t wind up with any random plastic ornaments or strangely named kitchen tools, but my hopes of ever referring to a fellow member of the human species as ‘my boyfriend’ or ‘loooover’ are pretty much in the toilet.

My first date was a complete surprise. Complete. A simple online chat about ‘plans for the this evening?’ resulted in a surprise showing from ‘smallhouse578’ at a local bar, uninvited and right in the middle of an entertaining cocktail hour with my girlfriend. Not only did the numbnut show up, walk up to us, say ‘Hi there’ and sit down next to us.. but since he didn’t ever tell me his name (on the site or in person), I was left confused as to who he was and how I knew him (or didn’t). My girlfriend and I exchanged confused glances, and she – thinking she was doing me a solid – decided to leave me to my impromptu date. I was left at the bar with a nameless guy who assumed that my chat meant ‘come date me’. Like, right now.

My British reserve and politeness lasted as long as it took for me to figure out who he was .. at which point I became a shouting American for the very first time. Wow it was sort of liberating to dress someone down for stalking, rudeness and all around creepy behavior .. even if I did have to head home immediately for a calming cup of tea. The cheek of the guy! WTF?

But, being British, after restocking my supplies of stiff upper lip, I headed off on another date a week later. 6 years my junior, Tim is a self-confessed ‘introvert’ with kinky tendencies and a love of mountain biking. I figured he’d be good to know.. one way or another.

From across the restaurant he looked cute (even if he was hiding behind his menu), so I plopped down in my seat and introduced myself. At which point I realized that my interpretation of ‘introverted’ and his interpretation where alarmingly different. Tim, who had seemed disarmingly keen in writing, was so introverted he was practically inside out.

My hopes of finally getting to date a younger guy vanished in a nano second when I realized the evening was going to be short, painful and involve me trying to coax some semblance of a conversation out of him via an excruciating game of 20 questions. I’ve heard of shy.. hell on a date I’m shy.. but this was ridiculous.

He spoke quietly, more of a murmur really, and could barely order himself a drink. I actually think it was one of the 3 things he said during the course of the date. (the others were – ‘I’m from Cleveland’ – and ‘I just want to ride’). James Joyce he was not.

At one point I felt like Letterman, trying to elicit  some kind of spark from a doped up celebrity… I tried asking the usual questions – nothing. In the absence of interest from him, I decided to share a little about myself – ‘maybe he’s more of a listener?’ but still nothing. At which point I decided to stop talking all together…’maybe he just needs space in which to open up?’.


I don’t know what I ordered or ate suffice to say it went down fast and I was out of there in under an hour. As I headed to my car I wondered if maybe I was just a ‘bit scary’ (its been said before) and I should give him another chance in less formal circumstances. By the time I arrived home I had my answer… 11 texts from the guy. Over a 15 minute period.

What started as a simple ‘thank-you’ morphed over the minutes into a plea for a second date, concern for my safety (since he hadn’t heard from me), a detailed list of my positive attributes and physical appearance, followed by more pleas for another chance.

I felt for the guy. I really did. It was like watching myself on an answer phone some 10 years ago.. leaving a rambling message which started out cool and ended up desperate. I figured I’d give it another go and I’d call him in the morning.

But when 7 new texts greeted me in the morning, including one which said ‘I know I have a hard time communicating’, I decided to move on. I don’t want to date a version of myself from 2002.   Yikes.

After two let downs in the space of weeks,  I decided to give it one more shot before handing in the towel on ‘Dat-a-thon 2014’. 3 strikes and I’m out. Its summer and while I’d love a guy in my life, I really don’t want to spend my spare time looking at profiles and enduring any more painful cups of coffee when I could be out doing… well …. anything else.

So after a few weeks I decided that John would be #3 and my final ‘on-line’ date of this season. He was divorced (yay.. someone loved him once), skinny, a rider and a double for Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper). Now while I love a geek, I’m more of the ‘Jewish nose & glasses’ geek than the ‘white bread artisic guy’ variety but hey.. he seemed interesting and there were no single Jews available. Can’t be totally picky.

John sat down and I swear I was suddenly in an episode of the Big Bang Theory. Sans laugh track or amusing bot mots. Chemistry? Zero. Attraction? Zero. Conversational skills? Zero. I can’t say for sure that he was artistic, but he certainly did a very good Sheldon Cooper impression.

I did learn that he’d had a mental breakdown (so that was interesting and helped influence my longer term dating plans) and that he programmed rockets (Sheldon Cooper in-the-flesh). But he wasn’t offensive, he was polite and hey, it was the first conversation with a dude in 2 months. Score!

With my mother’s counsel ringing in my ears (“you’re too picky”) I decided to go with a second date and see if the illusive ‘chemistry’ could emerge from somewhere. Who knows.. maybe once he chilled out a bit, he’d be all kinds of amusing or charming or… something?

Lets just say if you’re not that interested on the first date, unless he or you have undergone a personality change in the preceding days or weeks.. it ain’t happening on the second. Sorry Mum. Life is just too short to wait around hoping for nothing to become something. I’d rather have the nothing and enjoy the rest of my time.

So for the rest of 2014, if I’m meeting any men, it’s going to be out in the normal world. Where it’s perfectly acceptable to say ‘see-ya’ after 5 minutes and it’s not my job to make anyone interesting. Where chemistry is palpable and instant, and I don’t have to drink any more fucking coffee to see if its going to  develop into something.

Sure, you can be too picky. You can also be too hopeful. But at the conclusion of Date-A-Thon 2014 I’d have to say I’m definitely neither.

The alternate ‘It Gets Better’ project

It-Gets-Better-LogoAnyone who knows me from a hole in the wall knows that I love Dan Savage. The smart mouthed advice columnist who is responsible for introducing the world to the term ‘Santorum’, ‘GGG’ and ‘monogomish’, Dan and his hoooos-band Terry were also responsible for the remarkable YouTube campaign ‘It Gets Better’.

The couple produced a single video in response to bullying of teens (LGBT in particular), promising that no matter how crappy things are now, it does ‘get better’ as you get older. If you’ve never checked out the actual first video, I highly recommend it (along with the 50,000 other videos on the site) and the overall project was incredibly inspiring to not only LGBT teens, but anyone who felt ‘different’ or was bullied at school. I only wish it had been around when I was a kid.

But… I’m no longer a teen and I’m no longer bullied, but I feel we need a few more ‘it gets better’ projects to help those who feel awkward, different or just having a plain old, ‘life is sucking right now’ period. And I know you’re out there grown ups… I know that we all need an ‘it gets better’ now and again. So here are some of my proposals – Dan – should you want to help out some lesser known ‘minorities’ who are suffering in silence;

1. That bad hair cut

We know the current trend of pixies got you excited and you just decided to go for it, but don’t worry. It will get better. It will grow out. In the meantime, try some blond or red highlights and always remember to wear lipsticks so people don’t call you ‘sonny’ in line at Target.

2. The hole your career slid into

Things have been looking pretty grim of late I know. You were right. You’re boss really doesn’t like you. (Sorry). But it will get better. You’ll find another ally somewhere else in the organization or you’ll land an awesome project where you get to shine for a little while. Or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be laid off and get to start afresh somewhere where everyone doesn’t know that you slept with Dave from sales. Plus their healthcare plan can’t be any worse!!!

