No Sex in the City

Like many chicks my age, I powered through my 20s inspired by that New York fantasySEX-AND-THE-CITY-3-PLEASE-NO of cosmos, heels and relationships, Sex In the City. I never went so far as to call myself ‘a Miranda’ or quote lines from the show, I do credit Sarah Jessica Parker for introducing me to the beauty of Manolo Blahniks. Kim Cattrall agreed with me on matters of sex, and Cynthia Nixon made it ok for me to be a bit obsessed with work. Kristen Davis was everyone I ever hated from high school…but hey, no show is perfect.

But when a friend of mine mentioned she was in a sort of ‘Sex in the City’ dysfunctional relationship.. it got me thinking about my oh-so SNTC life as singleton in Denver Colorado.

Cut to…

Clear blue Colorado sky, musings out of the window and she poses the question ‘what’s up with men over 40?’. She then realizes that’s stupid question, and she’s got better things to think about, and goes to the dry cleaner.

Passing a shop window, she stops dead and squeals at the shoes in the window. ‘Meee likey’, pivoting into the store while pronouncing loudly ‘don’t let me buy anything’. Everyone pointedly ignores her. She leaves with yet another pair of sensible heeled black boots.

Its Saturday night and she’s standing in front of her closet wondering which outfit to wear that says ‘I’m available.. but not too available’ and ‘I’m sexy.. but not in a cougarish, desperate kind of way’. She spins around clutching her favorite sweat pant/ hoodie combination and wonders what’s new on Netflix.

She’s on a date and it seems to be going well. She tries to remember which bra she’s wearing and wonders what he looks like naked. The anticipation is incredible and she’s looking forward to some R-rated fun. He tells her he has dinner at 8 with friends. She never hears from him again.

The guy she’s still half in love with from 2 years ago appears in her email inbox. Her heart beats wildly. Does he want to start something up? Has he realized how shitty he was and wants to apologize? Am I really ready to go through all that again? God I miss him. She opens the email to see a link to a Bruce Springsteen interview and the immortal words ‘thought you’d like this’. He never emails again.

She gets a great opportunity to improve her finances, working for a world-renowned company in an incredibly glamorous role. She takes the job and its hard work. No one gives her shoes.

Sarah Jessica Parker and HBO… you owe me money bitches. Or at least a pity fuck.

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.

Dating retirement

RetirementThere seems to be a worrying trend I’m noticing among my single chicas and dudes. Worrying because I seem to be part of it without actually checking a box or deciding.

Dating Retirement.

Warning signs include declaring ‘I can’t be fucked’ when someone asks you about whether you’re seeing someone, watching your match.com subscription finally expire with relief and spending your Saturday nights reordering your Netflix queue without embarrassment.

I mentioned to a guy friend that it had ‘been a while’ (I think my exact phrase was ‘100 days without sex, I am officially a virgin again’) and was met with sympathy and as much horror as one can convey via text. A few months later, I asked him how his love was going and was somewhat to amused to hear he too had adopted a monastic existence. I poked him about how that was working out and was met with the phrase ‘serene’.

Shit.. this trend is REAL.

When your girlfriend who only dates sporadically hasn’t had a date for the entire summer that’s one thing. When the dude you’ve known as ‘that guy’ who only dates hot 30-somethings (“I get older, they stay the same age”)… well damn. I guess we’re all giving up.

I know a few single people at work, and had taken their ‘non dating’ status as an overt and ridiculous commitment to work, but now I’m just wondering why it took me so long and why I didn’t pay more attention to them earlier. Clearly they’re not insane (though they do all work too much), but enlightened

Apparently the path to a joyful and harmonious existence isn’t from finding your soul mate, your ‘other half’, that one person who’s got your back.. but instead finding it buried in that German Chocolate Cake sorbet, or on that epic downhill, or hearing the world wake up from inside your tent. Joy and pleasure seems to come whether there’s someone in your life or not… and I have to say, after it being ‘not’ for a long 7 years, I’m really thrilled to realize that ‘not’ being part of a couple isn’t all half bad. Accepting the inanity of chasing rainbows in the hope that one of them might be attractive, sexy, humorous and svelte enough to not need one of those seat belt extenders on a plane just seems smart. After all, people who don’t date don’t spend their time hoping, being let down or wasting $39.99 on monthly subscriptions to ‘whatsleft.com’.

Is it lonely in retirement? I have to admit – not really. I was far more lonely in my dying relationship that I’ve ever been in the last 7 years… and if I feel the need for company, it’s certainly a lot more accessible than it was from within a crappy marriage. Now of course, non of those friends are accessible for sex, romance or late night flirting, (yikes), but if I seem to recall, there wasn’t that much of that in a romantic relationship after a year or two anyway.

So bring on the plaid pants people. I’m officially hanging up my garter belt and first date chit-chat. Saying ‘ta-ta’ to awkward cups of coffee at 3pm in the afternoon and judgy looks from 50 something chubsters. I’m moving on to the next phase of life.

Retirement. It’s not just for old people.

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…

View original post 603 more words

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.

 

Spring fling

Yes.. its been a while. Let me explain.

Spring is sprung here in Colorado and once I could actually take off a layer of thermals/ feel my fingers/ remove more thermals.. well men arrived.

springfling
Spring Fling

And after a desert-like 2013, who could blame me? I had a little fling.

But as with all spring flings, they tend to get flung pretty darn fast. This one, faster than usual (this coming from the 2013 speed dater record of 23 minutes).

One minute I was revelling in sex on tap, the joy of having someone take me out to dinner (with tablecloths people, TABLECLOTHS), and telling me how gorgous I was as we polished off another bottle of Chateauneuf-de-Pape… the next.. meh.. not so much.

You see the spring fling is a weather drive occurance here in Colorado. We’re over our winter activities, its stopped snowing most days, but we’re not yet full speed into our summer obsessions. We’re on ‘slow’ speed and we’ve got time on our hands. The weather is tricky (75-32-65-17-50 can be a typical week) and honestly, what can you really do when its overcast and grey, cold and you don’t like shopping?

Have a fling. Its like a second job and certainly made my ‘mud season’ fly by.

I’d forgotten how much time a dude can take up. Like ALL of it.

I had to fight to make enough room for some yoga and a spinning class or three. And I’m sorry, but if I’ve seen you last night and we chatted until the wee hours, what on earth do I have to talk about tonight? And for 4 hours? Over the phone.

(Yes, apparently my fling was set in 1989.)

If I was suddenly wondering what I was going to do over a weekend where it was meant to rain, be hot, snow and with winds of 80 mph.. well here was my answer. Fling. Hours accounted for. Boredom = zero.

Unfortunately a fling comes with some serious downsides other than time suckage.

First there’s the waist expansion. After a spartan ‘clean eating’ winter which left me fairly lean and healthy, suddenly I’m chowing down on foie gras, rabbit and duck fat fries, desserts and wine. Twice, three times a week.

And did I mention the wine? I think I’m personally responsible for the current Syrah shortage on the West coast. I went from an occassion glass and a few martinis a week to what was verging on a daily habit. I think 50% of my nutrition was coming from olives one week.

Then there’s the financial impact. You see flings require that you suddenly refresh your wardrobe, (partly due to that expanding wasitline and partly because someone is suddenly actually seeing you in your smalls), invest in that French lace push up bra and ignore all of your financial good intentions by throwing down $65 for the matching panties.

Yes. $65 for panties.

(and no, they don’t come with a cappacino machine or gold stockings.. I checked)

You need cute outfits for date nights, cute things for after the date nights and more cute things so that you look cute while lounging around doing nothing. And apparently SmartWool doesn’t cut it.

Lets just say I am now set for plunging V neck tops, skinny jeans, low heeled boots (he was under 6 ft), dresses and make up for the remainder of 2014.

Yes my fling was time consuming, fattening and expensive…But oh it was fun.

After not being touched by anyone other than my OBGYN and my gastroenterologist in 12 months.. it was a lovely reminder of the wonder that is someone else’s skin next to yours. That your boobs are more than annoyances when running. That your cycling butt makes those $65 panties look AWESOME and having someone appreciate all that work you’ve spent on  yoga mat. Well.. I wasn’t saying no.

Whats best of all is the surprise of the thing. That after you’ve decided you’re content with your dog, your bikes and your friends.. you suddenly get the delight that is an unexpected lustfest plumped down in front of you out of the blue. Sort of like going to Whole Foods and someone slipping a whole chocolate cake into your bags as you walk out the door. Finding someone who makes you laugh, who thinks you’re the bees knees and who actually owns and opens a wallet (single ladies.. amiright?). Who wants nothing more than you to feel amazing?

Pretty cool… until it was a bit … well.. much.

You see the flimsey nature of the fling is that it flings far and fast.. and it burns itself out faster than you can say ‘with 3 olives please’.

As the temperature in Colorado started to rise, my desire to spend more time on the bike(s), with my friends, hiking, camping and actually doing stuff that doesn’t involve being horizontal or sipping wine started to increase. My tolerance for long phone calls and ‘doing nothing’… well it was bound to end. I mean I already have a job thanks.. and I really don’t want another one that involves inordinate amounts of time gazing.

Unless its at Chris Froomes butt.

And while yes, you can have a life and date someone, its hard to have an active life with someone who isn’t.. well.. that active. Who isn’t excited to watch Paris Roubaix this weekend and who couldn’t give a stuff about trails clearing above 8,000 ft. If all you have in common is each other.. well, I know I’m not that entertaining.. and sadly, neither was he.

Plus he paid to watch a Vin Disel movie on more than one occassion.

I can only bend so far.

So my fling is flung. No regrets, no ‘what ifs’ and certainly no reconsiderations. At 42 I might have wrinkes but I also know my own mind, and trying to become someone else for someone else… thats so 1990s. If that means I’m single.. so be it.

