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.

Only Commonwealth countries and Detroiters may now apply

flagLast night my dating pool hit a new low.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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…

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You know you’ve been dating too much when….

mystery manI honestly don’t date that much. What I do is have a LOT of cups of coffee with men who I don’t know except from that blurry photo of them atop Mount Evans.

And then I go home and block a lot of profiles.

My selection criteria is terrible I know. Sure I like guys with big noses and dark hair, who ride bikes and can talk the hind legs off a donkey… but when picking a date, I get seduced by good writing. I tend to judge the person by their coherence, their words, the written tone of their voice.. instead of the actual data points. So what if he’s 5 ft 6 and blond, doesn’t own a bike and lives 65 miles away? He’s sooooo funny. Which typically results in my going on dates with completely unsuitable guys, who write like a dream but who I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.

My typical date goes as follows (internal monologue);

‘Please don’t let it be him”

“or him”

“Oooo please let it be…. oh I guess not..he’s meeting her…”

“Not him…nooooo.”

“Oh it IS him…You’re looking at me..? so I guess you’re definitely him… shiiiiiiiit”

He sits down and disappointing conversation commences. During which time I suck down a drink and realize that one of his coworker/girl friends/sisters wrote his profile and that this guy is no more representative of his writing than my body ‘really looks like this’ while wearing Spanx.

Which means that I end up on a lot of first dates. And those tend to add up over time. Lately I’m questioning my filtering practices as a) I’m fed up of going on dates with people I wouldn’t trust to install my cable and b) I’d like to have sex before the end of the year.. but most of all c) I think I’ve been on too many… so many that they’re all starting to blur together.

Case in point – yesterday.

I have been chatting online with a guy who seems, well, ok. We’re at the ‘better meet each other or another month of our lives slips by’ time so I pass along my number. I wait for his call. His profile isn’t that awesome , so I’m hoping he is in person (I’m trying reverse psychology on this one!)

I hear nothing for 2 days.

Then, as I’m working, I receive a text message ‘hi it’s me’. I’m excited and have time, so we arrange to meet up for lunchtime coffee and a quick chat. You know, get the preliminaries out-of-the-way. He’s 43, in consulting and divorced, and seems quite witty… which is why I was slightly confused when this older hippyish dude approached my table in the coffee shop.

“There is no way this guy is 43” I think to myself, but being gracious and wanting any excuse to leave my desk for an hour, I decide to push on ahead. Maybe he’s just weathered??

He’s articulate and clearly successful. He talks about mountain biking and his house in Breck.. which is only slightly confusing because he said he lived in Denver. Ah well.. maybe he has two houses or he recently moved. He talks about ‘TM’ (meditation), which is interesting.. but again, not something I remembered about his profile. I tend to stay away from the overly earnest so I’m a bit confused as to why I thought this guy might be worth a date. But we talked.. fairly easily… and at no point did he mention fixing printers, flipping burgers or recite his resume. Hey, compared to my other dates this year, he’s O.K.  Then he mentions that he rarely drinks.. which seems strange as I do remember one of his photos was taken at a wine vineyard, holding a  glass of red wine.  Weird.

Which is when my phone rang….a call from the dude who I thought I was on a date with. The guy who I was ‘supposedly’ sitting across the table from was calling me on my phone… clearly not from across the table.

Whaaaaa?

SO WHO THE FUCK IS THIS GUY?

Yes, I’m on a date with a nameless guy, who has my name and phone number, but I have no idea of his name or who he is. All I know is, he’s clearly not the guy I thought I was on a date with (all those profiles merge after a while), and while he’s interesting, I am FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. Who did I give my phone number to? What is this guy’s name? Who IS he? He clearly knows who I am – he said my name when he came over to my table… but I have no clue who he is whatsoever.

I used the call as any excuse to politely exit  before my Twilight zone got any weirder so he walked me to my car and then asked if he could see me again.

At which point I should have come clean, or at least said something, put him off or said something vague… but instead I found myself saying ‘sure.. give me a call’. After all.. it wasn’t terrible. I can only hope that next time he calls, he leaves his name so I can figure out who the hell he is and how the hell he knows me.

Meanwhile I’ve got a date with a guy tonight who may, or may not, be 43, divorced and works in consulting. Fingers crossed on who shows up. Knowing my luck it will be my gastroenterologist.

 

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.

 

Dating ‘dad’

dadAs every single woman over the age of 30 knows, at some point you’re going to be faced with potentially dating a ‘dad’.

NOTE: ‘A’ dad, not ‘Your dad’. If you’re dating your dad, you have bigger issues and excuse me, I need to go throw up now.

In your 20s’ everyone you date is single and childless (unless you live in Mississippi or Kentucky). In your 30s, there are a few divorcees scattered around but few if any have kids.  These days, in my 40s’, every other guy has kids.. and wow its definitely a different experience.

You see, if you’ve never had kids, you’ve never had all those unique experiences that parents have had. You’ve never spent a sleepless night walking a screaming baby around the house, you’ve never changed a diaper and you sure as hell don’t prioritize anyone over yourself (except maybe your dog). Which means dating a dad, when you’ve never been a mom.. well… it taking a bit of getting used to.

Because dad’s are all about loving their kids. Putting them first (or a very close second), having a life that revolves around their needs. Dad’s don’t expect to have all of their time to themselves, to get to choose how they spend all their free time, and they certainly don’t own their finances any more (have you seen how much college costs these days?).  And while I think parenting is awesome (and god bless you patient weirdos), I can’t relate in any way to your experience. Which sort of makes first dates with a dad, well..a bit strained.

But dad’s make up 90% of the dating population over 40, so unless you’re really really adamant, you’re going to end up dating a dad one day. Here’s some dad’s to watch out for;

1. ‘My kids are my life’ Dad

Oh we’ve all read this guy’s profile. Usually the first or second line in his profile, having kids was the best thing he ever did.. like ever. And no matter if they’re 2 or 22, they’re still the best thing in his life… in fact, they probably are his life. I’ve dated a few of these guys and every single one, while warm, communicative and caring, also had no life outside of his kids. Hobbies? No time for that. Friends? Does the parents of my kids friends count? Interests? What my kids are up to… oh and Xbox.. which I play with my kids.