3. Thursday night TV

I know. I hate The Voice too. In fact all singing shows should be sold to Japan and immediately replaced with tap dancing, cooking or dog training shows. Anything except someone else murdering Maria Carey songs from 2003. But don’t worry. It will get better. Parks and Rec will be back in January and hey, maybe by then they’ll have something else to put before and after it that doesn’t make you want to stick a fork in your eye. Maybe it won’t even feature married overweight guys with hot wives?!!!!

4. Those Burpees

Sure right now you’re lying on the floor, coughing your guts up and wondering whether you have the strength in your arms to push up, but one day it will get better. One day, you will be able to jump from a standing position into a full push up and then bounce right back to standing without losing control of your bladder, your lungs or your vision. One day, you will knock those suckers out without even thinking about it. One day, you won’t struggle around on the floor like a dying worm, and you will not want to die… one day. I’ve not yet met anyone who’s reached this place, but I’ve heard a rumor that someone’s girlfriend did them easily once.. so I’m holding out hope that it gets better. I mean, it has to … doesn’t it?

5. Dating

You’ve online dated, you’ve casually hooked up, you’ve proactively searched and you’ve even tried joining those ‘activity groups’ in the hope that you might find a suitable mate who doesn’t annoy the shit out of you after 20 minutes. You’ve considered marrying your dog, and you’re most significant relationship this year is with Showtime.But it does get better. Sure, that goober your sharing a drink with right now isn’t qualified to clean your bathroom but you will meet a nice guy/girl one day, even if you have to clean a Brazilian rainforest of frogs to find them. Plus another martini and even this potential stalker is going to seem a lot more attractive.

6. Those $250 skinny jeans

You were so thin when you bought them and yes, you did look ahmazballs that one time you wore them, but we know the pain you go through in order to even attempt a zip up at the moment. It will get better. You will wear those jeans again and that money won’t be a leering pile of denim that your friend/partner/spouse uses in every argument about money for the next 3 years.  You’ll lose that muffin top, you’ll remember that nothing looks as good as skinny feels or you’ll learn not to give a shit and make like everyone else by wearing a super baggy sweater that comes down to your thighs. Or you can wait another 3 years by which time everyone will be back rocking the boot cut or grab some Taco Bell and you’ll be in them by the weekend.

7. Your bank account

We totally agree that you needed that thing that you just bought on line that you really couldn’t afford, but it will get better. When it arrives and you’ve hidden it from your spouse/ self for a little while, you’ll remember why you really needed/wanted it and man, its going to make you feel soooo good. Especially when you put it to its intended use and I promise, people will literally fall in love with you, now that you have that thing. You’ll be smarter, sexier, hotter, faster and damn, you’ll probably get a pay raise as a result. So hey,don’t feel bad. Its going to get a lot better real soon.

World record shattered: The 25 minute date

Flo_JoOctober 1, 2013 Denver, CO      Today a woman in the Denver metro area set a new world record for the shortest first date in history, surpassing the pre-existing record set by Hope Smith in 1998 (28 minutes).   The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims that she hadn’t set out to target the record but she ‘just couldn’t waste another minute of her life’ with the man in question.

‘He didn’t even check that I was his date’, she said, ‘he just sat down and started talking about himself’. The man in question, Dave, had represented himself as a small business owner and was ‘super busy’ but expressed that he was, in fact, ‘looking for a relationship’.

‘He just launched into his life story’, said the woman, ‘he didn’t mention that it was nice to meet me, or say anything about my appearance. He started at age 18 and kept going’.

‘I wondered if he had confused our meeting with an interview’.

Alarmed by the one sided nature of the early conversational gambits, the woman tried to interject with questions and commentary, but was overridden and interrupted by Dave, who clearly had his objectives for the meeting established prior to arrival.

The self taught burger man, recently aligned to a local brew pub, spent the first 15 minutes of the evening sharing his life story, then proceeded to list the names of siblings and relations of famous people he’d met and considered ‘close friends’.

‘He kept mentioning people’s names and then presenting their parents or relations as though it was a game show. He mentioned a ex girlfriend and then proceeded to mimic Bob Barker saying “whose father invented a little clothing store you might have heard of……yes… the GAP” ‘It just went on and on’ she sobbed.

‘He mentioned the son of Lehman Brothers CEO, Dick Fuld and the ex wife of some disgraced telecom CFO. He even mentioned knowing the brother in law of Dick Cheney’s wife’s sister at one point.’

‘I know someone who used to hang with Sharon Stone but I don’t talk about it on a date’ the woman said.

Despite his extensive, though somewhat tenuous links to the famous and fortunate, Dave himself originated from Cleveland and had apparently spent the last 20 years flipping burgers in ski towns. ‘He told me he was an executive chef’, said the record breaker, ‘ but it was clear he had spent his career making and cooking beef patties’.

The ‘ budding entrepreneur’ has been building his local reputation at a local brew pub where he’s been adding a variety of cheeses, guacamole and mushrooms to the burgers on offer.

‘He said he owned a gastropub’ the woman said, ‘ but I don’t think putting Pepper Jack Cheese and some onions on a burger really qualifies. Plus he mentioned the ‘owner’ several times, so I’m not if he’s actually involved in management at all’

In an attempt to detract from the tedious nature of the recitation, the women tried in vain to branch off into other topics of conversion by asking him about his hobbies and interests.

I was hoping to talk about cycling or hiking or even movies’, she recounted, ‘But then he just started talking about his various shift patterns and how he’d had to fire a bunch of people at the pub’

‘He seemed really intent on having me understand how hard it is to run a pub’

Dave, to his credit, clearly felt the need to explain the detailed nature of staffing at the ‘gastro-pub’, however was suddenly and without warning, interrupted by the appearance of a friend of the now distraught woman

‘It was like a real life miracle. My friend Gary entered the pub and came over to say hello. I tried signaling with my eyes- ‘S.O.S’ -but I think he thought I was just flirting a bit’.

While Gary did temporarily interrupt the onslaught and gave the woman a glimmer of false hope, he left as quickly as he arrived, and the droning resumed.

‘We were 20 minutes in and he still hadn’t asked me a single thing about myself’, the woman admitted, ‘I started to wonder if I really even needed to be there’

At 21 minutes, the critical turning point during the first date event, the decision was made and all of the years of training kicked in.

‘It was at this point that I decided I had to go for the record’ the woman said. ‘I literally felt braincells oozing out of my ears and to be honest, I was starting to envision my death with some excitement’

With the minutes ticking down, the woman signaled for the check, laid down her card and signed in a smooth ‘I’m leaving’ move that she’d been perfecting during her summer of less than stellar dates.

‘I’ve gotten quite good at exiting a bar without them even noticing’ she said, ‘most of them are too busy talking about themselves’.  With just seconds to spare, the woman made the final play and powered towards the finish line.