As of today I consider the bad juju from 2013 erased. My dry patch over and 2014 officially ON.

Plus I just ordered some new cycling shorts from Rapha. Maybe not ‘skin on skin’ loveliness but damn expensive lycra and a Cytech chamois  is a definite close second.

 

Your Online Profile: Some advice for the fellas

Man_laptopOver the years I’ve had the occasion to read more than my fair share of online dating profiles. And, since my job is communicating stuff, I’ve also been asked to repair a fair few profiles by friends who are questioning why their only interest is coming from AARP members. ‘Consulting’ is a term I like to use, since I won’t actually write someone’s profile for them, but I do enjoy holding someone’s hand as we fix the glaring issues and hopefully get a better, more truthful version of them out into the world.

A caveat: My own online profile, sucks balls (I’m not the most objective writer), but when reading someone else’s ‘About me’.. the ‘yikes’ moments just jump off the page. I  put on my judgmental hat on and off we go.  So today I thought I’d hope across the aisle and share some of the tips I pass on to my online dating fellas. Don’t sneer … you need this…and they actually work.

1. Photos

Just like the ladies, you fellas need to think more strategically about your photos. We’re not going to be trying to estimate your chest size from that beach shot, but we do want to know if your version of ‘5 ft 11′ is our version of 5 ft 11’. Whether ‘athletic’ means ‘runs daily’ or ‘walks into McDs rather than driving through’.  And don’t go posting those shots from before your divorce when you were 40lbs lighter, had a whole rug of hair and non of those grey bristles. Own who you are – TODAY. It’ll save a very awkward, and short, first date. So guys, you need to post: 1 photo headshot (not taken in your bathroom and smile goddam it), 1 full body pic and 1 or 2 pics which show you doing your usual type of activities. If you’re a skier, a slopeside pic is great, but if the last time you skied was during the Clinton administration.. probably not the most honest representation. If hanging out with friends is how you spend your time… include a photo of that.. even if its just you  and them enjoying a night at the pub. And if you insist on posting 14 photos of you doing awesome stuff (paragliding, scuba, windsurfing, hiking Everest, teaching yoga in Pakistan) go for it… but if we don’t see any other people in your shots, we’re going to question whether you have a friend in the world… so bear that in mind. Its not a ‘whose lived the most amazing life’ contest. Its ‘what my life looks like’ peep show.

2. Content

An easy way of thinking about your profile is four sections;

  • Intro – the thing that grabs attention.
  • Your personality; what your personality is like
  • What you like to do: activities and hobbies, things that you find interesting
  • What type of woman you’re attracted to (‘the list’)

Section 1: Intro

‘This is really hard’ ‘I hate writing about myself’ ‘V2.0’, ‘blah blah.. will fill in later’ ‘Just looking for a great women’

No. Just no. Post your profile when its ready. When it gives us enough information to judge whether you’re worth checking out. Don’t spend the first paragraph telling us how modest you are, how long it took you to write a paragraph or what your sister/coworker/mother thinks of you. We.do.not.care.

Think of your intro as your fishing hook. The thing that reaches out of the screen and grabs us, pulls us in to reading more about you. If you’re spending 3 or 4 sentences saying blah blah blah, we’ve already moved on. Say something witty, interesting or just different and we stop skimming. Ramble on about nothing..we’re already gone.  What does a good intro look like? A synopsis of who you are. A taste of your personality. A peek into your mind. Therefore…I advise you to write it LAST.

Section 2: Your personality

Next you need to tell us the 5 most positive attributes associated with your personality. Things which your friends would nod along to (ask them if you’re not sure). Are you a relaxed, easy going mellow fellow, or an energetic, driven planner who strives to wring the maximum enjoyment out of every day? Are you someone who likes to lead, or are you willing to go along with whatever everyone else wants to do. Are you introverted or extroverted? A dominant personality or everyone’s favorite team player? Are you a sarcastic fellow with a dry humor, or a goofy laugh out loud kind of a guy who loves nothing more than a good Will Ferrell pic? A cultured city dweller or a nature lover? This is not about what you look like (she’s got photos for that) or what you’ve done… its what she needs to know about your personality and character. Whether your flavor is Vanilla or Mint Choc Chip, Pistachio or Frozen Soy Yoghurt. You don’t need to list everything about your personality.. limit yourself to 5 traits. For example, ‘I’m a driven guy who loves his job and the adventures that it affords me in my spare time. I’m energetic and optimistic, a leader and a planner’. She can learn the rest when you buy her a drink. Women know what type of guy they’re looking for and your summary tells them about your basic compatibility. Oh.. and don’t have this be more than a paragraph. No one likes a braggart or a narcissist (except other narcissists…).

What you do

Don’t spent a heap of time listing out everything you’ve ever done. That’s what dating and marriage are for (you’ve got to have something left to talk about in your 50s). If you played college football, awesome.. but after the age of 30, we don’t care (just like you don’t care about our major after freshers week). Its fine to tell us about your travels, your past accomplishments or significant moments in your life, but we’d prefer that you tell us what you actually do TODAY. After all, I used to spend 2 hours every day in the gym…. (but not since 1999). Use the last 18 months as a mirror. What have you done, how have you spent your time and be honest. If you’re a couch potato, its ok to say that you love watching movies and cooking. If you’re someone who works out everyday, say it. Don’t tell us what you did once, or what you’d like to do at some point in the future… we can talk about that on a date. Save your dreaming for off the page unless it a major lifestyle change that you’re actively planning for.  After all, I’d love to sail around the world, but I’ve not stepped onto a boat in 20 years… so its not going in my profile. The woman who wants to date you, wants to know what type of guy she’s potentially going to spend time with and you can only ‘act’ your profile for so long. So unless you want to commit to running marathons or lying about your love of Camus, don’t go there. Some women like a homebody. Some want a predictable guy who’s going to be home every day at 6.. others would wither and die with that level of routine. There are women out there who like to do everything you do… (well, probably not as much porn… but you get the picture). Don’t pretend to be something your not, or something you once were. If you need a reality check, stand naked in front of a full length mirror and think about your greatest assets. If you can see them all in the mirror… you’re not really looking at what women want to know. (we don’t look for men based on your pecs or dick size.. just sayin’).

What type of woman are you attracted to?

This is actually the third most important part of your profile. Yes. Third. Your photos are #1 (we’re as judgy as you are), and your overview is #2 (we skim as much as you do). Women are flexible, we’re adaptable and most women will see a little bit of an overlap of what your looking for and round up. (NOTE – so should you). After all, we’re not signing up for perfection.. just a guy who seems to be looking for someone like us.

So go ahead, be specific, but – and here’s the catch – you only get to be really specific about 3 things.

3?

Yes 3. You can write out your list of 25 things and say ‘I don’t have a laundry list’ but you do. We all do. So write your list… then start deleting the ‘nice to have”, the would be nice’ and the ‘preferably’. Think about the absolute essentials for you. All 3 of them. It can be as broad as ‘a positive attitude towards life’, or as specific as ‘I love tall women’… but you only get to ask for 3. Loyalty. Honesty. Warmth. Physically active. Stable… these are traits you might want to consider. Sure, you can include ‘takes care of herself’ and ‘hot body’ but what if she’s a lying manipulative unstable weirdo? You can add more than 3 traits (of course), but each extra requirement signals your rigidity and limits your pool of candidates to a very specific subsection (which may not correspond to what your lady reader thinks about herself). What you consider ‘takes care of herself’ might mean ‘stays skinny’ to you, but to her might mean ‘gets her nails and hair done weekly’. Be specific and honest about 3 must have things. Now many guys want to date someone who’s slim, mentally sound, financially stable, loves her job, has great friends, collects lingerie and would love nothing more than spending every Sunday watching football… but if she responds to you with a whole lot of ‘yes’s?

… she’s probably lying.

Of your list of 25 things.. she’s probably got 3.. maybe 5. So keep it simple and focus on whats important.
NOTE: Focus on positives ONLY. Don’t list all of your ‘nots’ (signals ‘dude has baggage’) and don’t mention ‘recent pictures only.’ (signals.. ‘no fat chicks’). Her pictures are probably as up to date as yours, so use that guideline. Focus on what attracts you rather than what you’d like. I’d like someone who looks like Ryan Gosling and rides a bike like Contador, but what attracts me is a smart positive guy who pursues new adventures and loves his job.  He might not even ride a bike. He might resemble Woody Allen. If you’re not sure of the difference think back to previous girlfriends and what attracted you to her… was it her massive smile? her goofiness? her long legs? her adventurous spirit or just her ability to waste Sundays playing Xbox? These are your attractors and say way more about you than a laundry list of bland attributes. FYI ‘Nice’ is not a trait.

And finally… we’re back at your intro

You’ve written out your 3 main sections (and edited it down/ bulked it up to a reasonable length). Now its time to create your intro. This is where you get to be clever or smart, show your edge, or simply outline what type of guy you are in 3 sentences.

Yes. 3. Your first paragraph is short and ‘grabby’. It spark’s her interest. That’s all.  It doesn’t need to be witty or intellectual, but it should give her a flavor of who you are. Think old school ‘Personals’ ads from the paper.

You can summarize a few points from your other paragraphs, or use the intro to include something that didn’t fit elsewhere. But please, please don’t tell us what you mom or your sister or your friends think of you, and don’t even consider telling us that you don’t look your age, or you can’t believe you’re still single. Yawn. No edge.

So.. here’s my shout out to the fellas who are online or thinking about dipping their toe into the online pool. Be real. Be honest. Be positive. And yes, that beer funneling photo might be cool.. but its’ really not working for us.