This guy is awesome, selfless and devoted. To his kids. Which doesn’t leave much room for you. So unless you want to absorb yourself into his kid centric, kid saturated world.. you might want to pass.

2. Absent Dad

This dad has kids, but you’d never know. He never mentions them, he’s eager to assure you that he barely sees them and he’s got a very full life of which they have no part. On the face of it a better option that Dad #1, but what kind of asshole isn’t involved in their kids lives at all? You know that dating him is going to be no different than dating someone without kids, but selfless, caring, responsible? Not this guy. Kids were something he had, and other people now raise and care about. He sends the checks (or doesn’t) so he figures his parenting is taking care of.  Yikes. Run, run far away from this Dad. Or be prepared for footing some serious therapy bills for his kids down the line.

3. Bitter Dad

This guy has kids and boy, you’re going to hear all about it. How much money he has to pay in alimony, how his ex wife is ruining his life, how he takes more responsibility for them and how she’s undermining him in their relationship. Bitter dad might love his kids but that’s not foremost on his mind. She is. He’s still nursing wounds from his divorce, realizing how much work it is to look after them during ‘his time’ and boy, is he pissed about it. During a date with one bitter dad I felt like calling his ex wife and offering her my support. How she’d stayed married to that jackass for 7 years, I don’t know. This guy, kids or not, needs some time and a lot of therapy. And unless you’re a saint (or therapist in training), you might want to skip him.

4.Sex mad dad

They stayed together to try and make it work- because of the kids. His ex deprived him of marital relations for the last 1, 2 or 5 years of their marriage and now, well now he’d making up for lost time. He can’t believe that chicks who wouldn’t have touched him in his 20s, are now waiting for his call.  So he calls. And he dates. Everyone.  Plus with 5-10 years experience with the ex, he’s got some skills this time around so he’s in demand. He can’t believe his luck. And neither will you. That is, until someone younger, cuter and less demanding than you comes along.

5. ‘Looking for Mom 2.0’ Dad

This guy seems to have it figured out. He loves his kids (but they don’t run his life). He’s attentive and involved, and he and his ex have a great relationship. He cooks, he takes care of things.. in fact, he’s perfect. So what if he asks you to pick up little Stacey from her ballet class, or wonders if you’d mind coming with him to watch Tyler play soccer? You don’t mind.. after all, he has kids. But when you find yourself helping out with homework while he watches Homeland, or you’re running the kids to the dentist, ask yourself if you’re ready to be a Mom. Because it sure looks like you’re one in training.  Dating is about you and him, and eventually the kids. But you’re not dating them and unless there’s a ring involved, you’re not duty bound to be Mom 2.0. They have people for that – they’re called nannies and they get paid.

6. Judgmental Dad

This guy is fine with your decision not to have kids. Fine. I mean, a life lived purely for the pursuit of the self is ok for some. Just not him. He prefers to live responsibly, you know.. like all ‘normal’ people do. Its what everyone does… right? And if you prefer to hang out in bars, spend all your money and time on making yourself feel good, that’s your decision. It wouldn’t be his.. but you know, but everyone’s different. Judgmental Dad doesn’t ‘get’ women who aren’t Moms and clearly they should stay away from us. Us being so ‘abnormal’ and all. But like moths to a flame they can’t help themselves. After all, its a lot less complicated when there is only one set of kids involved in the dating process. Its only when they’re confronted by our selfish, hedonistic existence in the flesh that they find themselves compelled to judge. They can’t help it. I don’t know if these guys resent us, think we’re not really women or envy us, but damn, they sure don’t like us.  My last judgmental dad date assured me that while I was ‘doomed to die alone’, he was, at least ‘going to die surrounded by love’. Well Sir, here’s hoping you don’t piss off the kids over the next 40 years because I don’t think having kids guarantees you any kind of ending.

And finally, we have ‘Unicorn Dad’.

Unicorn dad (an urban myth I’m sure) is the guy who loves and supports his kids, respects his ex, lives a life outside of parenting and doesn’t expect anything from you as far as raising his kids go.  He’s not bitter and he doesn’t care whether you’ve had kids or the reasons why. I’ve heard such men exist.. but if attractive, are rarely single. So if you find one, let me know.. or at least take a picture.

Meanwhile I’ll be out dating the selfish lush with the vasectomy.

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.

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.

Not jumping to conclusions

Not jumping to conclusions

I know that my judgement has been less than stellar in the past but I really thought I was dialed in these days. I’ve learned to listen to my gut, not to twist someone’s words into something that I find attractive (or mentally block out the big warning signs) and the days of trying to be something I’m not (aka peppy and easygoing, deep and thoughtful or ‘alt’ and ohso edgy).. well thankfully those days are long behind me.

(In case you’re wondering – I’m royal blue. Loyal, steady, over energized in the summer and really attached to my 9 ft sofa).

But all that learning, introspection, confidence building and judgement honing apparently hasn’t quite been dialed in yet. I’m jumping to all kinds of conclusions lately – who to trust, who seems ‘normal’ and yes, even where there is potential for friendship or even more.  I’m 0 for 4 right now – which is actually worse than it used to be.

My typical dating pattern went like this.

  • Email exchanges for weeks during which time the guy had become this conversational genius, his wit finely honed and my expectations at 100,000ft. 
  • A first date which went one of two ways; a) you look nothing like your photos and actually I think you might be an AARP member or b) you are fine. And now I need to do is verify that you can actually verbally string a sentence together and then we’re off …
  • Waking up the next morning convinced that I’d found ‘the one’ and spending the rest of the weekend mooning around, mentally conjuring up things we were going to do, remembering things he’d said and reinforcing that fantasy that was ‘him’.
  • Wondering why he hadn’t called and repeatedly checking my voicemail, text messages etc to make sure that I hadn’t missed his call. 
  • Waiting…
  • Waiting…
  • Saying ‘fuck it’ and remembering all the ‘signs’ that I probably should have paid heed to that indicated a) he wasn’t interested b) the date wasn’t that awesome and c) the stuff which actually really annoyed me.