‘I told him that “I didn’t think we needed to waste any more of either of our time and that I was going to go’ she said. Dave, not willing to let the record go without a fight, tried to stall with a mention of mountain biking, right as the woman stood to leave.

‘He asked me if I mountain biked and I said no’ the woman said, ‘then he asked me if I wanted to go mountain biking with him and I said no again’.

‘In retrospect I think he might be a bit retarded’

As the woman reached the door, Dave was last heard mumbling about the possibility of a future mountain biking trip.

Despite the urgency and expediency with which the woman had dispatched her date, she wasn’t aware that she’d smashed the record until some 30 minutes later.

‘I headed to my favorite bar to meet up with a girlfriend and noticed that it was only 8.05pm’, the woman smiled, ‘it was then that I realized that I might have actually smashed the world record’.

Official sources from later confirmed that yes, in fact, the woman had set a new record for shortest first date in history (25 minutes), and that in acknowledgement of her outstanding achievement, her membership to the dating site would be extended indefinitely.

‘I did this for me’ the woman said in a statement released today,’but I also did this for all women who’ve suffered through hours of  self obsessed monologues’.

‘We don’t need to take it any more. You can end the date and it gets better when you do’

When asked about her future plans the woman would not specify, however she was seen in the Denver Metro area fueling her motorcycle and talking about leaving town to ‘clear her head’. Speculation remains as to how long this new record will stand, though friends of the woman have confirmed that they have no doubt she may return to smash her own record, circumstances permitting.

First Date topics you might want to skip

sick-bedAh first dates. Gotta love ’em. Actually we all hate them. There is no rationale as to why we decide to spend an hour with a complete stranger with the sole purpose of trying to decide if you’ll get naked at some point in the future. I prefer my annual ob-gyn exam.. the small talk is easier and he doesn’t care if I’m not that pretty.

What do two people who know pretty much nothing about each other, talk about on a first date? I mean, its not like its an interview for a job (no matter what Jerry Seinfeld says). But you do.. and at 40 something, I typically manage to have a good time on a first date especially if they’re a) cute, b) chatty and c) trying. But last night, even I was stumped. I finally found one I couldn’t crack. And boy, did I try. Blood.. meet stone.

First dates typically start by either of you latching onto a topic and staying there until the cocktail kicks in, at which point you can move the conversation in a zillion directions. Which is when the date gets fun. After all people.. aka humans… tend to be really interesting.

Over the years I’ve learnt that to get things going to start light and casual..weekend plans, summer activities, even the weather can get things moving. Its not hard.

But no, this guy decided the best place to start after he’d said hello, was to give me his resume. Starting at age 18.

Now as a 46 year old man, who’s run a fairly successful business, I would think my date would have the ability to small talk. You know, .. how’s your summer been? done anything fun? what are your plans for fall? Are you looking forward to ski season? Banal, but easy.

Not this guy. Instead I got his life history from age 18- 46, with every move, every job, every conversation with management, his stock purchases and yes, even his IPO returns (and subsequent investment decisions).

I wasn’t sure if he’d somehow confused me with a headhunter.

At one point I even interjected to mention that yes, his career was fascinating but that I was actually more interested in how he arrived in Colorado, to which I was reprimanded with ‘I’m telling you’. So I guess if he wants to hear about how I ended up in the US I’d have to start from the womb?

But.. 15 minutes in, I managed to steer the Titanic away from the iceberg of his bank account details towards the calmer waters of his kids. Everyone likes to talk about their kids don’t they? And while I don’t actually care about his kids (I’m not considering dating them), I figure it might calm him down and he could wax rhapsodic (as all parents do) about the awesomeness that is his offspring.

But no.. I actually appeared to have found the only parent who wasn’t interested in talking about his kids. Nope.. not one bit. Instead he wanted to spend time assuring me that my decision not to have kids was ‘ok’ and that people without kids were ‘fine‘. Wow.. Thank you. I had really been tortured by my non-parent status for the last 10 years, but now *phew* I can finally sleep at night. I really must pass on to other non parents that we’re not the pariahs of society that we think.

What became really clear as he expounded  on ‘having vs. not having kids’ (with no idea as to whether this was an active choice for me or not), was that he clearly hasn’t spent any time with adults who don’t have kids. According to his portrayal of us non-parents, our status as ‘non parents’ was down to our preference for a hedonistic cycle of alcohol, sex, food, travel (yep, seems about it). No judgement though.. no judgement at all.  There was no recognition that we might have rich inner lives, be pursuing creative or spiritual passions  or that we simply didn’t find the right guy at the right time. Nope.. he was fine with people who preferred to selfishly live their lives alone with no ‘real’ responsibilities. He was just concerned for us.. dying in a retirement home, unvisited, unloved and soul suckingly alone.

What can I say. This guy knows how to woo a single woman. Sympathy for my barren status and impending lonely death always gets me hot.

Before I could interject that maybe, just maybe some of us non-parents might have a expansive network of caring friends, that we live full and rich lives, that we might actually have a greater chance to spend our latter years surrounded by loving, fun and caring people.. (after all, plenty of people in retirement homes have kids who don’t visit).. he decided that really, we needed to talk about dying.

Yep. Lets talk about dying. On a first date. Awesome.

His reason for being on Well apparently it was down to his desire to not die alone. He wanted to die holding the hand of his loving spouse, who was assuring him that he was loved as he drew his last breath. Surrounded by his loving kids, and you know.. loved.

I want to die smothered by a pillow. Hopefully in the next 5 minutes.

He went on, and on, about his uncle who had died alone in a nursing home, with no visitors and you know..totally alone. And how, by not having kids or a spouse, this man was an object of pity and fear for my date. His being not married, sans kids,  in old age was literally the worse thing that this guy could imagine..

‘I don’t want to end up like that’

Well buddy, non of us do. That’s why we invest time in friends and family (yes, the ones you don’t create still count!). That’s why we live our lives engaged with other people. Spend our time with friends we care about and have experiences that we will remember forever. Sure, we hope some of those friends will be with us in our dotage, but if they’re not, we’ll find new friends to keep us company and engaged in life..after all, we’ve been finding and keeping friends all of our lives. (you know, when we’re too tired to have sex or too hungover to be drinking). I for one will never be alone unless I want to be.. and after an hour with this guy.. I’d never wanted anything more.

So I wish Mr.Doom and Gloom all the best in his search for his deathbed hand holder. I do know for sure it won’t be me.

I’ll be the one in the corner with the pillow at the ready.

Fun date activites you might not have tried

life supportFun date activities you might not have tried

A bit bored of the usual ‘dinner and movie’. The thought of ‘a nice walk’ got you yawning? Do I have a ‘fun’ date activity for you?

Yes. Its time to write that living will.

I’m serious.

You’ll never feel more alive than when figuring out when to turn off the beeping machines keeping you alive, what to do with your remains and what song will be playing as they lower your body into the ground. It makes for a remarkable afternoon, not to mention a great date discussion.

Who wants to be making mad passionate love to each other when you could be discussing whether you want to be kept alive but brain dead  and whether you want 1, 2 or 3 resuscitation attempts made when your ticker stops. Do you want to be fed through a tube when you can’t swallow or just naturally starved to death? See.. aren’t you really starting to appreciate your day???