8 reasons why I’m not calling you back

waiting-phone-callOver the last 56 thrillion dating profiles I’ve looked at and the eleventy million bad first dates I’m endured, I’ve honed a fairly simple but robust approach to meeting someone new. Of the dating persuasion.

Not for me the simple ‘smiley face’ followed by the inevitable text ‘whatcha doing?’ from ‘Rob 1969’. No, I’m not twelve and neither are you Rob. I require, against Elvis’s wishes no less, ‘a little more conversation and a little more action please’. After all, if I’m going to be kicking off my pants and jumping into the sack, I’d at least like to know what your voice sounds like. Nope.. these days I follow my own rules; 2 emails, 1 phone chat, 1 drink. THEN, only then, do we get to go on a date.

Sounds rigid? Youbetcha.

  • Have you ever been on a date with a man who bored himself to sleep? Literally a doze at the bar?
  • Have you ever been on a date with a felon who lived with his dad?
  • Has one of your dates explained that he only has 8pm-10pm slots available in his life? (M-F)
  • Did one of your dates spend the entire first meet up reviewing his resume and work history?
  • Have you showed up on a date to find out that he attended Woodstock (the original) – as a vendor?
  • Did your date tell you all about how he watches S&M porn with his dad and they have the same taste?

Hence, these days, an essential part of my finely honed dating etiquette is the ‘pre meet up’ phone chat.  Just like a job interview, this is the ‘screener call’ aimed at ferreting out the weirdos, those lacking in any social etiquette or conversational skills, or the complete odd balls who really shouldn’t be applying for the job at all. Its the simplest way to see if I want to learn more about you.. and vice versa.

Its so easy. Chit chat about nothing for 10 minutes, slip in some questions and watch for those low fences – employment (aka – do you have a job), living situation (are you still living with your ex? your parents? on a sofa?), general temperament (do you want to talk about the meaning of life in the first five minutes? do you find yourself hysterical?). Fall at these easy hurdles and I’ll mumble a potential future date, but I’ll never call you to schedule it.

Of course if they pass the screener chat, its no guarantee that our date will be great, but at least I’ve not spent the evening slapping on foundation, eyeliner and lipgloss only to be met by a monosyllabic moron who watches the tv screen at the bar instead of trying to learn anything about me at all. And hey, at 40ish, if I’m skipping a yoga class or a Masters of Sex episode, I want to make sure I’m going out to meet someone I’m interested in learning more about. 

If we’ve chatted on the phone and you thought it went great… here are some of the reasons I won’t be calling you back after all.

1. You tell me you hate your job.

I don’t care. I’m not your mother, your self actualization coach or your wife. I am a stranger, just like someone you met at Target, and therefore bear no responsibility for your work woes. If its one of the first things you choose to share with me ever.. its not really a winner. I’d probably be more interested in your ability to guesstimate my bra size. Even if you do hate your job, that’s fine – I just don’t need to know at this moment in time. Maybe in 3-6 months time.. say when we’ve farted in front of each other. Then you can complain about your job. Until then, lets focus on whether we’ve got anything in common other than breathing.

2. You mention your ex more than once in the conversation.

I don’t know you. I don’t know your ex. And by virtue of her being your ex, I probably don’t need to know her – and certainly today and this call is not the time to introduce her. We’re meant to be interested in learning about each other.. not your past… not yet. And unless your ex is still in your life, (necessitated by kids, you serving time for her murder etc), then you don’t need to mention her more than once. Twice and I assume you’re still hung up on her; three times and I’ll just assume she’s holding a gun to your head. Not convinced? How often do you talk about your ex to a stranger you’re standing next to in Target? Exactly. To you, that’s all I am right now.

3. You couldn’t charm your way out of a paper bag

Part of the screener call is to see if there is any rapport between us. We’re not looking for break dancing and American Idol auditions, but we do need to know that holding a conversation with you isn’t going to make our eyeballs bleed and our ears wilt. Since we’re  not talking about much – online profile data, the weather, the weekend, any odd similarities or coincidences, you should be on stable ground. Maybe make light of something (doesn’t even have to be joke), ask a question and sound interested at my response. Its not hard… charming can be as simple as listening and responding. Charming is not – suave, smooth, oily or creepy. It does not involve you telling me that you made my bikini picture your screen saver or that you’ve Googled me and downloaded my thesis on deindustrialization. No I did not hurt myself when I fell from heaven, and yes, they are real. And no, you’ll never get to see them. And no, talking about sex on the phone the first time we chat is a no no. Would you do that to some in line at Target? ‘Security!’

4. Why so serious?

We’re strangers on the phone. Attempt to make a lighthearted conversation happen, or at least something vaguely interesting. It doesn’t need to be funny, or even light.. but you can’t bring up the death of your mother, your fallen army buddies in Iraq or the state of abortion rights in Texas. Sure I’ll discuss this with you until the cows come home at some point in the future, but its NOT ‘chatty’ ‘get to know you’ conversation. I don’t need to know that you’re trying to figure out the second half of your life (yet), that your crippling social anxiety makes it hard to leave the house most days (yet), and that you’ve not had a date since 2006 (ever). I’m not a free therapist and if I need a drink after talking to you for 20 minutes, the likelihood is that you need a therapist. Not a date.

5. Its takes two

A conversation is an exchange of ideas, sounds, vowels.. but most importantly, voices. There should be two people talking on the phone during a ‘screener’ chat. If there’s only one – either of you – its not a good sign. I once sat on a call with a guy for 35 minutes while he discussed his life. I ended the call and realized he’d not asked me a single question about myself. He probably felt great – he’d offloaded a bunch of stuff while someone listened and asked questions. Free therapy.

Apparently my profile – all 350 words of it – gave him everything he needed to know about me so questions weren’t necessary from him. I’m apparently better at writing than I thought.

If its only your voice you hear, you might as well hang up unless you’re an egotistical maniac. If s/he can’t interject, respond to a question with more than  a single word, you’re not a match. His match is a stoned socially anxious hermit, or a woman who likes the sound of her voice, and hers alone. Since you’re already single, you already have silence in your life. You don’t need silence accompanied by farting. You have a dog for that. The only way this guy moves to an actual date is if your FWB has tapped out. This guy is a perfect FWB – quiet.

6. Liar Liar

Everyone lies on their profile right? (I’ll never be 5 ft 3 without shoes on.) But when its apparent that his profile was about as realistic as Lady Gaga’s hair, its going to be tough to get to an actual date. Once women find a loose stitch in the sweater, we can’t help but pick at it until we’ve unraveled a whole new reality omitted from your ‘About Me’ story.  When I ask you about your medical specialty and you told me ‘General?’ with a question mark. When I asked where you received your culinary education (note – ‘around’ isn’t an institution) or even when I calculated your actual age based on the length of your marriage, women can spot a fibber at 15 feet. And if we can spot it over the phone, we’re not likely to bother with the actual date. You’re probably still married.

7. Not feelin’ it

The dreaded non specific ‘chemistry’. Yes, it exists over the phone. Its what makes you talk for an hour by accident or hang up, excited to learn more. And sure, I probably have missed some great guys due to bad phone chemistry but I’ve also saved myself some terrible bad first dates. We might chit chat and its all very pleasant for 15 minutes, but if nothing has grabbed me, (or you) and we’re running out of things to say… it doesn’t bode well for an actual date. Its at that point that one or both of us would start knocking back the tequila to make it more interesting. So no… lovely person I just spoke with.  You did nothing wrong, you were offensive in no way and you asked me about myself. But like most people in the queue at Target, some people you don’t need to talk to for more than 5 minutes in a lifetime. And apparently, we just did that. Good luck. Next.

8. The phantom caller

We agreed to chat but then you text at 10pm. I return your call and you don’t pick up, instead I get an email. You’re desperate to arrange a date via text and email, but you won’t pick up the phone when I call and actually speak to me. I’m all about the social media and email, but in dating, at some point you have to physically meet the other person and exchange words. A text or an email can get you to that point.. but its no substitution for a live conversation. So no, even if you’ve left 3 messages at weird times, and texted me repeatedly, we’re not going out until you and I have spoken live. We’re not 15, we’re grown ups and if you can’t ask a woman out by the time you’re 40, you’ve got bigger problems than me not calling you back. Grow a pair buddy.

So yes I’m rigid, cold and not a little cynical about this dating stuff, but then if you’d been stiffed for the bill by strangers, stood up by nervous nellys and ignored in favor of the bar maid, you’d be right there with me too. So if she’s not calling you back… consider if its any of these reasons. And if not, maybe she just didn’t like the tone of your voice. Sorry. What can I say. We are, after all, women. And we do control all the vagina.

Dear men..what women want (no really)

strong_arm_menGuys. Lets talk.

I know you are all unique snowflakes in your own right, and that woman ‘be crazy’ but I think you might benefit from a little insight from the other side of the aisle. No, I am not a Republican, but I am a woman, (unless NPH* is more of your thing), well I represent what you’re looking for.

(NOTE – I said “represent” not “am”. I’m confident not insane.)

And as the nominated representative of the Republic of Women, I need to let you know – that contrary to popular opinion, it’s not about your face, your wallet or your car. It’s not about whether you can gift us with babies and to be honest, we could give two shits about your ability to bench 250. Ask any single woman over 35 what she’s looking for and she’ll say pretty much the same thing. She wants (in no particular order)

  • Honesty
  • Loyalty
  • Kindness
  • Good manners
  • A great smile
  • Conversation
  • A little edge

Sure there are a thousand other attributes that you can add to that list**, but once you strip away the must haves from the nice to haves, the needs from the wants.. we all want the same thing. A good guy. With a little edge.. just to keep us on our toes.