I blame alcohol, a heated desire to not to have to date and an over accommodating lack of self confidence.

Fast forward 5 years… 

I thought all that therapy and annual run of first dates (like salmon, its typically a mad month in May) were paying off and finally, finally I was going to be able to have a better understanding of the opposite sex, know how to say ‘no’ with more confidence, and not prostrate myself at the feet of every man with a cute smile and a Moscow Mule. I would sign up for an online site, read profiles, chat with a few, talk on the phone with even less and make the first date, fairly confident in at least a fun evening. No expectations.

The reality. Well it seems to be still out of whack. To date – 1 month into Match.com – I’ve been 100% wrong about every guy I’ve met. Literally 100% wrong.  The guy who nodded and smiled, asked me questions about myself and seemed really nice… by second date, clearly a nutter. The dude whose eyes twinkled at me and we bonded over a love of Wilco.. thought I was all kinds of strange. The British guy who I thought ‘ definite friend in the making’ .. apparently fell off the planet. And now the guy who I wrote off as ‘holy-shit-my-ex-incarnate-run-run-away’ … second meeting (it was definitively articulated as not a date).. kind of, sort of, really nice. Someone I actually could spend time with (and did), and so now I’m really questioning my judgement. He is really cute (I guess our first date was super dark, I couldn’t really see), and he was just easy to hang out with. I had a lot of fun. Which I think is what its meant to be about? Problem is I already told him its not in the cards. Drat.

Maybe I need to stop with the therapy. Employe a pre-screener. Or stop jumping to conclusions so damn fast. What I thought was increased ability to say ‘no thanks’ is actually intolerance and I’ve gone too far to the right in the ‘see something that isn’t to my liking …walk away’.  (and my favorite, ‘see something you like.. want it with a passion known only to the insane’)
Or maybe I just need to lower my expectations of what a date is.. nothing more than a sit down chance meeting. On which you can base really.. nothing. You don’t know someone after 2 hours and reading into every sentence, every conversational thread, even the throwaway comments… well jumping to the worst conclusion, its just as bad as assuming the best.

I certainly wouldn’t have predicted such as fun time with someone who I thought ‘not a hells chance’ and even if I just found a new friend, hey, its better than ploughing through first dates thinking I’m never going to meet anyone who I even like who likes me back.

So today I’m going to lobby that they change the name from match.com to meetpeople.com. It might help ease the expectations around that first date and really, that’s all it is.
I just wish I’d realized this sooner, I could have saved a LOT of money on therapy.

After The First Date: Now What?

 Like you need me to tell you?
Well, since you’re probably sitting around just waiting, trying to not think about it with a slow gnawing in your stomach.. you probably have nothing else to do.

Typically most days after a first date I like to take a few borax showers armed with a good plug of wire wool and some hallucinogenics. But that’s just me. Lets say you had a good first date and while it all seemed to go well, you’re not quite sure what happens next. You had good chemistry, there weren’t any awkward silences and he didn’t have to be carried out of the bar. You may have even had a platonic, pursed mouth kiss or an ‘Aunt Mildred’ distance hug and waved each other goodbye. But will you hear from him again?

Well, I hate to break it to you ladies, but if there wasn’t an ‘asking’ for a second date on the first date.. you’re probably not seeing that guy again, until he reappears on Match.com or gets arrested for hiring hookers on Federal. And no ‘we should totally do this again’ as he scoots off at high speed doesn’t count. I’ve used this myself and its the guilt free kiss off. Yes we might do something again…if hell freezes over or I’m really drunk on a Friday night.

Sure, some guys still live in 1985 and wait the proverbial day or 3 to call, but this warning sign indicates one of two things a) he’s a player, and old school at that or b) he’s not really that keen, but his other dates this weekend didn’t work out any better. After the age of 40, waiting a day or 3 to contact someone after a first date is tantamount to pulling that year old pint of vanilla out of your freezer. You don’t actually want to eat it but, well, you can’t be bothered to go to the store and you’re hungry. (yes, you’re the vanilla with freezer burn). No one wants to throw away the ice cream, because, being honest, after 40, ice cream, even covered with ice crystals and tasting slightly of chicken.. well its still ice cream.

But if your optimism can’t be dampened (and you’re female), you’ve probably convinced yourself that because no-one drooled, farted, mentioned a felony and there was laughter, he’s definitely going to call and you just need to sweat it out. If you’re coming off a dry spell or you’re less than confident in your total desirability, instead of spending the next few hours or days thinking about whether he was a good fit for you, you’re spending your time hoping that he thought you were a good fit. Which I’ve found leads to me dating a lot of psychotic men with alcohol problems.

There’s a reason that girls waiting for phones to ring still features in the movies today. Because its a reality. No matter that he could text, he could poke you on Facebook or send you an email, the 40ish dater knows that he’ll call. So you busy yourself with laundry, and brunch and cocktails and even drag yourself to a cold First Friday art show, all while constantly checking your phone to see if there’s anything happening. Not that you’d pick up… c’mon, we grew up on answerphones. We’re not that stupid. When guys have called me after a first date I’ve learned that its usually the ones you don’t want to call, who will call like clockwork. And who needs to deal with dodging the awkward ‘second date request’? I am sure there are women out there who can bold faced tell a dude ‘sorry, but talking to you made me want to poke my eyeballs out with a fork’ but its not me. I try and communicate telepathically through disinterest, yawning and cocktail dates that last for 1/2 a cocktail (its worth the sacrifice).. but if they don’t get it… well I’ll deal with it via my answerphone. The one time I did confront the yawning gap in chemistry and the sense that I was dating my dad, I ended up in an email back and forth that lasted 2 months. He took my honesty as the opportunity for some free therapy and to learn ‘what exactly about me don’t you like and why?’