Plus your date’s responses really give you an indication of his true nature.  The man who wants to live no matter how many machines, how much medical care and whether he’s got a single brain cell left… classic Peter Pan narcissist. The dude who says ‘put a pillow over my face if I’m mentally done’… my kind of guy. If he wants to pull the plug on you as soon as your arms and legs stop working.. hmm.. we might have a problem.

Seriously, its a discussion which really reveals who that person really is. And as dark as it seems, its profoundly illuminating. I for one, want to know that he’s not out to harvest my organs as soon as I’m asleep.  Nor do I want to know that some dude is Terry Schivo’ing my ass for 20 years from some weird creepy loyalty and ‘love’. Hella no.

And then once its all over – machines are silenced, the last tattered sigh released – there’s a whole other discussion. Do you want to be fried to a crisp or sealed in a box? Believe me, the romantic possibilities you can discover when sharing which mountain you want your ashes thrown off and who you want doing the throwing (note, asthmatics and girls are off the list)… why its positively heartwarming.

Don’t get me started on memorial service soundtracks! I’d never even thought about this until I looked at the form and realized, holy shit.. if I don’t write this down, I could be buried to my mother’s choice of music, most likely one of the Three Tenors or my sister’s idea – something jaunty from Kylie Minogue. God help me. This… this I need to get in writing. I am not being buried to Michael Buble.

Plus you can discover all manner of shared affections with your date (James Taylor, Iron and Wine) and questionable taste (Mastodon?), strange predilections and silly humor (the theme from Shaft? really?). And I know one thing, I certainly don’t want those decisions left to chance, and while I have a girlfriend with excellent music taste, I think its one mix tape she probably doesn’t want to make.

So there you have it. If August is making you blue and you’re sorta bummed out with the constant sunshine and warmth, consider an afternoon perusing a living will. It sure puts things into perspective and man.. you’ll learn a lot about your date.

Do bears shit in the woods? Boyfriends do..

 My track record with dating as been quite the ride of exciting adventures, escapades and in this instance, a spine quivering, bowl loosening ‘come to Jesus’ moment.
I found Scooter while fishing around for a ‘First Friday’ art walk date. I love checking out the galleries on the first Friday of the month, clutching my slightly warm plastic cup of white wine, if only because the people watching is extraordinary and I once had a discussion with a mortician who showed me photos of a cremation.

FYI: not recommended viewing and has me reconsidering being shot into space upon my death. The process of burning people looks horrific.

Anyhow, I found Scooter online and he seemed up for the challenge of a chick who can’t handle her mouth or her alcohol, so we met up and had a great time. He was the right side of quirky (like me, he’d spent his teens and twenties jumping up and down in a nightclub, and his thirties with a headache), his last girlfriend was a dominatrix and he had a wicked sense of humor. There didn’t seem anything too visibly wrong, so we started dating.

Scooter was Mr. Outdoors. He rode everywhere, decried my ‘lady rides’ of 40 miles and dragged me across the Front Range , trying to whip me into some kind of enthusiasm for a 100 mile ride or a 100 mile run, or some kind of uber challenge. He talked about his love of camping, his outdoor enthusiasm for hiking, backpacking and even multi day mountain bikes rides.  I mentally planned our next few years of travel and overlooked some of his lesser attributes. So he talked with his mouth full, he held his utensils like prehensile man and called me ‘buddy’… I’m not that fancy that they were deal breakers. We hiked, we biked, I looked away when he ate,… it was a fun summer.
So I never actually saw where he lived, he always got a little fuzzy about his ex’s and he had the organizational skill of a newborn kitten… but nobody’s perfect. 

Then I made the mistake of mentioning my desire to take a multi week backpacking trip up to the Tetons and into Montana.  I figured that Scooter would be a fun companion, had experience and he didn’t make me want to stick a fork in my eye after a few hours in the car. My friends were horrified – ‘but you’ve only known him 3 months!!!’ – but calmed down when I mentioned his vast experience chasing mountain lions, bears and creating fire with little more than a Luna bar and some vodka.  Skills important in the wilderness.

We prepped for the big trip, laying out our hiking plans, scheduling permits and laying in the dehydrated meals. Bears are a big problem in the wilderness so no fresh food for 2 weeks – it seemed a small price for 12 days of uninterrupted hiking, silence and unsullied nature. My excitement clearly addled all logical thought such as ‘do you want to spend 12 days with a person you barely know, miles from anywhere, surrounded by wildlife that could, literally, eat you?’ Nope, I was more worried about whether we’d be too stinky to have sex after a few days. Priorities in order? Not exactly.

The morning of our departure was ominous.  Scooter arrived with several suitcases. Yes, suitcases.
With my mouth agape, he quickly assured me that his pack was broken and we needed to stop at REI or Sierra Trading post on the way so he could get a new pack. The suitcases were just ‘staging’ equipment. Ok, not a good sign when we’ve been planning for weeks and you didn’t think to check your pack until the night before…. but… okaaaay? We headed up I25 and into Wyoming. 

Montana is actually a straight drive, something I know now, but we decided to break the trip in two and stop in Wyoming first. Scooter had a place in mind where he’d camped before.
I quickly realized that Scooters idea of ‘great camping’ and mine might be slightly different as we bumped along a dirt road past oil wells and deserted gas stations. Hmm. ‘Edgy’ but not really what I look for in a camping site. Never mind, it was nearing dusk and I just wanted to crack a beer and figure out our kit.

I’m a seasoned camper. I can throw up my tent in about 2 minutes and have hot water for tea going a minute after that. Scooter… well… he seemed a little overwhelmed. As he started unpacking his suitcases to find his sleeping bag, I noticed that he seemed to have packed, well, everything he owned. A creeping nausea developed when I saw him put aside a pair of dress pants and yank out his sleeping pad. I started to feel that maybe Scooter’s ‘camping’ wasn’t the same as my ‘camping’.  I’d never been to Montana, but I don’t think there is a dress code on the trail.
But, ever the optimist I ignored my gut and dived into trying to help the poor sod organize his kit. Maybe he was just super disorganized?? Maybe this was how people from Michigan camped? We rearranged his suitcases (!) and tucked in for the night.

We arrived at the Ranger station in the Tetons for our first 5 day trip and I headed inside to pick up our permits, leaving Scooter, his new pack and his suitcases to sort themselves out. 40 minutes later, I returned to find the entire contents of his cases strewn across the parking lot and an empty, tags still on, womens Osprey pack. Why he’d bought a ladies pack I didn’t even bother asking.. at this point, Scooter was becoming quite the mystery to me. But I figured we could wing it. I helped him sort out his ‘necessary’ from ‘unnecessary’ items and left him in search of coffee and a well deserved Valium.

An hour later I returned and the pack remained empty, Scooter struggling to figure out the straps on his pack had decided that kicking it around the floor might make it work better. Clearly the Valium was working because I sailed over, started stuffing his pack and told him to ‘take a hike’. The guy couldn’t organize a piss up in a brewery, good job he was good in bed.