But.. but… but.. yes, I hear you. Women want everything. And why not?  Wishing and optimism is part of life. But what we need, well again, its pretty simple. everything really boils down to 7 things. Non of which pertains to your golden love juice, a $40,000 wedding or removing your balls. No matter what you think. Let me explain.

Honesty

Of course you’re nodding your head. The last thing you stole was Pop Rox and the last lie was ‘more of a fib’ so you’re honest. But are you really honest?

The dictionary defines honesty as “Marked by or displaying integrity; upright” and “Not deceptive or fraudulent; genuine”  True integrity in everything you do and say honest? Hmmmm. Starting to look a little less easy isn’t it…?

(and don’t start throwing women back at me.. this is about you guys).

If you define honest as ‘not lying’ then yes, all men are honest. All of them. Because men tend to be honest via omission. If you didn’t say it, then you’re not lying…right? You didn’t say that you’re not sleeping around, still dating other women, are sexting your ex.. so you’re not technically lying are you? True. But you’re not being honest. Deception by omission is so commonplace most people don’t even think about it. But women, it’s the cornerstone of why we don’t trust guys further than we throw them. Because we know what you’re not saying is more important than what’s coming out of your mouth.

Now a relationship or dating isn’t a deposition; there are no contracts and no-one is swearing on a bible, but honesty.. living your life without omission or deception.. it’s the holy grail for women. And yes, while it’s as rare as George Clooney in a committed long-term relationship, it doesn’t stop us from wanting it.

Loyalty

This one is easier to define ‘ feeling or attitude of devoted attachment and affection’, but in women speak its even easier: ‘I trust that you’re in my corner’. We want to know you’re on our side. Sure it has to be earned – we don’t expect you to be in our corner on a first date – but we need to know that we can rely on you… because as women, we’ve always got your back. Its part of that damned maternal/ caring thing in our genes. We can’t help ourselves.  Which means – if you’re on our side – you can’t treat us as ‘the enemy’. We’re not, despite what you think, out to get you.  We just want to know that if our house burns down you’re the one helping rescue the dog, not pouring gas on the flames. Trust, reliability, loyalty.. call it what you will. Its at the top of our list.

Kindness

I know, you’re suddenly feeling like it would be easier to buy a fancier car than this list…but kindness is key. Kindness is ‘friendly, generous, or warm-hearted nature’ ‘Humane; considerate’ ‘generous, tolerant’. Sound a bit wussy for you? Well kindness can be as simple as making someone tea after a bad day. Saying nothing instead of being mean. Accepting that everyone messes up and not carrying the chip forever. Kindness isn’t wussy.. its friggin hard. One of my friends is a moody bitch on occasion but instead of indulging her irrational anger, her husband simply leaves the house, takes the dog and walks to the store to buy her candy. That’s kindness. Its the ability to acknowledge human-ness and not hold imperfection against someone.

Good manners

This shouldn’t need to be said but good manners are really lacking in men these days. And Unfortunately no-one told women that manners were verboten, because we still bizarrely – appreciate them. And yes, this means more than just opening the car door. Its treating servers, waitstaff and everyone you come into contact with respectfully, including us.  Politeness, returning a call, being patient, turning up on time, saying thank you.. we notice. We do. And its sexy. Screw the fancy car and the $200 jeans, we’ll take manners every time.

A great smile

Nuff said really. A great smile is almost always the top of any list that women make on what attracts them to men. Which is weird then you look at most online profiles. So many miserable or ‘Blue Steel’ poses. What gives? A smile shows a lightness of spirit, joy and enthusiasm.  It costs nothing and we’ll remember it a lot longer than whatever you were wearing.

Conversation

Most women are talked into bed. Ok, some are also drunk into bed, but mostly we’re talked there. And while I’m not the most girlie of women, I, like most women, love to converse. NOTE: converse.. not talk. A conversation is one which goes back and forth, sallies into random tributaries and circles around but it involves two people. It draws out the thoughts and ideas of the other person, it rejoices in connection points and it cannot be understated as the seducer of women. And no, talking about that one time when you got sooo drunk isn’t conversation nor is spending the evening talking about yourself.  That’s a monologue and it says ‘I’m the most interesting person in this conversation’. And if you’re not interested in us and what we’re up to, thinking or feeling.. well..whats the point?

A little edge

The one is harder to define but all women look for it. We want you to be honest, to be loyal and to be kind.. but we also want a little ‘edge’. We don’t want to date a doormat. Milquetoast man is not getting laid. We need to know there is more to you, much more, than what we see. God knows if we’re going to be talking to you for the next 3-6 months (40 years???) there needs to be a suggestion that there is still some mystery. Some depth. A sense of confidence and quiet power. And no, edge does not translate to bad boy behavior or getting a sleeve tattoo.. it’s keeping us slightly guessing. On our toes. Making us want to keep seducing you for as long as we’re together. I guess the simplest explanation is ‘not getting too too comfortable’. And yes, gaining 30lbs and living in sweatpants would be getting too comfortable. That guy.. no edge.

***
So there you have it, menfolk. Stop reading those ‘Game’ websites or trying to ‘play’ us into bed. What women want isn’t complicated.. its just hard.

But you’re men.. you can handle it.

*Neil Patrick Harris. God of all that is ‘awesome’ and erstwhile friend of Dorothy.

** Being good at sex doesn’t hurt either

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 Match.com? 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.

Why you’re not long term potential

panic-hands-due-man-afraidMy friend Steve is a fellow ‘mature’ Match dater who’s been reading my blog and wanted to share some insight from a man’s perspective. Here’s his thoughts on why the guy you’ve been on a few dates with might not consider you a long term prospect.

  1. You drink too much

Its one thing to loosen up before the first date, but if you’re regularly ‘loose’ before every subsequent date, you’re probably not long term potential. Throwing back those rum and cokes mid week, every week, until you’re sorta sloppy drunk? Definitely not long term potential. Unless it a major celebration, a holiday or you just won the lottery, throwing back the booze during a date is a sign that you’re someone who likes to ‘party’. Doing it every date.. a definite sign that something’s amiss and this isn’t for the long haul.  You might be lovely (but nervous), charming (but lacking in self confidence) and a perfect match for us.. but we won’t stick around if you’re slurring ‘letsh go back to your placesh’. Of course this does mean you’re very much short term potential.. but I’m guessing you didn’t want to know that.

2. You refer to your ex(s) more than once in single evening

If you were nodding at #1 on this list, you’re probably also guilty of this one. If you find yourself referring to your ex more than once during a date.. you’re probably not long term potential – yet. In a few months, a year.. maybe… but for now… we get the sense you’re still a bit hung up on him. Of course its easy to spot to those recently scarred and still processing stuff – shouting ‘the bastard’ after mentioning his name tends to give it away. Misty eyed remembrances don’t help us feel good either. Its awesome that you love your ex, but you’re on a date with ME and frankly it makes me uncomfortable to know that you’re spending our date thinking about him. And no, using the term ‘we’ (as in ‘we hiked the Grand Canyon, we used to hang out at The Tavern all the time) isn’t any better.  Everyone has a romantic past at this point, but please can you limit bringing them on the date with us? I mean your ex sounds awesome.. but I don’t think I want to date him.

3. You’re so intent on being confident that we can’t relate to you

Men love a confident woman. It signals that we’re not going to spend every minute of every day reassuring you about your looks, your job, your friends or our feelings (which we like to do, but just not all.the.time). A woman who knows her value and her own mind is a good thing.. but you can have too much of a good thing. If you spend the entire date telling us how awesome you are, how wonderful your life is and everything in it is just amazing.. its pretty clear that you really don’t want or need a man in your life. Frankly, you’re scaring us. No-one can relate to perfection and someone who puts themselves on a pedestal.. well there’s confidence and then there’s false gutter bravado. If you’re overly confident, smug or arrogant… we know that we’re never going to measure up to your standards. But I think George Clooney is single…?

4. You eschew anything feminine

Being feminine isn’t a sign of weakness girls. Heads up – we’re guys. You’re a woman. If we wanted to date a dude, we’d be on Grindr (it sounds a hell of a lot easier). You don’t need to grab your crotch, swear like a sailor or recite the Eagles 2012 draft picks in order to be attractive (no matter how many of you want to be that chick in Silver Linings Playbook). If this is who you are – go for it. After all a tomboy can be attractive, but a chick who doesn’t have any feminine vibes about her..? Friend zone. We like women. Who are women..all flavors. And no, this doesn’t mean you need to wear a skirt or have big nails. Women who like being women have a poise about them and they’re not trying to ‘out dude’ us. Women who want to be guys..? Two words. Chas Bono. Who I do not want to date.

5. “Stage 5 clinger.. we have a Stage 5 clinger alert”

Dating is fun. And we get as excited as you do after a great date. Really. We want to show you that we’re interested, but we don’t want to come on too strong. We know its a balance and not knowing what you think or feel is part of dating can be fun. We’re adults and we know getting to know each other is a bit of a dance. Which is why ‘clingers’ freak us out. There’s no dance. Its straight up ‘I REALLY LIKE YOU’ from the get go.. all the time. If you’ve said ‘I love you’ too fast, if you’ve cried after sex or you’re calling us ‘your boyfriend’ after 2 dates.. sorry, but you’re a ‘clinger’. You want a man, any man, more than anything. In fact, we feel like you’ve put us at the center of your universe.. which frankly is terrifying when you don’t even know us. Is your life that empty? So if you’re blowing up my phone with texts after a date or two, if you’re asking me to help you move, fix your car, come look at houses.. yikes. We’re screening your calls. Actually, I think I just got a job in Alaska.