That happened.

So, if he didn’t ask you for another date while on the date, you’ve not heard from him and its ooo 4 days later. Now what?

Two words.

Move on.

or three words…

Start a blog.

Yep, I’m still waiting for Joe to call me back after an awesome 2 hour coffee date in Boulder and its been 5 years but I know he’s been busy. It’ll happen.

Online Dating Sites: A review

Online Dating Sites: A Review

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than 1 second you’ll understand that I’m no stranger to the ‘online dating’ scene. I actually can lay an embarrassing claim as an ‘early adopter’ when I joined Yahoo Personals back in 1999.  Yes..stop counting.. I’ve been looking for a date for 14 years.

(Pause for acute introspective moment and to call therapist for urgent appointment)

So if you’re thinking about online dating or you’ve heard about a new online site that might, just might hold the key to finding the perfect person for your unique and special needs.. kick back and fix yourself a drink. I’ve done all the hard work for you. And I have the stories to prove it.

I’ll start in chronological order, but since Yahoo personals no longer exists.. drum roll…

Match.com.

I’ve joined Match more times than I can count. Largely due to my naive hope that I wouldn’t need more than 1 month to find a suitable date, I only ever sign up for a month.. which ridiculously means I’ve quit and restarted enough times to have qualified for lifetime free membership. Which I actually turned down because it would be admitting to this sickness and sense of hope that I can’t seem to shake.  Based on zero fact, I believed that match.com contained my future partner and well, based on volume, it probably does. I just can’t find him.
Match.com is known by many guys as a place to find hook ups and by women as the place with the most guys. Unless you’re ‘paper bag’ material, you can guarantee that you’ll have a date by Tuesday. Who with and the state of his mental health is up to you. On the pro side, there are hundred and hundreds of guys, and even as I’ve aged, I can still find a few cute ones who don’t turn my stomach or make me want to clean my Beretta. I have 3 girlfriends who have met their husbands on Match which is why I keep signing up… (all of them are sane, good looking, employed professionals).
On the con side, its a second job to root through all of the potentials and few guys tend to actually read your profile as a result. Despite my clear request for ‘athletic people only’ about 50-75% of my respondents haven’t worn a pair of sneakers since high school and an alarming amount weigh more than my car. I have dated a few, but the amount of fresh divorcees (with little imagination) means that baggage count for those over 40 is high.  You also find that many of the guys – even those into their 50s – still express a ‘maybe’ or ‘definitely’ on the kids front which is ambitious to say the least. I’ve since learned that its a ‘tactic’ to not eliminate those chicks who actually want kids… (though I’m sure that leads to some interesting conversations right around month 3).
Conclusion: If you want a fun night out with a stranger over drinks, and an inevitable story to share with friends go right ahead. If you’re seriously looking to meet someone to date long term.. skip it.

eHarmony.com

After a futile period on Match, I was advised by girlfriends in other cities to try eHarmony. ‘Much better quality of guys’ ‘no losers’  and ‘these guys are actually looking for someone’. Hmmm sounds better. I signed up for my typical 1 month period and with light heart, figured this one would work.
Now whether its the Denver demographic or my friends tastes I’m not sure, but eHarmony in my city seems populated by middle aged short guys with 3 kids and a need for a free live in nanny/ mother.
And to get to that point.. lord. Talk about an investment of time. You’re not allowed to actually email people until you’ve ‘asked’ them a series of inane questions about which way they vacuum or which season they like best (who the f-k cares?) so it can be actually weeks before you have a chance to engage in any actual conversation with this person. To me, this feels too much like dating an inmate who you found on craigslist. A big investment of time and energy in order to … maybe… email? I think it might take a few months to get to an actual date so I’ve never  actually had a date as a result of an eHarmony connection. I can’t be bothered to care whether ‘Kevin’ prefers the ocean over the mountains and how this feeds into our compatibility I have no clue. For me its tended to involve smart alec comments and performance in the sheets. By eHarmony standards I might get to that by next Christmas. Not only is the process long but on several occasions I’ve logged on only to be told ‘There is no-one in your region who meets your requirements’. No kidding.  Nothing like a sign to move.
Conclusion: Maybe its just my region, but my experience was long, boring and tedious. And I tend to save that for the actual relationship.

JDate.com

Ok, ok.. I know I’m not Jewish. but I love love love a Jewish man. I think its my preference for a large nose and poor eyesight, or maybe I never recovered from my youthful Woody Allen fetish.  Either way I logged on and my eyes popped. I gladly forked over my $45.99 for a month of unrestricted access to my potential Meshugener.
I joined JDate fresh off a relationship with a Jewish Adonis thinking ‘must be more where that came from’. Sadly I learned pretty fast that not everyone is looking for a shiske goddess (or they would be on Match.com) and that my lack of tribal affiliation was a bit of a hindrance for this goy. I also realized that with a man of Jewish faith comes a mother of fierce conviction that you’re not good enough for her son and assumes complete control over his life. Frankly I spent 39 years escaping my own mother.. I don’t need another one. 
Conclusion: If you are actually Jewish, its probably the #1 destination. If you’re not, even if you’re converting, be prepared to run into some serious mother issues and men who, surprise surprise, want to date a Jewish woman. 

PlentyofFish.com

By now I was getting desperate (I think Christmas was looming) and after a 6 month dry spell and waning funds, I figured what the hell. The site was free, it had the word ‘ plenty’ in it and it wasn’t going to run me the usual $39.99. Did I mention it was free? Despite an alarming prevalence of photos of shirtless guys taken in their bathroom mirrors, I posted a profile and figured at least I’d get a date or two out of it. Alarming is the only word I can use to describe the responses I received, and I think that I’d have done better wearing a sandwich board sign around my neck in downtown Denver as regards to quality. Call me snobbish but I can’t go on a date with a guy who emails without any punctuation or capitalization. Sure, he might be a genius and have no time for such things as grammar, but I require at least one comma per email. Having said that, I did get a lot of responses, and actually quite a few dates. Hummm. The dates. I’ll spare the details for today, (a whole other story), but at least 2 involved discussions of porn on the first date, and one shared his fathers preferences in the bedroom (not something I thought was part of the deal). I didn’t meet anything I’d consider ‘normal’ (or sane), though one did drive a brand new Porsche 911. Didn’t make him any saner though.
Conclusion: Be scared. Be very scared unless your profile also features a topless shot of you taken in the bathroom mirror, in which case, rock on. These are your guys.