Yes, I should have turned the truck around. I should have called quits on the trip and I probably should have seriously have reconsidered Scooter at that point. But I’m British at the core, and that would be rude. So instead, we headed off to the trail head.

At the very top of Wyoming, at the top of the Teton National park, is nothing. To the north you can see Montana, the Gallatin range, the distant Glacier range, and behind you Yellowstone, the Tetons and pretty much nothing for miles and miles and miles. Except me and Scooter. And his suitcases.

Thanks to the packing drama, we started down the trail late, trying to reach out first campsite before dusk fell. Striding quickly, I could hear Scooter’s pack clanging as he jogged behind me, exclaiming as things dropped off his pack or straps started to chafe. After a couple of miles he whined, ‘Can I get some of your water?’ I swiveled so fast my neck cracked;

‘What about your water?’

‘Oh I left the Nalgene bottles in the truck. Along with the bear spray. That shit was really heavy’


‘I figured we could share?’

‘For 5 days??????’

I’m not sure where Scooter thought we were refilling our bottles, but he obviously hadn’t thought this through… and he clearly had never been backpacking before.  My stomach knotted.

‘So we were going to use 2 water bottles between two of us for 5 days? How often do you think we’re going to be filtering water?’

‘We have to filter the water? We’re in Wyoming…its clean’


No matter than we’d just seen a huge moose standing in the stream alongside the trail. Apparently Scooter wasn’t too worried about moose feet sweat in his liquids. I finally, finally got the message.

‘Yep. We’re done. Trip’s over. Back to the truck’.

‘But whyyyyyyyyyy?’


I turned around and started heading back up the trail, mentally calculating how long it was going to take me to drive back to Denver with my bozo liar boyfriend while gritting my teeth. Maybe 9 hours???

Except a mile later I spotted a large wet paw print in the mud. LARGE. Bigger than my hands and fresh. With really big claws. Bear paw sized.

‘Scooter, start talking. There are bears around we don’t want to surprise them’

‘Oh now you want to talk?’

Scooter took out his camera and stopped on the trail,

‘I’m getting a picture of this, Man, this pawprint is huge!’

I turned away, trying to avoid the urge to kick him in the head. Every single irksome thing, every masticated burrito, every lie flooding back into my brain. Just as I spotted the grizzly bear to my left.

‘Scooooooooooter. There. Is. A. Big. Grizzly. Right. There. ‘

Scooter took one look at the Mini sized fur ball and took off running, his pack bouncing on his shoulders, his sleeping pad dragging along the trail by a single strap.  Leaving me, with the bear.

‘So Bear… I guess I’m meant to talk to you since the ranger said you need to know that I’m here and I don’t want to scare you and I’m about to piss my pants but I’m keeping on talking because my numb nuts of a boyfriend who I’m going to dump as soon as I catch his sorry ass just ran off up the trail and are you sure that you don’t want to chase him please Mr Bear?’

The bear stood watching me spout off and continued chewing his bark. He didn’t move, just stared.

‘Bear please can you go away because I really really need to pee now and if you’re going to charge me can you just make it quick and maybe chase Mr Numb Nuts too he’s further up the trail probably lying to a moose about his extensive camping experience and mountain lion wrestling days…’

The bear looked at me nonplussed, and kept on chewing.

I told that bear everything I planned to do to Scooter as soon as I found him, my past dating history and how I wasn’t going to online date anymore.

He stopped chewing and started to walk towards me.Oh shit, now I’d really pissed him off.

‘Sorry…I’ll just do but no more sketchy weirdos and I’ll definitely make sure to vet them first and I won’t be going on any more camping trips with anyone who doesn’t have a vagina just please don’t eat me ok?

That seemed to appease him and he slowly backed up and lumbered off. A furry Mini, the bringer of the truth to my latest ‘relationship’. It did get points for originality.

As the feeling came back to my knees I started back up the trail. Pissy (literally), furious and sad that this time I literally had put myself in danger due to a bad date. I really should know better by now. Well, never again.

I caught up to Scooter about a mile from the truck. He was sitting on a rock and rubbing his ankle.

‘I think I twisted it when I was running.. where have you been??’

‘Lets just get to the truck and head to a motel or something’

‘AWESOME!!. We can have sex

It took 12 hours to drive back to Denver that night. I didn’t say a word. Scooter took the time to tell me all the things he didn’t like about me, my dog and camping. I’ve not seen him since.

Boomerangs: Those ones who never quite go away

It seems that many of us (well… me anyway), tend to have at least one guy/girl in our life who never quite goes away. You know the one.. the one you probably been erased at least once in a fit of pique, who never quite dates you, but never quite goes away. Like a boomerang – albeit one with a very long trajectory. And despite the history of complete unreliability, we accept their ‘in then out then in’ presence in our life.

Generally.. you can configure the desirability of any guy is conversely related to how much attention he delivers. Always late, never calls, texts you only when he’s drunk or lonely, disappears for months at a time… ? Sadly, even at the age of 40ish, and with complete awareness, we fall for it again and again.  The date who calls us, texts us, arrive on time and generally behaves in a completely desirable and upstanding manner? Nah… no ‘chemistry’.

 We’re just hooked on the drama of being kept on our toes.

 ‘Maybe this time he’s changed’
 ‘I think he’s finally realized that I was one of the new women who treated him well’
 ‘My hair is longer/ I’m skinnier this time around’
 ‘.. this time I have a good feeling’
 ‘He’s in a good place’

Yep.. you’re pretty much doomed at this point. Its as though they can smellan indulgent heart and are happy to go along for the ride until you show signs of actually causing any impact on their time or other prospects. That or a new edition of Halo comes out.

I’ve kicked quite a few of these hangers-on to the curb over the years but generally it takes at least one smack to the head from my girlfriend or the complete humiliation of sitting around for a few hours in thigh highs waiting for him to show up. (I cringe, it’s true). But apart from the occasional humiliation, what’s the harm you might ask? Everyone needs a friend with benefits right?

I would totally agree… except these hangers-on aren’t really friends and the benefits are pretty unreliable. I’d be totally ok if there were some kind of unwritten rule which says ‘I’m contacting your for sex and only sex’ and then – ta-daaa – he’s on your doorstep with 2 bottle of Gatorade!! but it never quite works out like that. There are text messages, the occasional email.. and sex if it happens, its so random, its like finding out you’re part of a class action suite and getting a $5.36 check in the mail from AT&T. Great.. but unexpected. The complete lack of certainty makes it almost not worth the bother. Since the texting boomerang is typically nothing more than a booty call, I say please follow through or don’t hit send. Its only the only decent thing to do.

I’m an A type – I need reliability, rules, structures, parameters and these ones who ‘never quite go away’ are more inconsistent than AT&T in the Colorado mountains.

So here’s a message for the ones who never quite go away.