6. Making it all about sex

Yes we’re dudes. We think about sex. A lot. And if we’re straight, we spend a lot of time thinking about women. And their bodies. And.. well, you get the picture. But when we go on a date, we actually want to spend time getting to know you. Find out whether your profile was true, find out whether we have chemistry. We don’t go on a date to learn all about what you can and can’t do with your mouth. Or how much you want to do X, Y or Z. Or what you did with some dude in the parking lot this one time. I mean, we’ll listen… (hey, I’m a dude), but does this make you someone we want to date?  Not so much.  If you think that we’re only interested in sex, and you make the date all about sex or the promise of sex.. well that’s how we view you.  As someone to have sex with. If we know you’re that eager to sleep with a dude you just met… well we know you’re probably eager to sleep with anyone. Which doesn’t mean we’ll say no to the offer (well not always), but it doesn’t make us think of you as a long term girlfriend. We might… I guess… but probably not.

7. And finally… the crazy.

Don’t judge me, but we can spot crazy. Inconsistent, irrational, hysterical and out and out unstable .. crazy comes in many flavors. And crazy can be fun. But its also tiring and comes with a lot of work.  And call me lazy… but I’m not that crazy about crazy.

So there you have it. 7 reasons why your date might not be adding you to his contact list. Of course, he could also just not like you.

He likes you, you like him.. now what?

He likes you, you like him.. now what?

After writing endlessly about my 7 year spell of online dating, I need your advice.

I met a guy I like, who seems to like me and I have no.clue.what.to.do.now. 

I am so out of practice with being around someone who seems sane, smart and straightforward that I’m acting like a vestal virgin. I don’t know how to be when I’m not on a first or second date. I honestly can’t remember how to do dating.. you know, regular, see each other every couple of days, chat on the phone.. dating.

I think I’ve got the first couple of dates nailed.. I dress up, put on makeup (and then scrub 87% of it off since it makes me look like a tranny), pull out the good underwear and make sure that the worst of my Crossfit bruises are hidden. 

Sidebar: Crossfitters can easily be identified since we all look a bit beat down. Fit as f-k but beat. Literally. Bruised knees, shins, clavicles, necks, chins and boobs..all completely normal. But a little alarming to the non Crossfitter.

Anyway.. first few dates.

You skate around the big elephants in the room (the ex’s, how many other women he’s actually dating at the same time as you, whether he’s picking up the check, whether he drives a Subaru… ) and you chit chat about music and travel, trips and siblings,  whether he thinks 8 cells constitutes a sentient being (sorry, its now on my checklist after the last guy), but you generally keep it light.

I try to stay away from tequila (makes me crazy), and too much vodka (makes me sloppy).  I try not to offend, I mentally coach myself that lunging at him from across the booth isn’t a good idea (see how I’ve learned?), and making out stays above the waist. I see if he claims the check or if he ignores it studiously.  Its taken a few years, but I can finally do a first or second date really well. You know, low percentage of men running out the bar or me climbing out the bathroom window.

Dates 3 and 4, I’m less familiar with but have some experience. You’re still full on trying to put your best foot forward, investing in looking cute and trying to avoid the landmines. Maybe you mention the ex’s, you tell each other how much fun you’re having (but not too intensely or using any L words – “enjoy” is very safe) and you try to figure out if he’s harboring any major insurmountable weirdness.  But after date 4… I’m lost.  Are you still ‘dating’? Are you in a relationship? (and can you be in a relationship if you’ve not yet slept together?) Can you assume that you’ll see each other again every couple of days or is a week to week ‘depending on my schedule’ thing?

What happens after date 4?

How soon before I can tell him that I really hate people who crunch apples loudly, that I have a daily amount of conversation I can engage in before I lose the ability to communicate and what about my attire? I’ve only got so many cute outfits in my wardrobe and frankly I need a new bike helmet before I need another damn sun dress. How long do I have to keep washing my hair every time we go out? Or biting my tongue to stop me staying something crude? And goddam it.. how long before its acceptable to get naked? In the last 7 years I’ve heard everything from ‘right now’ to 90 days..

(Yes you heard right.. 90 Days. You can thank Steve Harvey for that one. He also uses the term ‘cookie’ instead of ‘vagina’ which freaks me out. My vagina bears no relation to a cookie – at. all. Is it meant to?)

But regardless, I know its not 90 days –  I’m 41 not 14- but when its right? I have no idea any more.

My experiences of late have involved not waiting (and regretting it) or waiting (and then discovering that I think of him like a brother). Where’s the sweet spot? And how do I find it?

(or is that his job?) *wink*

If you’re rolling your eyes and mentally telling me to ‘just be myself’ or ‘just go with what seems right’, just remember that’s what has led me to being single for 7 years and collecting dating stories which would kill my mother if ever aired.

 ‘Myself’ often wears clothes with food stains on them. “Myself” can’t be bothered to do anything except watch Ink Masters and order deliver sushi on a Thursday night, and “myself” really isn’t the nicest person to be around when she’s tired, or hungry, or PMSing or in need of a workout. And that’s before I even get into ‘myself’ thinking $156 for a bra is completely acceptable, but that my car plates can wait a month. Myself doesn’t wear makeup, is obsessed with Crossfit and often doesn’t put on pants until 5pm.  Myself is like Shrek in a china shop where guys are considered. I’ve broken a guys jaw accidentally and thrown one on the floor when trying to show off my dance moves. I am quite literally retarded around men I find attractive. When does he get to see this real version of me’?

On reflection I’m thinking ‘never’ might the correct answer here…

So until I can figure it out, I’ll just keep scheduling ‘dates’, avoiding the ‘are you still on Match’ conversation and shaving my legs within an inch of their life. We’ll eat out, make each other laugh, make out and hopefully someday I’ll know that its ok to show up in my Nanos and introduce him to Crossfit. And I’ll keep praying that he’s not on the Steve Harvey 90 day plan.

More relationships than any other site

More relationships than any other site

Its been 7 years and 15 days…

No, I am not about to write the lyrics of Sinead O’Connors ‘Nothing Compares to U’.. but this is roughly how long I’ve been dating.Yikes. I know. My skin is like leather.

(but damn I can now interview like a motherf-r)

And for the last 7 years I’ve been hoping that one day I’d get the date that I was promised by Match.com, eHarmony and all the rest of them. You know the one. She’s all pleasantly excited (but not Googling him like a maniac),  they both look excited when they meet, and the date (and ad) ends with a cute shot of them toasting each other with a oyster, stealing a kiss or running through the rain holding each other’s hand.

Yes. Because that happens in real life.

My first dates… not so much.

If they made an advert featuring most first dates (and mine), there would be some awkward half-hugs, stilted questions about siblings, increasingly fast consumption of alcohol followed by a) manic signally for the check while he’s in the bathroom, b) under the table texting a friend to ‘get me out of here!!’ or c) (rarely) the sloppy make out against a car followed by morning after regret and radio silence. Plus even if you manage to stumble into a ‘good’ date, you might get a text a few days later and a few dates which cause you to realize that yes, men lie, and no, you don’t need to buy new underwear.

But its not surprising really. The idea that you can read a profile, look at some photos, exchange an email or two, chat on the phone for 15 minutes and then meet someone who is sane, single, attractive, and finds you attractive .. well its beyond a crap shoot. That you’re paying $39.99 for this privilege is the best con this century has seen. Even if you get past the first visual hurdle, there’s the holy grail that is chemistry, shared interests and values and that’s even before pants come off.  If you’ve managed to crawl through the obstacle course that is conversation, what are the chances that you’ll mesh in bed? At this point, bookies are rubbing their hands together with glee and that old dude from eHarmony is buying himself a bigger boat.

Meeting men the old fashioned way – in a bar, at work, at a party, walking the dog or god forbid at the gym – is really no more effective. You’ve just short cut the whole ‘is this person attractive’ step, but you’re still trying to pan for gold. And after 40, well there ain’t many nuggets left in the creek.

So no, I’ve never toasted anyone with an oyster on a date, first or otherwise.

But this weekend, I think I may have actually had a date approximating a match.com commercial.
There was hiking (well, we are in Colorado), there was brunch, there was a movie with hand holding and a truly Texan sized bucket of popcorn. And there were flowers.  Flowers!! On a date!!!
True there was no oyster sharing, but there was an actual brief run in the rain as we left the movie theatre. I swear, at one point I thought I was going hear the voice over ‘ more relationships than any other site’.

It was a beautiful thing to behold. The good date. The awesome date actually. With a real live, solidly nice, wryly sarcastic guy. No crossed eyes, moles, gayness or anything.

And it only took 7 years and $700 in subscriptions to get to. I think that’s a solid investment.
Now if anyone has a bridge to sell, give me a call.

Dating Headlines

Dating Headlines

I love online dating profiles. No, actually I don’t. But they sure make for entertaining reading when its a slow day at work. Ahem…sorry… slow Saturday afternoon. Cos that’s when I do my Match surfing.. at the weekend, when there isn’t anything else to do, said no-one ever.

NOTE: Guys, if you’re spending your Saturday afternoons on match.com that might be the source of the problem. But moving on…

After perusing the latest offerings of men who will read my blog and then never call me again.. I noticed that the headlines were actually quite hysterical. Here was I just looking at the 1 inch square face shot and clicking or moving on, when actually I could have been laughing my ass off at the unintentional hilarity that is restricted characters, bad spelling and unfortunate writing.

  • Congradulations (oh dear… does your Commodore 64 not have spell check?)
  • I have a great sens (ummm.. I don’t think you do)

Then there’s the unintentionally bizarre (someone should tell these guys about character limits)

  • Tired of dating guys (so now you’re trying women? Is that how it works?)
  • I’m good at vacation (is anyone bad?)
  • Moved to Colorado, looking to expand (ummmm. dare I ask what?)
  • Be yourself. Everyone else is. (you mean everyone else is also me? we’re all clones? Nooooo!)
  • I’m from Illinois (well that does it. Sold!)
  • Albert (?????)
  • Easy going guy looking for easy (well at least you’re honest..)
  • I wear permanent press (Congratulations! But I am not your dry cleaner)
  • Life’s the same, I’m moving in (um.. I don’t think so. Not without permission)
  • I like where this is going (nowhere? really?) 
  • Go confidently in the direction of  (where? where?)