OkCupid.com

I know, by now I should have realized that the trend wasn’t getting any better. But I’d heard from some coworkers at work who were ‘amazed’ that I was single, that OkCupid was the place to meet people. And yes it is.. if you’re 25. I’ve never felt so pervy as I did that evening as I scrolled through my responses. Yikes! I’m only 41, not 61 but every single guy referenced my age.. even those who were similarly aged themselves. The site is great because its not so marriage minded as the eHarmony or even Match sites and it clearly references hooking up, casual relationships and long term as options. On the down side, be careful what you wish for. I usually don’t like to state that I’m interested in having a boyfriend rather than a hook up (scares the weak ones away) but after multiple IMs asking me to ‘connect’ and porny emails… well… my definition of ‘casual’ is definitely different from OKCupids.
Conclusion: Apparently Cupid is ok with you if you’re 25-30 but leave well alone if you’re in any way sensitive. It caused me to get on the scale for the first time in 10 years and made me realize that I’m too old for ‘hooking up’.

Craigslist.org

Don’t judge. This was a few years back and yes, I should have known better that a site where I can sell my old gardening equipment isn’t a good source for romance. But.. it was free and I was going through a particularly intense Missed Connections phase. After perusing the ‘aisles’ for a while, I decided to post and see what landed. 3 hours and 75 emails later I realized that people don’t actually use Craigslist for dating and I’m inadvertently stumbled on a lot of pent up demand. I had emails from all manner of people, many of whom just wanted to chat. It was tragic. Needless to say I didn’t date any of my respondents, but I did start responding to others ads. The results I have to say were actually quite fun. I joined a guy at the Opera, a budding politician at a fundraiser and more than one angsty cyclist who refused to join the mainstream sites. Weirdly it didn’t freak me out more than PlentyofFish did and the people I met were universally cool.
Conclusion: If you’re up for anything and know how to date safely, give it a look. You probably won’t find a partner but you might end up  doing something completely random with an interesting stranger.

So there you have it.. my summary of the major sites I’ve tried. My advice – if you want to get out of the house – do it. If you want to find a partner or husband.. good luck. Let me know how it goes.

Finding a date: Fresh to Market

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

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

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

Three words – Fresh to Market

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

Fresh to Market is everything at 40-ish.

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

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

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

So, how do you find one of these unicorns?

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

What those dating profiles actually mean


In moments of boredom, solitude and basically when I need to tune out, I peruse the ‘man ads’. Not the ‘here’s Mr. Winkie, you wanna piece?’ ads, but the ‘looking for a date/ I’m witty and yet still strangely single’ type ads. After oooooo 5 years of this (it comes in waves, its not my second job or anything), I’ve discerned some general guidelines for sorting. Ignore at your peril.

” I have 2 wonderful children who are my life”
As of the mid 30s, this is a staple opener for the divorced guy. Take this to mean he’s a stay at home welfare dad, he’s boring and has little use for anything other than Sprout Tv and Tater Tots, or that he’s not actually looking for a women, but a ‘woman hole’ for Mr. Winkie. This guy hasn’t dated in a loooong time and is using his kids an excuse for having no friends and no social life.
Advice to Guys: Stating that you have no time for anything other than your kids in an ad for an actual, live woman pretty much cements your priorities out of the gate. We get it – they’re wonderful, they’re amazing and unique, but so are we. Next.

“Looking for that one special lady”
Now I know I”m no longer able to wear a mini skirt and I think Justin Beiber looks like a lesbian, but no one under the age of 80 likes to be referred to as a ‘lay-dee‘. Anyone who self identifies as a ‘lay-dee‘ is typically a early 40s transsexual who wants to host tea parties while listening to Chris De Burg or an upper class wannabe with Parade magazine china on the dining room wall. If I’m a lay-deethat makes this guy a mother obsessed wuss. What he actually wants is a ‘nice girl’ who doesn’t ever say the wrong thing, swear or god forbid, have sexual demands.
Advice to Guys: We are are ‘women’ ‘chicks’ ‘girls’ ‘dates’ or even ‘dude’. We may sometimes be ‘bitches’ but wait for the blue hair and estrogen cream before you call us ‘lay-dees‘. My vagina still works thank you.

No one can believe I’m single” 

We can. You’re on a dating site.
Advice to Guys: You’re on a dating site. We’re all mostly single. Many of us are surprised about this. Sharing your confusion as to this fact only reinforces your oblivion towards the real world.

“I’m just looking for that one right person”
I’m totally thrilled that you don’t subscribe the to polygamous lifestyle but I have to break it to you. There is no ‘one’ right person. There are many right people. The fact that you haven’t met any at your age indicates you might need to leave the house occasionally.
Advice for Guys: Don’t be so damn picky. 35 yr old blond, millionaire, large busted virgins are impossible to find outside of SecondLife or Russianbrideforsale.com.

“Looking for someone real”
This is my personal favorite as a online headline. You’re online. No one can see you. No one knows who you are. I could be a man. Or 12. Or living in Nigeria. My picture could be taken from a website for slimming pills. I could actually be Charles Manson. You’ll never know. Does anyone ever wake up and think ‘hey, I’m not actually real, I’m kind of fake’.
Advice for Guys: We’re all as real online as that picture you took back in 1989 leaning against that Porsche and posted yesterday. Kinda real. Sorta real. Really real. Take a chance, you might really like the ‘real’ me.