“Please fish or cut bait Mr.Boomerang. I’m deleting your number and I’m not replying to your texts. You can call me and we can schedule something (bring Gatorade), but no more hanging around on my iPhone please. Goodbye”

(…but I’m always up for a drink if your bored)

Finding a date: Fresh to Market

Despite our technologically obsessed workplaces and unceasing levels of communication, many people would think that finding a date these days is easy. After all, we’ve all see those commercials featuring Mr. Creepy Old Man talking about ‘true compatibility’ and who hasn’t got a friend who met their boyfriend/ husband/ex on  Finding someone to date is easy right?
As any person over the age of 40 can tell you, finding a non psychotic, vaguely attractive person in your age range is more challenging than anything Tom Cruise can pull off while hanging from a wire over a computer. For now I’m ignoring people who like to date waaaaay out of their age range (sorry cougars and cradle robbers), but for those who consider a 2-5 age difference their target demographic, sorry to break it to you, its tough out there.

Online dating is great for finding weirdos, freshly minted divorcees, girls with massive insecurity issues, angry people and hermits. Sure, there are the occasional sane cute ones, but they are rarer than Jewish athletes. For the rest of us, those ‘plenty of fish’ are missing a fin or two and probably have crossed eyes. Most are – like perch – immediate throw backs. If you want to get laid, great.. go right ahead. If you actually want to date, this ain’t the way to go.

So if you’ve given up in online dating (something I’ve done with more fervor and frequency than actually ‘go on dates’), the question arises 4 months into an dry spell – how do I meet someone?

Three words – Fresh to Market

Sure its not a location, because location is irrelevant. I know someone who met and married a guy she met at a drunken frat party (when she was waaaaaay out of college) and the number of people who get busy over the photocopier at work really should be included in the ‘Benefits’ package. You can meet guys everywhere (except my apartment), but when you meet them is everything.

Fresh to Market is everything at 40-ish.

One of my girlfriends met her long term ‘partner’ while rebounding from her 13 year marriage, another met her partner by playing ‘friendly shoulder’ after his divorce which turned into hooking up and eventually dating. Both chicks found a partner when they (or he) were ‘fresh on the market’. Why is ‘fresh’ on the dating market so important? Because they don’t know better. If you’re the first and you’re not an absolute ogre.. then you’re in. And nobody is more susceptible to your charm that someone who’s been through a painful time and needs to feel good about themselves. If you can deliver some warm and fuzzies (or maybe an orgasm) .. well… you’re through the front door at least. My advice? Hear about a breakup? Get on the phone, on the doorstep and into your role as lead sympathizer and cheerleader. Its how Harry got Sally after all?
NOTE: And no, you can’t cause the divorce or the breakup. No one likes a psycho as a girlfriend. A lay sure, but not a girlfriend.

‘Fresh to market’ doesn’t always mean newly dumped.  My guy friends always seem to meet women who are working in town on secondment, temporary assignment or those who have moved to town for a new job.  All of them acted as local host, did the Lannies Clock Tower/ Peaks Pike/ Ski day/ First Friday activities and all of them ended up married. I repeat – all of them ended up married to that chick. Now I’m not advising you to camp out at DIA with a sign, but if you hear someone is new to town, reconsider your level of enthusiasm about the Aquarium.

Finally, ‘fresh to market’ can be much less obvious. It seems to happen (more often than you’d think) that one day a guy wakes up and thinks ‘ huh .. being married = not that bad’ and stops thinking that every woman wants to be ordering china after the 3rd date. Suddenly his first dates are actually not about getting laid (it fact it becomes a liability), but about auditioning women for long term potential. Its not so much about short term fun but whether he can see himself dealing with the baggage your bringing once those cute crows feet look like canyons.. Sure most guys will tell you that they’re always ‘looking’ but as we know.. thats also the best way to get a chicks pants off. The guys who are looking… tend to not mention it. But as a chick with many guy friends, I can assure you that you can actually see the ‘available’ bulb go off (and I start counting down the days to ‘we’re engaged’). Early warning signs include mentions  that ‘all my friends are married’ and an daily text messages that don’t involve the words ‘ what are you wearing?’

So, how do you find one of these unicorns?

If I knew that, I’d be wearing a ring now wouldn’t I??

Ignore the warning signs at your peril

I admit it. I’m a remorselessly positive person. I expect the best, excuse the worse, and can accept even the most dubious excuses in the face of blaring fact. I can’t help it. Growing up with a relentlessly cynical mother, I over compensated with hopeless naivety.  Now I’m 41, I’m still learning by experience (the ‘getting hit by a 2 x 4’ method of acceptance), and wanted to pass along some of my wisdom.

1. If you have never seen the inside of his house/ apartment and you’re already celebrating an anniversary….its probably because he knows you’d dump him if you did. Whether its simply  disorganized chaos, piles of dirty clothing or a complete lack of furniture… he’s hiding something. On month three of one dating episode I discovered that my 40 something lover lived with little more than a futon and some bongos. And no, drum circles were not factored into my future. 

2. If he brings suitcases on a backpacking trip …its probably not due to his desire to fold things into squares and to be super organized. More likely, he’s not been backpacking and in the absence of experience, has decided to bring everything he owns. Its okay to man up to your lack of experience, but doing it before you hit the trail head for 2 weeks of hiking among the grizzly bears is probably a more appropriate time.

3. If objects have been disappearing since you met him… its probably not the ‘missing thingy’ fairy. Call it sticky fingers, mindless pocketing or just a cavernous gym bag… if things are missing, check his trunk. If you’ve managed to skip #1, check his house.

4. If you find the companionable silences are outweighing the fascinating conversations… its probably not due to harmony and comfort. He’s just got nothing to say. In British we call that ‘boring’.

5. If he’s never had a long term live in relationship and he’s older than you are, you can’t blame an epic addiction to cycling. After all Lance Armstrong managed 4 kids, a marriage, Sheryl Crowe and he won the Tour De France 7 f-ing times. Cycling does not excuse his inability to form relationships. That would be his personality.

6. If you find your future planned out according to his schedule…. its probably not because he wants to include you in his life. He wants your life to revolve around his life. Don’t be flattered. Be worried. Next up is organizing his canned goods and lining up his towels.

7. If he doesn’t like your dog…..he doesn’t like your dog. Game over.

Dating ads – The London Times Review of Books

A new book has been released which highlights the sexual and romantic failings of the single Brit. Culled from the ‘personals’ section of the London Times Review of Books, the book contains a plethora of personal ads published over the years. They range from the pithy and succinct‘Sexually, I’m more of a Switzerland’ to the self loathing and bare faced ‘Everyone. My life is a mind-numbing cesspit of despair and self loathing. Just fuck off. Or else write back and we’ll make love’.

I love the contents of this book and it honesty in showcasing the lack of romance, subtlety or self promotion so inherent to the American courtship. Instead the British man (or woman), states exactly what they’re looking for, how they view themselves and sets expectations for what to expect… all in about 2 sentences. Fungal infections feature prominently. The overarching taste of the collection is one of slight disappointment and a need to look on the bright side. It also showcases the humor and playfulness of my countrymen.. even in the face of their terminal singledom.

“I put the phrase ‘five-header bi-sexual orgy’ in this ad to increase my Google hits. Really I’m looking for someone who likes hearty soups and jigsaws of kittens.”

“If you’re reading this hoping for a mini-biopic about battles with drugs, cancer and divorce, talk to the guy above. But if you want to know about historical battle sites in Scotland, talk to me. Alan, 45. Scottish historical battle expert and BDSM fetishist.”