The educational

  • Laughter is the shortest distance (Um.. I think laughter is an involuntary reaction to certain stimuli.. but maybe its different in America.)
  • A metaphor is like a simile (let me guess, English teacher?)
  • Love is a verb. C’mon show me (ew… just ew)
  • Live by faith, not by sight (..and that’s how I got my driving record)

The scary

  • Future Soccer Moms apply here (words fail me)
  • Easy going CPA.. golf   (Woah! hear those panties hit the floor!
  • Saint Jude (you’re the betrayer? Well at least you’re being honest about your infidelity)
  • I brush my teeth every 5 or 6 days (god I hope he’s kidding)
  • A carnal life well lived (ew…pass the Purell)  
  • 2 characters minimum, me and you (so you’re saying you’re into 3 ways?)

The trite

  • I am a really good guy (oh I’m so glad I found you…everyone else here is a really bad guy)
  • Enjoy everyday (actually I prefer to stomp around hating life.. but thanks for the advice)
  • Nicest guy you’re about to (yes… skip over)
  • Seeking true love (well I was shopping for some new Reeboks, but now you mention it)
  • Where are you? (Here! Its me! The one with the arm up waving! No, not her, Me!!!)

Completely random 

  • May I take your trident sir? (???)
  • I, Jackie moon will wrestle a (what? what?)
  • EWF (something to do with wrestling?)

Finally, in case you thought I was a mean, cold hearted cynic, there are the stars.. the smart ass, funny guys. FYI – none of whom want to date me.

  • I like stuff. You do too? We should chat!
  • STOP.. read this profile.. REPEAT (and I actually did)
  • Filthy stinking rich (balls, this dude has balls)
  • Give me ambiguity or give me.. (oh.. I see what you did there smart ass)
  • Don’t drink and wink (Wait…is someone watching my apartment?)
  • If you never did, you should (story of my life sir, story of my life)

So.. if you’re ever writing a profile, and you want a catchy headline, let these be your cautionary tales.  Spell check. Character check. Don’t be an ass and please don’t be as clueless as the next guy.

But don’t sweat it.. we’re really just checking out your photos.. just like you are. 

Dating over 40: The 30 second judgement

Dating over 40: The 30 second judgement

So you’re heading off for that first date with the chick you met at work/ online/ walking the dog (yeah, cos that happens) and you arrive keen to make a good impression. You went to the ATM, you took off your Tevas and you arrived early. You order a drink and your date joins you with a smile and a cheery ‘hi’. She looks at you briefly, and glances at the cocktail menu

She’s just decided whether you’re making it past the first date.  

Yep. It’s that quick.

Sure, we’re women, we might change our mind – but, no, not much changes our mind. Women, we hold the land speed record for a 5 second looks/character/personality/shoes/jeans assessment before you’ve finished your ‘hello’.

Women, we’re kind of judgy.

So you might be asking yourself how do we make such a speedy assessment in less time that it takes to say your first and last name? You might think, ‘ but she doesn’t even know me?’, ‘but she hasn’t heard how awesome I am’ or ‘people take a while to warm up to me’ .. Bullshit. Women decide immediately. The only consideration she’ll be mulling over while you sip your drink is how long she’s going to make you wait for the second date.  If you’re on her list, a) congratulations and b) don’t fuck it up.

Sorry. Its just how it is. 

So how do you impact a woman’s snap decision? Make sure it falls in your favor when that judgement happens so. damn. fast? Well chemistry and how you look to her factors into it … but there are other factors, less well known, that can flip a woman’s switch to ‘Off’ before she’s even put her purse on the bar. Let me break it down for you. 


1. Your attire. 
No, I’m going to tell guys to wear a tuxedo or a suit. This isn’t GQ. And to be honest, unless you’re in Vegas or you work in a bank, either of these on a first date is wayyyyy overkill. Unless you’re Daniel Craig. And even Daniel Craig isn’t always Daniel Craig.
However dressing appropriately on a first date is critical.  It says whether you’re a boy or a man (joke t shirts and trucker hats are the fast track to ‘no’), whether you are actually interested in her (un-ironed, wrinkled, holey or stained are all no-nos) and a little about your personality -high maintenance metro man (skinny pants, styled hair, moisturized skin, tucked in shirt) or more easy going relaxed sort (jeans, flip flops, bitten fingernails, faded tee). That first impression should reflect who you are … just not the worse version of who you are. Since we – women- don’t show up on dates in our sweat pants and sneakers with a  greying bra and hair in a scrunchie.. maybe you should give it a second thought too.

Its hard to go wrong with a button down and jeans; roll up the sleeves if its hot and if you insist on flip flops, don’t go for any color other than black or brown. Nothing says ‘questionable’ like a man in purple flip flop and a college t shirt. (FYI, if you’re still really into your college past 30, you’ve outed yourself as a Peter Pan) If its cold, wear a sweater or a jacket, but not the one your grandmother knitted back in 1985, and certainly nothing that Bill Cosby would approve of. And no, don’t ever consider wearing a hat. No, not even a fedora. You’re not Justin Timberlake, and its not 1940. Wearing a baseball cap to a first date is only appropriate if a) you’re a member of the Yankees or b) you own the Yankees. And backwards caps..? Beiber. That’s all I’m saying.

‘But my clothes don’t mean anything‘ you might be thinking. ‘I don’t want to date someone who’s so shallow’ or ‘It doesn’t say anything about who I am’

Well to you, maybe not. But to us, all of us, .. we notice. Oh boy, do we notice. What you wear says whether you care about yourself, whether you’re current in your thinking, and yes, if your relationship with your mother might be a little too close. Your attire can imply that you’re cheap, conservative, a free thinking hippy, a pretentious snob or just an average, normal, respectful jock. Its tells us that you still wish you were in college, that you aren’t as wealthy as you’d like or that you want to date 30 yr olds. Yes, we can get that from jeans and a tee.  So be who you are, but be a good clean, your Mom’s coming to dinner version of that.

Bad glasses, wife beaters, shirts from 1990, ironed jeans, man sandals with socks, frayed t shirts and anything by Ed Hardy. Sorry guys, you might as well save yourself $30 and just go home. Game over.. and you didn’t even get to open your mouth.

2. Your smell.
Step away from the Drakkar Noir, CK One and D&G. No, aftershave is not an all over body mist. And no, it doesn’t hide the fact that your clothes were pulled out of the dirty laundry basket 5 minutes ago and you didn’t have time to wash up after your work out.

Take a shower. 
With soap.

Brush your teeth
With a toothbrush.

That’s all it takes. We love a man who smells good, but all we need on a first date is for you to not smell bad. In fact, if we can’t smell you at all… perfect.
But if we can smell you before we can see you, if your breath curls our eyelashes or you see tears in our eyes as you lean in for an introduction.. you probably need to take your leave. If you’re date is leaning away from you at a 65 degree angle.. take the hint. Take a shower.

3. Your drink. 
You wouldn’t think this matters would you? I mean whats it to us what you drink?
You really want to know? We’re totally extrapolating your personality as soon as we spot that umbrella or shot glass. So sure, go ahead and order what you want.. just know that what you drink, as the ads say, says everything about you.

  • Lemonade: Unless you just got done working out, its 106 degrees or you’re under 18, Lemonade says ‘AA’ or ‘I don’t trust myself’. Either of which means you’ve probably got questionable judgement and we’re on high alert. No-one needs to drink lemonade on a date. The only exception being breakfast. When you can drink coffee like every other normal person.
  • White wine: Totally acceptable if its the height of summer, its before 5pm or you weigh less than 150lbs. White wine is the limp wrist of drinks. The only men who can drink it on a first date are those blessed in the pants department or those seeking a same sex partner. 
  • Domestic Beer: If you’re ordering a Bud, anything with the word ‘Lite’ in the title or suds the color of cat piss, you’re either 18 or clueless. Domestic beer says ‘I like to spend every Sunday in the parking lot of the football stadium’  and ‘you’re never too old to funnel’. And no, ironic hipster beers like PBR and Old Style don’t cut it either. We know you think its cool, but it says ‘trying too hard’. Plus they taste and smell like musky urine, so we’re not coming anywhere near your mouth anytime soon.
  • Microbrews: Always acceptable, even mass marketed micros are a good choice for saying ‘I’m not an idiot’ and ‘I have some taste’. Just try to avoid one which requires a piece of fruit being stuck in the bottle, in which case, you might as well go for the full monty and ask for an umbrella and a cherry.
  • Cocktail: This one is tricky. A mixed drink is always a solid choice, but anything that you need to describe to the wait staff or which involves more than 4 ingredients yells ‘pretentious douche’. If its on the drinks menu, order away, but only if it doesn’t involve drinking out of a pineapple, fruit on cocktail sticks or anything pink. She’ll be looking for moobs before you even suck the mint from your teeth.
  • Red wine: Always acceptable, red wine is the new ‘beer’ for guys. If you don’t want to drink beer, drink red wine. It doesn’t matter what type, it says ‘I’m a grown up’ unless you’re holding the glass in your fist or drinking straight from the bottle. Never, I repeat, never order a bottle of red before your date arrives. A bottle yells ‘over-confident’  and if it sucks, you’re both stuck drinking vinegar for an hour. By which time she’s hates you, even if she thought she was going to sleep with you.
  • Scotch: ‘I love scotch, scotchy scotchy scotch’ . The only men who can order scotch with panache on a first date are a) Sean Connery b) Ron Burgundy or c) an alcoholic. I love scotch, but as a first date, first drink, it implies that you’re trying just a tad too hard.  If you want to project suavity, wear good shoes and stand up to greet her. It costs less and you won’t have a horrific hangover the next day.
  • Tequila shot: You’re a devil may care wild man who may or may not have a bike parked outside. You definitely have a tattoo (or seven) and you might be carrying a strain of drug resistant gonorrhea. You certainly aim to get drunk. A woman who approaches a man doing shots on a first date is probably going to keep on walking. By 7pm, he won’t remember what he was doing at the bar in the first place.