3’s a crowd


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting men: Location, location, location

According to my mum, my friends, every Sex in the City episode ever screened and, sadly, even my boss.. ‘men are everywhere’. Yes, why yes, they are. However meeting one or developing a friendship with one to the point where you’d like exchange more than witty banter is downright hard after 40. It not like rocking up to the bar on a Thursday night like you used to. If I hang out at a bar everyone wonders whether I’m nursing an alcohol addiction. Trying to meet new people  is more tricky than you’d imagine. Its the only reason behind why so many of us resort to match.com.

Some of the places you might think as fruitful for future lovers…um… not so much.

At Work. Since I work from home, my ‘at work’ chance encounters are limited to the UPS guy, the Fed Ex guy and anyone I meet in Chipotle at lunchtime. Limited doesn’t even begin to describe it for me. But for most chicks, work can be a great place to meet guys as long as your company hires men under the age of 50 and you don’t work in the prison system.  Be aware that the hottest guys work in marketing and sales, HR is always bitches and gays, IT is always married or basement dwellers, and operations people work too hard to date. Best chances for a date are on the manufacturing floor or the visiting consultants. Dress accordingly. Rating B

Running Errands.  Now is not the time for you to meet anyone. Any man who finds the typical errand running ‘look’ attractive is probably rocking a grey sweat-pant and likes to hang out in Walgreens.  Not anyone’s key demographic. On TV the grocery store might be a hot bed of glances and flirtation, but for you, treat it as a military operation – get in, get out, get on to something more interesting. And no, yoga pants don’t make any difference. Rating C-
 
Cycling: No. If your varicose veins don’t keep them away, the sight of your damp crotch and bright red face will finish off any lustful dude you might encounter on the road. Even my ex thought I was hideous on a bike and he liked me. Unless you one of those blessed people who ‘glow’ or you stand regularly on a podium, wait until after you ride. Rating D

Walking the dog: Now this actually has potential. You’re fully clothed, your dog likes people and you’re rarely moving at warp speed so you can actually see who you are talking too. I tend to chat with complete strangers every day when I’m out with my dog and I’ve had the first date ‘interview’ on at least a few occasions. Of course you will be judged on what your dogs appearance says about you, which means most guys think I’m slightly retarded, but if you have a pretty dog, go for it. Rating A- 

Church: I can’t really speak to this from personal experience, but I’ve heard that this works for a lot of people. The exit from my local church does somewhat resemble a sit-com audition so maybe if you chose your church carefully, its a possibility to get down in the pews and exchange meaningful glances. Since the last church I went too was populated exclusively by 70yr old grey haired ladies, not for me, but if you like sanctified meat.. they are held captive for 90 minutes every Sunday. I recommend Lutheran if you’re into blonds who will appreciate your womanly hips and Episcopalian if you’re into WASPs who like the missionary position.    Rating B-

Charity events: My friend Hope assures me that this can be a lucrative place to meet guys of a certain age and income. Those who attend who aren’t married or gay, tend to be aggressively hunting. Bachelor auctions, wine tastings and anything around running marathons attracts the young and healthy. Avoid terminal disease functions or anything hosted by someone called Muffy unless your demographic is octogenarian. Oh and be aware, silent auctions while drunk may result in you carting $2500 worth of wine home on the bus. Leave the credit card at home next time. Rating A-

House and Dinner Parties. If you regularly attend either of these events as a couple, you are  probably under the impression that this is how single people meet these days. Yes it is. We meet married people. The only time a single person is invited to a dinner party is to even up numbers, replace a late drop out or as part of the floor show. House parties run in a similar vein. Every host can be confident that your single person is getting blotto drunk and dancing hysterically as the evening wears on. Plus your average single person always has good stories, doesn’t expect anyone to take them home and sends great apology gifts.  On the rare chance that you do meet another single person at either of these functions know that this is the only other single person the host knows and they’ve not been especially selected for you. Be cautious. He’s likely a shut in depressive recent divorcee.. and you don’t need yet another one of those.  Rating C.

Chance meeting. This might include the guy you hit with your car, the guy who ran you down in the parking garage or even the guy who tipped his Starbucks over you. The commonality? You’re not in your apartment and some pain and embarrassment is involved (typically yours). I’ve met an assortment of guys by chance. Cycling into a river, being hit in the face by a ski and during an endoscopy. Don’t rule out the chance meeting.. the ‘meet cute’. Of course you’re probably bleeding or sedated, but hey, as long as you have clean underwear on and you can remember your phone number, go for it! Rating A+

So there you have it. The typical ways someone over 40 meets guys.
Now do you understand why we’re all on Match.com?

A field guide to online dating: 6 Rules for the First Date

Entering the world of online dating at 35, I naively thought that being straightforward, honest and respectful was enough. Some 6 years later, I now am now resigned to the fact that every dater needs a few rules. As much I’ve spent my life trying to escape them, rules can save you time, money and an embarrassing first date with a 65 year old man or a guy in a wheelchair. (Yes, it happened).

My friend Jill gave me a few handy hints leading up to the first date, which I initially escewed and then gratefully embraced. I’ve been preaching them ever since. Heed them and maybe you won’t be climbing out of a bathroom window to end your next first date.


1. Don’t email someone for a long time before meeting them. 
This isn’t high school and unless you’re planning on having a relationship conducted entirely through the medium of the written word (or your date is deaf).. move it into reality after a few emails. Emails are a screener, NOT a way to get to know someone, so don’t confuse the two. Great that he’s funny and witty on the screen, but in the flesh is really where it counts. Plus you might LOVE him in email but upon meeting him realize he smells like damp dog and he’s actually 5 ft 2, not the 6ft advertised. Like the Shamwow.. everything is better on a screen. And there’s a reason the Shamwow isn’t sold in stores. Don’t buy the Shamwow before you’ve met him.