“Part biopic, part utopian vision, all epic of redemption amidst the trials of mankind. This personal ad has everything. Woman, 38. Only one conviction for nuisance calling. “

And my personal favorite…

“I celebrated my fortieth birthday last week by cataloging my collection of bird feeders. Next year I’m hoping for sexual intercourse. And a cake. Join my invite mailing list at box no. 6831.”

So today I offer up my own London Times Review of Books personal ad.

“My relatively normal facade hides a plethora of twisted anxieties and proclivities, but don’t worry, I have drugs for most of them. 41 year old with quite the medicine cabinet seeks same for pharmaceutical discussions and sex.’

Step back now, and form a line

Bizarre Breakups

As I was recounting break up scenarios with a close friend (who was planning her own) I started digging through the ‘break ups’ file. What gems I had to share. Starting with what is possibly the #1 bizarre break-up of my 20s.

I was in a relationship with – let’s call him Tom- for close to 2.5 years. Moved in together, talked about getting married, took multiple vacations, regular visits with the families. On the surface, exactly where you’d want to be at 25 (and indoctrinated by parents of the 1950s). Unfortunately Tom wasn’t exactly the golden boy. Our relationship was more ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ than ‘Father of the Bride’. In-between lining up the cans and losing every excess pound to please him with miles and miles of running, hiding bruises and sleeping with one eye open, I finally got wise and decided to move out and move on.

How to tell him? How would he take it? Would he freak out? Would I freak out? The decision around when, where and how was harder than the decision to leave and I finally settled on that most traditional theater for English life – the pub. Plenty of people, liquor for drowning of sorrows, and limited ability for him to start throwing things at me (most English pubs specifically nail stuff down to prevent such occurrences). Plus I still had 20lbs on him, so I figured I could just sit on him if it came down to that (firearms not being part of an English upbringing). I’d even arranged a trip overseas so I’d be able to disappear shortly afterwards.

During the break up decision, I had been applying for a visa to come to the US, and coincidentally, had spent the afternoon at the embassy getting everything finalized for my extended business trip. High on my impending trip, I positively bounced into the pub to see him sitting there, glowering at me. The break up went, as they all do, painfully and yet with some relief (for me). I even filled him in on my planned 3 month trip to the US – to help ease our transition. His reaction seemed calm, considered and he seemed eerily pleased. As I headed off to the restrooms, I smugly considered how adult we both were. How rational. Apparently this is how adults end relationships. I was proud of myself, and heck, even Tom. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as I thought him to be.

I returned from the restroom to find an empty table. Completely empty. Of Tom, my purse and any sign of us having even sat there. I turned around – maybe I’d looked at the wrong table? – then caught the eye of the bar tender. He shrugged him shoulders, “Your boyfriend took off with your purse”.

Fuuuuuuuuck. What was this? “Take the Money and Run”? Literally?

My purse – my car keys, my new minted passport and visa, my cell-phone, the keys to my sisters flat, my wallet, heck even the Valium I so desperately needed right that second. All in my purse. All disappearing up the street with my now dumped boyfriend.
Luckily all that running he’d been forcing on me finally paid off and I took off down the high street, heading towards our formerly shared ‘home’. Nutter. Total nutter. What man steals his girlfriends purse? And for gods sake, why?

I arrived at the house to a locked door and silence. I tried the key but no dice – apparently he’d double locked the door. I started banging on the door, shouting and generally making a very un-English fuss. Neighbors started poking their heads out of their doors and tutting. I decided to call the police to assist the matter – either that or I’d have to wait until Home Depot opened in the morning and pull a ‘Here’s Jonny’ scene. And frankly, spending the evening on the floor outside my former home wasn’t the best scenario.

After begging entry to a neighbors house, and an embarrassed ‘awful weather we’ve been having’ conversation with neighbor Joe, the police arrived.
From the bizarre conversation between 2 policemen and a door that followed, I learned that Tom’s intent was to steal me back my stealing my purse. So I guess that’s actually how adults break up. Illogically, emotionally, bizarrely.

I recommended some ideas to my friend for her breakup. And told her to wear sneakers.

Dating advice I won’t be taking

I relented. I bought a dating book. It told me a lot of things including an explicit timeline for dating ‘activity’. Now no-one has given me such prescriptive information about the right time for a kiss, a hug or a roll in the hay since high school.. and yet I was enthralled to be lectured after 20 years of dating. After 8 seasons of Sex and the City, endless conversations with women since the age of 17, and a not-so-impartial-lecture from my mother… I always thought I knew what was appropriate ‘activity’ when dating guys. And I would like to present to you the summary of the last 20 years of advice.

Do/ Don’t kiss on a first date

Don’t have sex on the first date
Don’t have sex until the third date
Don’t have sex until he’s committed to an exclusive relationship
Don’t have sex  (guess who that came from…Mum)
Don’t wait to have sex too long, or you could be wasting your time
Don’t go down on him until you’re in a ‘relationship’
Don’t bring up having a ‘relationship’ unless he does
Don’t ask to be exclusive, that’s his job
Don’t stay in a relationship unless he’s going down on you
Oh and the one I love, continue dating multiple guys at the same time until one of them asks you to be exclusive… …..which seems to me, well, kind of whoreish. 
Basically I think overall it means no sex
…or maybe some sex
…or sex with one person
…but only in a relationship
…unless you’re testing driving him
…or think it has potential
…or more often, you’re horny and had too many martinis. 
It’s very confusing really. And after a sexless marriage, and quite a few sexless years in my 20s and 30s (..ahem and 40s), I really don’t know what the rules are any more. Or whether I really want to follow them.
I grew up dating in the UK where the words ‘to date’ didn’t actually exist. You had friends who had friends, you fancied one of them rotten, you drank too much one night and snogged outside the pub and that was your boyfriend. No conversations about it, people didn’t go out with more than one person at a time (unless you were charging by the hour) and the only game playing occurred in the pub and generally featured darts. You moved in when your lease was up, and for most of my friends, a ring followed a couple of years later (pre-empted by a few pregnancy scares and way too much time at Ikea). Easy.

So back to the dating book. According to this gem, I’m not to even KISS the guy until date #4. Mind you, I am only allowed to date a guy, 1 night a week. And it has to be ‘out of the house’. This means no cooking at home, no ‘hanging out’, no last minute drinks, and definitely definitely, no date more than once a week. It has to been scheduled, in advance, out of the house, a formal date (I’m presuming that I won’t be need to be wearing a prom dress or a corsage, but they didn’t specify). I’m not to drive myself, he’s to pick me up (apparently future stalkers or weirdos aren’t a concern to the books authors), and I’m to not even so much as glance in the direction of my purse. If he goes in for the goodnight kiss I am to shake his hand. Yes. Shake his hand. Like I’m Obama or the Queen. And if he goes in for the hug, I am do step aside and say ‘Not yet’. Apparently the new catch phrase for ‘I’m a prude’. Seriously? Not even a hug according to this  book. I often get a two handed handshake or a pat on the shoulder from a job interview… but no, apparently no touching on Date #1. Or #2. Date 3 I am allowed a hug. Date 4, I can kiss him, but no tongues. Yes, the book is that specific. At this point, I don’t even want to date me.