So there you have it. take a shower, leave the stained tees at home, and order something appropriate to drink. Your first 30 seconds are a go. The rest is up to you.

After the First Date: The Middle Bucket

After the First Date: The Middle Bucket

Sorry.. another post about dating. But hey, its on my mind (along with the rape culture, access to women’s healthcare and Hilary Clinton.. but that’s less fun to read about at 8am). So…. dating.

After my latest ‘first date/no call back’ scenario, I expressed frustration to some friends about why I continued to be surprised and frustrated by this behavior. After 20 odd years of male interation, I clearly know better and I’ve got enough going on to really not be waiting for the phone to ring.
I got a lot of shrugs and ‘that’s just guys’ but I felt I needed an expert opinion as to why this continues to bother me, so with some embarrassment, I consulted my trusty therapist. I mean we’ve covered a lot of heavy stuff over the last few years, I was sure she’d enjoy some frivolous discussion about dating at 41.

I can claim some leeway on my amateur dating status since I didn’t grow up with the US ‘dating culture’ (the UK has all kinds of different ways for people to get naked that don’t involve Starbucks or match.com).. but after 17 years in the US, apparently I’m now dating like the average US woman. This is to say, badly.

According to my wise one (therapy, the best $120 per hour you’ll ever spend), despite women’s empathy, understanding and willing to be flexible in all other areas of life, when it comes to dating we tend to be ruthless bitches. We have two ‘buckets’ for our dates. The ‘future relationship’ bucket and the ‘oh hell no’ bucket. And, prior to, during and after the date, we lady folk basically sort the guys into one of the two buckets. Seems logical right?

And it is – in a way. 

The process of dating is about getting to know someone and hopefully develop a long term relationship (unless you’re on plentyoffish.com in which case you’re probably looking for  two hookers and a spanking). So, as you ‘get to know’ someone you’re sorting through information that either resonates or scares the bejesus out of you. You’re sorting potential partners. Except the process of doing so makes the contents of  ‘serious potential’ bucket very important, even if you’ve just met. After all, if you’ve decided that you want to see him again… well suddenly we’re wondering if .. maybe… he could be…. well, you know…..

Which is why we ladies get crazy if a first date goes well.

Even if we don’t know his last name, we barely remember everything he said and our only true memory is how firm his ass looks, we threw him in the ‘yes’ bucket and suddenly he’s a candidate for being your future ‘live in’ spider killer. Which is, you’ve got to admit, a little loaded for the second date. (and men, if you think this isn’t true, I defy you to find a single women who doesn’t do this).

And if your date landed in the ‘oh hell no’ bucket (he chewed with his mouth open, wore man sandals or was a Republican), he’s essentially dead to you or at least blocked from your email. Which again, seems a little harsh. (ok, maybe not for Republicans).

What my therapist shared with me totally blew my socks off.. and to be honest, I think I’m going to trademark it. (NOTE: I am going to trade mark this, after I’ve dealt with my Klonapan addiction and figured out how to build a jet pack).

What she shared with me is the concept of the ‘middle bucket’ (yes, it needs a better name).

Instead of thinking ‘future candidate’ or ‘dumpster fodder’, there’s a third option. The ‘middle bucket’. And instead of mentally throwing your date into the dumpster or up on a pedestal, you actually put the majority of your dates into the middle bucket after the first, second or even 10th date. This is the bucket for men who you had fun with. And therefore, will enjoy having fun with- again –  at some time in the future. I know, radical isn’t it. The only people landing in the ‘hell no’ bucket should be those who demonstrated seriously bizarre, creepy or offensive characteristics (that would be Republicans). If not, and you had fun, then into the middle bucket he goes.
On the other side of the first date analysis, even if you could bounce a walnut off his ass and he owns a yacht, if you had fun, into the middle bucket. No-one moves into the ‘future boyfriend ‘ bucket until you know them. Like them. Have an understanding of who they are. Can remember their middle name.

Until then, they’re all middle bucket material. Which is essentially guys you had fun with, and guys who want to have fun with again.

(FYI – ‘have fun’ is not a shorthand way of saying ‘rode like a pony’. ‘Have fun’ means great conversation, laughter, activities. You know… fun)

*Phew* Doesn’t that take the weight off?

No more ‘why didn’t he call? Did my large shoulders intimidate him? What will our retirement plan be? Instead its all – who do I want to have fun with? And if someone calls – time to have fun. If not, there’s other people to have fun with.

(again, ‘have fun’ is not a euphemism.)

Eventually, you can decide if its not going to develop into something, or if it looks like you have enough in common to consider ‘dating’ you can redefine the parameters.. but until then.. its middle bucket all the way.

Best $120 I ever spent.

Apparently guys too only have two buckets – ‘fun chicks I would hang out with again’ and ‘dumpster fodder’. They don’t even have a ‘future girlfriend’ bucket. They only head to Home Depot for that one if you’re Megan Fox or they actually know you.

Me? I’m heading to Home Depot for a 24 gallon bucket. After all, I have time on my hands and a lot of fun to plan. Non of which involves waiting by the phone.

Top 5 Dating Mistakes Women Make

Top 5 Dating Mistakes Women Make

As someone who’s dated now for 7 years (yikes), and according to eHarmony, dated everyone within a 150 mile radius in Denver, so I think I’m qualified to write this post. As I prepped for my latest ‘set up’ this weekend, I had to give myself a check up from the neck up because these days, dates are few and far between. It just doesn’t get easier and my god, have I tried every approach in the book. So.. if you’ve got yourself a 7pm appointment with Starbucks I thought I’d share some of my scars and help you get your head straight. And for those happily smug married, just sit back and remember those days when these things actually mattered to you and thank your lucky stars its no longer something to worry about.

1. Over thinking it

Yes, the #1 issue for all women (can’t speak for guys). Lord, do we over think the whole thing. A first date, a blind date or a date via match/eHarmony etc, we practically open a file on the guy and if we were less inhibited and more flush, I’m sure most women would have his SAT scores and credit status before we ordered the first latte. Google is a bad thing before a first date. You don’t need to know his 10K running time, where he went to high school or his address. And you certainly don’t need to see how many friends he has on Facebook and where he used to work via LinkedIn.
That’s not safety, that’s stalking.
You don’t need to decide about whether you can handle his 5 yr old kid or whether you’d move or he’d move, whether you can take him traveling all week and only being home at the weekends, whether he sounds a little OCD or whether your dogs will get on. Its. A. First. Date.  Don’t think. Just focus on being a nice version of yourself and not drinking too much. Liquor or coffee. Both make you more nutso that you need to be. Which, at the first date, you probably are.

2. Its not just about you

You’re not the only one on the first date you know. He is too. Which means that as much as you’re assessing his teeth and shoes (the #1 and #2 things which women look at first), he’s checking out your eyes and boobs (ditto for men). So, as much as you have your list that you’re mentally checking off, he’s doing the same.. ok.. maybe his list is shorter and doesn’t involve a detailed inventory of his mannerisms, but assume that he’s also ‘on a first date’. Which means he’s nervous, he’s trying to get to know you and he’s also making judgements about you. While the way he says ‘tooth’ might annoy you, don’t mentally ditch him. He might be considering whether he can deal with your over-application of lip gloss. Give each other a chance. Don’t snap to judgements. And try to make him comfortable. Hopefully he’ll do the same. Otherwise you’re two people on an interview for a job that doesn’t exist.

3. Set boundaries

So you hit it off and you really think he’s a great guy. Maybe you’ve had two cocktails or four lattes and you’re so jittery you decide to move things along.  Do not, I repeat, do not head back to either of your abodes. I’m not a prude, I’m sharing my experience. Nothing good comes from ‘lets head back to my place’. The best case scenario is a one night stand, the worst case could involve ‘it rubs the lotion on its skin’. It never, I repeat, never leads to a long term relationship and overwhelming respect and devotion. It might lead to HPV and a really embarrassing morning. If you’re a loosey, juicy girl.. (yay us), save it for the second or third date. Even if they both happen the next day. Just don’t go from ‘so you have two sisters huh?’ to a blowjob. That’s not a trajectory anyone over the age of 22 really needs to take and its not going to lead you anywhere except back to another first date with a different guy.
Finish your first date by leaving him, fully clothed, in a public place. And yes, a hand job in a parking lot does cross that boundary. You’re an adult. Have boundaries along with a spine. 

4. Expect to meet someone new. Nothing more.

So you hit it off, or at least you think he’s worthy of further exploration. Whats next? Nothing
Sit on your hands. Don’t hit Google, ‘Friend’ him on Facebook or start texting him sweet nothings. Unless you are psychotic, these are not the behaviors of an adult female after a first date. If you feel like asking him out for a second date, great (love girls with balls), but wait a few days. If he wants to ask you out, he’ll be doing the same thing. If it went well it doesn’t mean that he’s mooning around town naming your firstborn or clearing a drawer for your underwear. Which means you shouldn’t either. You met someone new and you had a nice time. Success! End of story. Anything else is a bonus, not a right. Its not a deposition and even if he said ‘ lets do this again’, he didn’t get it notarized. It might not happen, so don’t expect anything. Go off and be fabulous somewhere else.  Like starting a blog. 