2. Don’t go on a date with someone you’ve not actually talked to on the phone.
Seems obvious right? Why on earth would you sit down with a complete stranger for an hour, a cup of coffee or – god forbid- dinner? Yes you ‘kinda’ know what he looks like, he have his first name and you really like his emails. But you haven’t had any kind of live interaction if you’ve just exchanged heated texts or emails about his sexy eyes or your cute smile. Even IM doesn’t give you any idea of how you guys will actually ‘get along’.  Plus if you’ve not actually talked live on the phone – where does conversation start? Do you just print out his profile and start ‘interviewing’?  If you’ve had a brief chat – about your day, your dog, your weekend – you’ve crossed the barrier into real human contact. Which makes your actual date soooo much easier. You’re much less likely to be shocked by a high pitched voice, a thick accent or a slooooow talker.  I once spent a painful 15 minutes on the phone with a Louisiana native who spoke as though he was researching each answer on Google… talk about wide open spaces in the conversation. It was excruciating. I thought he’d dropped off the call at least twice he was so quiet. Saved me a very painful date. I’m way too much of a fast talker .. he’d never get a word in. Plus you can get those awkward first 5 minutes out of the way while making a sandwich.

2b. And texting to set up a date doesn’t count. What is this? 10th grade?

3. Don’t meet in a bar.
Wait!!!!!! I know, I know. Alcohol makes it so much easier.. you loosen up, you can sit at the bar and not have to awkwardly stare at each other. It’s dark and your acne scars/ razor burn/red eyes aren’t so obvious, plus background noise can fill in the spaces in conversation. But herein lies the issue. You need the spaces. You need to a bit ‘tight’.  It forces you to listen, and you get a chance to see this person when they’re not lit (and neither are you). Avoid those beer goggles and the alleyway make out session by meeting for a neighborhood dog walk, a smoothie, yes.. even the dreaded coffee… just not for drinks. Nerves make you drink fast, which make the second martini go down really sweet and the third seems like SUCH a great idea. Next thing you know you’re thinking a nightcap sounds fun and you wake up in old flannel sheets that smell like feet. Not that I know anything about that.
I do know that alcohol makes everything seem better.. and unless the guy is George Clooney (which he never is), its probably better to do your assessment while you can still pronounce the word ‘serial killer’.

4. If its bad, tap out politely.
Noone should have to endure a painful first date. You don’t owe a first date anything except politeness, so if his tales of divorce, work or money woes starting to make you mentally wonder what a therapist charges, politely excuse yourself. And no, this doesn’t mean sauntering to the bathroom with your coat and purse (why?just in case you get cold and need to buy something?), then climbing out the bathroom window. A simple hand on the arm and a straight sentence cuts to the chase ‘Hey “Brian”. its been lovely to meet you, but I really have to be going.’  You don’t owe any explanation of your plans and you don’t need to specify exactly why you’re mentally calculating how fast you can run to your car. If you’re feeling brave and honest, sure, tell him that you’re not feeling it but you don’t need to. Anyone who leaves a date without any  ‘call you later’ promises really doesn’t need to follow up. The purpose of the date is to meet someone, not marry them.

5. Don’t promise anything….
If you’ve ignored 1-3 and you’re still sitting with an extra from the Walking Dead, dying inside while you mentally shop the mall/ work out your taxes/ delete your profile from match.com… well please heed #4. Don’t promise. No ‘I’ll call you’, ‘lets do something’ ,’see you soon’  or the worst ‘give me a call if you want to do something’. Noooooo. If you don’t like the person… don’t promise. You’re not in church and you’re not saving anyone’s feelings. If you’re eyes have been rolling back in your head for the last 30 minutes and your date hasn’t exited, its unlikely that he’s going to feel ‘better’ by a vague promise of something non specific sometime during the remainder of your life.  Its OK to say goodbye. You didn’t agree to have a relationship or marry this person.. and they’ve known you, what? an hour? You don’t need to break up with them. Walk away.

6. …And don’t ask for anything. 
Again, this one seems obvious but you’d be surprised. In the absence of a weak ‘I’ll call you’, you might be tempted to ask ‘will I see you again?’  While to you this might be a mental calculation of whether you need to actually add this person’s number to your iPhone, it sounds like you’re begging for a crumb of validation. What sounds factual and straightforward sounds desperate and needy. I’ve said it and hated myself as I heard how it sounded. I mentally dumped myself right there, and so will he. And if you have to ask, you probably don’t want to know the answer.

The First Date. An interview for dinner.

He’s not quite what he seemed in his profile

mole
The mole
I snagged my first Match.com date based on a slightly blurry photo of him and his chocolate Lab. Kneeling beside a smiling dog, the trail ablaze with autumn color, Mark looked my type- tall, skinny, dark haired and from what I could make out, big nosed. My Jewish man fetish doesn’t extend to tefilin or beards, but glasses and a big nose is a must. The invention and adoption of Lasik was a sad period in my life; the increasing absence of beau’s in glasses can only be mitigated by a working knowledge of Woody Allen comedies of the 70s and a full head of thick black hair. The photos were somewhat blurry, but Mark seemed to have the physical profile down. We exchanged winks, tentative emails and then discovered the immediate gratification of IM. Within a week I was excitedly pouring out my heart while I looked at photos, typing like a crazed person and sucking up every smart comment, every quip as fast as he laid them down. 
Finally I couldn’t take it any longer. Three weeks of intense emailing and IM had resulted in carpal tunnel in my wrist and a permanent state of arousal which nothing could curb. I had to see him, move past the smiley icons and suck him up for real. Since he didn’t seem to be pushing to break free of our online infatuation I asked, well begged, him to meet me more wine and ‘maybe more’. What can I say, I was out of practice and horny as hell.
 