With my mouth hanging open in a combination of awe and horror, I skipped through the chapter to find out when I might actually get to make out with this poor guy and discovered that the schedule allows for date #8 (but second base only). Any awkwardness is meant to be dealt with via the ‘Not Yet’ phrase and a ‘wry smile’ (to quote the authors). Drive a man wild? Drive a man to dump you. Who does this? In case you’re wondering, you get to have sex only after 12 weeks have passed, or 12 dates. At which point you can see your blue balled beloved more than once a week. If he’s even speaking to you at this point.

While I agree that we’ve all gotten used to everything too fast and that things need to slow down, I had a hard time swallowing this program. On the plus side, you know who you’re sleeping with and it means something (presumably because you’ve been doing nothing but talking and saying ‘Not Yet’ for the last 12 weeks).. which theoretically means you’ve garnered the guys respect, and you’re actually in a relationship before sharing yourself. But what really sticks in my head is how the author recommend that since you’re still ‘figuring out’ whether you even like the person, you’re also meant to be pursuing other guys. Meaning you’re spreading the blue balls around. Which somehow feels cheap and callous. Frivolous. Selfish. Cold. Mean. Exactly the type of women I hate.

So I’m stuck. I like the idea, but in reality I’m a one guy girl. I could not more wait 12 weeks than the average guy could (not without some serious intervention requiring hospitalization). And really, do you get to know someone over one date a week for 12 weeks? Do you know how this person will react when faced with non date, real life things? Do you know anything about someone with whom you’ve shared bread and wine, but not even a kiss?

Thank god I’m on a dating break because I don’t know if I have the stamina with this program. I don’t know if the man this is aimed to find even exists and if I found him, whether I’d even want to date him.

Plus in the immortal words of Murtaugh, ‘ I’m too old for this shit’..

3’s a crowd

Q. What is the most uncomfortable way to meet someone for the first time?
A. When he brings along two female friends and there’s no alcohol. 

Oh, and the dinner companions are a) bipolar, b) have cancer, c) are the Master of the local Myclogical society (thats Mushroom appreciation to you and I), d) say nothing. Guess which one was the guy I was meeting? Captain Conversation himself.

Now I tend to congratulate myself on my ability to talk to anyone about anything without much discomfort for at least 30 minutes. The weather, weekend plans, family, jobs, activities, ‘how was your day’, home towns… yep, I can natter on without much anxiety unless the person is in anyway attractive, asleep or drooling. I’ve even maintained a 2o minute conversation with a guy who apparently thought my eyes were located next to my nipples.

So dinner with new ‘potential’ friends… no problem. A bit weird, but with a glass of wine, heck I could find something to talk about with Charles Manson. My confidence clearly hadn’t ever experienced the ‘stranger dinner threesome’.

Dinner Companion #1. Looks friendly enough.
Dinner Companion #2. Pretty, skinny, still embracing the goth years
Dinner Companion #3. Not well represented by his photo. Damn.

Oh well, I figured I was here, eat something, make small talk and get out.

The first sign of weirdness. No-one thinks it’s in anyway weird that a complete stranger to who knows NOONE at the table is joining them for dinner. In fact, not even worth talking about…I am clearly the only one who’s slightly ill at ease. How do I know this? Because DC #1 and #2 immediately start discussing their various psychosomatic drug dosing schedule, cancer drugs and whether it was worth going on Atkins to drop back from 96lbs to 93.

Whhhhhhhaaaaaa???? hang on, I don’t KNOW YOU.

DC #1 turns to me and says ‘ I’m bipolar’ with all the enthusiasm of someone telling me that they’re pregnant, or just won the Noble Peace prize. ‘And a nanny’, she added.

Gulp. Is this dinner conversation normal for a complete stranger? Should I expect to be moving onto your laporoscopy and your boyfriends love making habits with our entree? And what was I thinking agreeing to a whole dinner instead of a drink…?
I was so out of depth I couldn’t even remember ever being on land..

I look to Captain Conversation to save me from this sinking ship – a life jacket, something? But no. He’s totally comfortable with his harem gossip and spends the next 30 minutes engrossed in their body dysmorphia, mushroom appreciation, work gossip and tales of the 93 yr old grandmother. Not a word.
I looked to the menu for a liquid life jacket… where is it? where are they? WHAT? NO LIQUOR. Holy crap. I’ve never felt more like the poster child for AA that at the moment. “I can’t get through this without a drink’. Or 5.

You know it’s not going to be a fruitful evening when you’re trying to think of a reason to duck out before the waitress as even handed you a menu.

-Claim an emergency (Damn. Phone is in the car).
-Claim life-threatening allergy (Damn. Haven’t eaten anything yet).
-Scream and run from the restaurant (Damn. I would like to eat here again)
-Die (Possible if I have to sit here much longer).

Threesomes are always uncomfortable. Or so I’ve heard.
This put threesomes on a whole new level, and no one even had to get undressed.

My advice to you out there thinking of embarking on a threesome… BYOB.

New year, a new dating process

 After watching my painful dating progress over the last 6 years, a close friend of mine with excellent judgement suggested a new process by which I should select dates. Since I’m a fan of process improvement and efficiency, not to mention leveraging others core competencies (can you tell I’ve been consulting today?).. I’m thinking of adopting it.

All future dates will meet and ‘pseudo date’ her. She will cover all first date type material and hit the areas I typically don’t consider until I’m tied up in the trunk/ running from a bear/ looking at an engagement ring in an outstretched hand.

You know, little things like ‘ do you have a job?’ ‘ do you live with your parents?’  ‘how long should you date someone before its considered long term’ oh and my personal favorite, ‘ do you like sleeping with men?’  (yes, 3 so far, and apparently I’m still not learning). She’ll go through the boring crap (siblings, parental relationship, childhood traumas) and screen out the messes. Aided by a complete lack of interest in them herself (our tastes couldn’t be more disparate), she can actually assess the candidates rationally, instead of mooning them across the bar as I tend to after the second martini.
They don’t actually get to meet me of course, not until she deems them 1) sane 2) not looking for mommy 3) smart 4) not gay and 5) not hideous. Any men expressing a desire for marriage and kids before the end of the year, job hunting assistance or who possess eyes bigger than baseballs should not apply. Oh, and albinos are definitely out (that one she’ll never let me forget). She’ll also screen out fuckwits, commitment-phobes, psychopaths and idiots. All of which I tend to adore, especially if they look good in Levis.  All successful candidates will receive a ‘certification’. From these I get to choose a lover, a partner or even just a dinner date, and I get to skip the ‘is he normal?’ question which usually only hits me when I sober up or I’m in a car with him 1100 miles from Denver.
I love it. Efficient, practical and by adding a middle man, instead of a bottleneck its kind of like my own quality control team. Plus it hits the key gap in my process (I prefer to dwell on someonesforearms or how well they make risotto).

Now she just needs to move to Colorado to start the process. Or I’m going to be waiting a fucking long time for a date