5. Game playing

This is my personal bug bear and seems to be a very American trait (or maybe I just noticed it later in life). Don’t try to ‘game’ the guy.  You can’t create desire and affection throughout manipulation.. or you can, but be prepared to play those games for the duration of the relationship. Which personally, seems frightfully tiring. Trying to make him jealous, making yourself unavailable for weeks at a time, casually mentioning the names of all your guy friends in every conversation or withholding sex for months… games. And I know there are entire books out there devoted to games, but honestly, don’t you want to be with someone who wants to be with you, being you? A guy who enjoys games is probably going to enjoy games all of his life, with you and all other women. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be alone that spending my life trying to stay one step ahead of a partner. Unless its backgammon. In which case, his ass is mine.

So, for all you daters out there.. avoid these basic 5 and you’re off to a good start. I can manage 4 of the 5, but I’m hoping that one day I hit a perfect score and the lucky recipient isn’t another organic farmer from Montana. One  of those was enough.

‘Stop Looking’ and other awesome advice I’ve received

As much as I hate to end the week on a downer…if you’re single and over the age of 35, you’ve heard lots of ‘advice’ from your friends on how to address your situation.

‘Stop looking’  along with ‘you just know’ comments, are probably the most trite pieces of advice a single person can receive.

Why?

Because the ‘stop looking’ comment is always delivered by someone who’s a) been in a relationship for at least 10 years or b) someone who’s just started a new relationship. You never, ever, hear these words coming from someone who’s single or divorced. Those who offer this advice inevitably look back on their single life and the rose colored glasses come down. In hindsight it seems so simple. (but in hindsight, so did my college degree and I know that shit was hard).

‘You need to stop trying’

As someone who dated extensively post divorce, yes, I have gone through periods of actively dating a lot. Effort was involved and scars accumulated.

So I stopped trying.

I’ve been on a dating ‘break’ since October and the result? I can’t say that ‘love’ or even a date has landed on my doorstop (unless it visited when I was in the shower). The closest I got was a delivery from SmittenKitten. ‘Not trying’ has made not a blind bit of difference to my ‘finding love’ except I’m saving $39.99 a month on Match.com subscriptions and I don’t have to shave my legs every week.

‘You’re trying too hard’

This pearl of wisdom I receive whenever I mention that I miss men. But with 0 dates this year and no sex in the last 6 months, I think if I tried less, I’d basically have to be in a coma.

According to my friend I’m doing it wrong. Not only should I stop looking, but I need to stop thinking about the fact that I’m not looking. Apparently I need to reach some kind of meditative
‘zen’ where I’m not thinking about not thinking about men. How this is meant to lead to finding a guy to hang out with is beyond me? Well the Dali Lama is single I guess…
 
 ‘You need to get out more’.

I work at home, but when I’m not working, I walk my dog, run errands, ride by bikes, run, do yoga, visit bookstores and museums, bars and restaurants. I go to movies, I sit and drink coffee on park benches. I spend time with friends. I am part of a community garden and I try new hobbies every year including totally dude focused ones like shooting and riding a motorcycle. I don’t think I was this busy at 26. Unless I’m going to pitch a tent outside my apartment building, I don’t think I can be less ‘in’.

So this year I’m not accepting any more dating advice from people who are married or in long term relationships.You guys can advise me on my taxes, life insurance and where to buy curtains but not how to find love.

Learning to flirt

I always thought of myself as a good flirt. I had no shortage of guy friends growing up and I made them laugh. Some even kissed me in-between chuckles. Wasn’t that flirting?

Apparently no.

I didn’t learn that I was a horrible flirt (as in ‘bad’, ‘not good’ and ‘are you trying to actively scare men away?’) until I was back in the dating pool at age 35. I assumed that since I’d had several long term boyfriends (and an ex husband), that I must be doing something right. It wasn’t until I casually talked about flirting with a friend that I learned that I’d been doing it all wrong.  She laughed;

‘oh no, you’re horrible at flirting’

‘you mean I over do it?’

‘No…Its like you are trying to convince men that you’re mentally retarded..’

‘…or you’re trying to physically hurt them’

Really??? I always thought I was quite flirtatious’

(…raucous laughter)

Apparently flirting is not;
– Fake punching a guy in the chin and accidentally breaking his jaw
– Poking him in the genitals
– Matching him drink for drink then puking all over his car
– Twirling him on the dance floor so hard that he spins into the DJ booth and cracks his head open
– Leaning in for the long shot on the pool table and seductively sliding your cue through the green stuff
– Avoiding his eyes because you’re so nervous you want to laugh hysterically and then pee your pants
– Jokily insulting his wardrobe, grammar, hair, car, career, sexual prowess or penis in a crowded bar
– Arm wrestling him and actively trying to win
– Telling him that he looked so good, he made me ‘slide off my seat’
– Sucking your finger and then starting to bite a hangnail

Yes. I know. I’m dying inside too.

I thought it was cute in the moment. I now know I seemed psychotic.

To be honest, after I learned what flirting actually is, I was amazed I’d even been kissed at all. Thankfully I have nice boobs.

Luckily I now have friends who have helped explain that physical feats of strength and verbal abuse don’t count in the ‘attracting a mate’ game. More hair twirling and lip licking, less humiliation. Cute smiles at strangers, and whispered ‘hi’s, maybe some casual physical contact and definitely no punching.

I was game. I decided to take my new knowledge out for a spin.

Here’s the thing. Like dancing, learning a new skill takes time and you tend to be a bit ‘jerky’ at first. It doesn’t feel or look natural, and as pragmatic ‘can do’ woman, I sort of missed the casual nature of the thing.

The result? My hair twirling looked like I was infected with lice or was suffering with trichotillomania. When I  smiled broadly at guys standing in line at Whole Foods, I felt like The Joker and from the looks on the guys faces, I suspect they were inwardly chanting ‘stranger danger’. My hair flips resulted in me having to peel a chunk stuck in my lip gloss, and don’t get me started on the lip licking… I think even my dog thought I was about to eat him with a nice bottle of Chianti. When I wanted to casually touch my latest crush, I wound up grabbing his watch and complementing him on the time. Yes. I complemented him on the time.

I guess I have some work to do. So if you happen to see a woman with a chunk of hair stuck in her lip gloss and a fixed grin on her face, please be nice to her. Just duck if you see a fist coming and know that she really really likes you.

The wisdom of Dan Savage

Just in time for Valentines day…
For those who’ve been trapped under a cultural rock for the last 14 years, Dan Savage is the arbiter of all that is sensible and matter of fact in matters of sex, love and relationships. A columnist with Seattle’s ‘The Stranger’ newspaper (and syndicated all over the US), Dan also hosts a weekly podcast (‘Savage Lovecast’) that has been infecting my ears now for hundreds of episodes and has taught me a lot about things I needed to know, stuff I wasn’t sure actually happened and proclivities I never needed to learn about (‘sounding’ anyone?). I’ve listened to Dan through my 30s and now my 40s, and I wish that his advice was mandatory listening for everyone over the age of 21. It certainly would have saved me a lot of time, heartbreak and trips to the doctor. And I might have been able to make a better run at some of my paramours. Here’s some of what you’ve been missing.

Good, Giving and Game (GGG):  Dan believes that anyone hitting the sheets who wants a repeat purchase, is responsible for being ‘GGG’. That is Good – or skilled – at what you’re doing; Giving – doing things which might be not be your favorite in order please your partner (and vice versa); and Game – up for trying new things within reason (and no, wearing a diaper isn’t reasonable for most people).  Based on some of my experiences I’ve encountered more than a few guys who weren’t even a single ‘G’ (lots of Game.. not much else). And based on feedback I’ve had to work on at least one of these via step by step instructions (he was a HR guy who begrudgingly gave me a B+ and a diagram for future use).  If you’ve got complaints in the bedroom, first consider whether you’re ‘GGG’ yourself.  And no, twice a year with the lights off probably doesn’t qualify.

DTMFA: Otherwise known as ‘Dump The MotherF-r Already’. On occasion if you’re partner isn’t ‘GGG, you might need to DTMFA.The applications are too many to list, but generally revolve around selfishness, passive aggressive behavior and wanting to sleep with your mother and sister. I tend to think that if you’re more sad than happy when this person is around, it’s probably a case of DTMFA. Clearly I’m an old hand at DTMFA – I practically have it tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

The Campsite Rule: ‘Leave it better than you found it’ also applied to people. Which means we’ve all got a duty not be screw up our partners through lying, cheating, stretching out their good underwear or having them find you experimenting naked with a hanger and the Cusinart. Especially applied to the young, inexperienced or the ‘not f-d up yet’, don’t be the man or woman, who ruins it for the next guy (or girl).  Its a lofty goal. I’m sure I’ve left at least one guy with some permanent flinches though I hear he’s doing much better these days and he can actually wear a swim cap.

F-k First: My last and favorite, especially in light of tomorrow’s “holiday” (can you feel the scathing tone?). As many of you are heading out with plans for a large fois gras/ wine/ steak laden dinner, little thought is given to how you’ll feel by the time you get home and hit the hay for some loving. Not many people want to roll around when they’ve consumed an app, entree and their partners dessert, all washed down a bottle of Cab. By then most of us are cradling our food babies and hoping that he’s too tired to make the moves. According to Dan you’ve got it all wrong. F-k first – when you’re slightly hungry, sober(ish) and awake (and well before the food baby is conceived).. that way you can slide into the restaurant with a smug expression, worry free and ready to over-indulge to your hearts content.

And for those of you who want to hear more of Dan’s wisdom, have a question about your transgendered coworker or want to know how to handle that request to wear a diaper… check out the podcast. Your partner will be glad you did.