I practically sprinted into the bar and spotted a tall, dark stranger sitting alone at a dim and intimate table with a bottle of wine and 2 glasses. It couldn’t be anyone else but him. I practically shouted ‘Hi Baby!!!!!’ and dodged chairs to get to our table. As I slide into my seat, my winning smile froze.
Have you ever seen a truly cross eyed person? Both eyes, completely detached from each other?
It’s truly quite alarming.
Eye #1 was completely at war with Eye #2. As Eye #1 swung wildly towards my ear, Eye #2 was off examining the wall art. I grabbed the bottle and poured a slug trying to generate an appropriate ‘non reaction’.
Looking up and asking him how his day was, I tried to follow Eye #1 thinking – ‘it’s looking in my approximate vicinity, maybe he’s actually looking right at me?’ But Eye #1 had other ideas and took off around the circumference of my head. Eye #2 meanwhile was fixed on my chest. Well that’s not unusual except it was getting really hard to decide where to look and frankly, I was starting to develop a bit of a headache, chasing his eyes around, trying to make contact.
As Mark started to regale me with a story about his drive, I decided to settle my gaze on his nose. Middle of the face, doesn’t move. And I do love myself a big nose. Only then did his true blessing become apparently. A mole. A mole to end all moles, sitting smack in the middle of his nose.

Wow, his karma really must have been shot in a previous life.

Mark’s mole had not 1 or 2 hairs, but a positive rainforest sprouting from its depths, (and there was texture to it – waffled and crustaceous this thing was more than three dimensional). I swear you could have found Jimmy Hoffa in that mole. It was mesmerizing. It was hideous. And I couldn’t look away.

As Mark continued to ramble (who knew a 25 minute drive would take 25 minutes to recount), I sipped my wine and took stock of the situation; 

On the ‘con’ side, he’s cross eyed – unfortunate and a little hard on the concentration – but not a killer.  His mole, while decidedly scary, is removable. On the ‘pro’ side, he is tall, he’s skinny and on the basis of our emails, he COULD be my destiny.
Maybe, because of his unfortunate physical ‘challenges’ Mark was an unpolished gem. Someone overlooked by shallow women that had recoiled from the moon pie on his nose or skittered away from his detached retinas. Maybe I would be the first to fall in love with his inner perfection. After all, someone who’s had to fight hard in life to be taken seriously, to be respected, has to have strength of character, a winning personality, the smarts to take him outside of the realm of the physical. He HAD to be the nicest person in the world. 
I’ve never drunk so much, so fast, in my life.
I figured that fortification would only help bring to light the delights of my new love. So he wasn’t perfect, but Mark GOT me, his intellectual sparring had kept me in front of my computer until 2am and we had so many things in common. Music, art, movies, eating out, dogs…

‘So Mark, I loved that photo of you and your lab on the trail. How old is he?’
‘Actually he’s not mine. I can’t remember his name. I was just looking after him for the weekend and I thought girls like dogs, so I had someone take a photo for my profile’
‘Oh… (pause).. But you like dogs?’
‘Not really, dogs are too much hassle. I prefer birds’
‘Oh.’
In his profile, Mark had mentioned his passion for remodeling and we’d chatted online about the pain of Home Depot runs on the weekend. The curse of shower curtain rings and grout. I knew we’d connected over our desire to make a home…
‘So how’s the remodel coming?’
‘Well my Dad is being a real pain about the new toilets’
‘Toilets? How many bathrooms are you remodeling?’
‘All of them. And with 24 units that 48 toilets’
‘Oh you didn’t mention that you owned an apartment block. I thought you were remodeling your house?’
‘No. Its actually my Dad’s apartment block on Martin Luther King Avenue. I’m actually kind of the caretaker/ maintenance guy’
‘Oh wow… that’s… cool. So you are helping him remodel the whole thing? What a project!’
‘Actually he’s letting me live in one of the apartments rent free while I help him out. Plus he paid my bail so I owe him’
‘Your…. bail??????’
Evidently, one little omission from Mark’s romantic history was his 7 year relationship with a married woman, Cheryl. Whose husband filed a restraining order to keep him away from his wife. An order that he later broke – on Cheryl’s request of course – that eventually resulted in him having to leave the state of Ohio.
Booted from a state? I thought that was only possible in Westerns and mafia movies. It turns out that if you are a person of such sterling character and reputation, and you piss off a judge enough times, you can be banished from bars, cities and yes, in rare cases, even states. It seemed that Mark was quite the overachiever.
I kept drinking. It was the only way to close my gaping mouth.
I was on a date with a man who was not only a felon, but a felon of such character that he was evicted from a state. A whole state! All of the Woody Allen movies in the world hadn’t prepared me with any retort for this scenario. So I drank. 
I drank through his work challenges, his financial woes, his troubled relationship with his mother, his love of online gaming and pro life protests. I learned about how his father abused him, kept him tied to the apartment building by limiting his salary and therefore his drinking. I learned about how, even after the restraining order and the eviction from Ohio, he still loved Cheryl and believed they’d be together one day. And I learned that online profiles and 950 emails tells you absolutely nothing about someone. And that fuzzy profile pictures have a lot to answer for. 
A bottle of wine only contains 750ml and I consumed 90% of them in 35 minutes. As Mark excused himself to the restroom, I excused myself by necking the remaining 10% of the bottle and calling for the check.  Paying before his return and bolting for the door, it was abundantly clear that dating wasn’t going to be as simple as I thought. And love wasn’t going to be knocking any time soon for either of us.

I found it!!! but do I trust it?


A few months back I found myself deep in an unexpected relationship. From nowhere it came, swept me off my feet, took off my boots and massaged by toes while calling me Queen Bee. I couldn’t help help but question – is it love? or  is it merely the mirrored reflection of one who has sought love so so long and who has simply found someone else equally open and ready to be loved? Are we both just in love with the idea of love? 
And yet I found myself at home with this person. Truly myself and yet, slightly awed that someone would find me awesome. He is – well he is everything. Complicated, passionate, scattered, focused, equally smart and simple, loving and yet sometimes strangely distant. He makes me laugh, he makes me feel loved, I like spending time with him, and yet I’m perfectly content to be alone without him.. secure in the knowledge that he’ll return. Is this really what I’ve been seeking and am shrinking in its recognition? It seems so, yet based on life’s trajectories I can’t help wrestle with whether its really real. Is it meaningful? Does it need to be? Can it grow to be? And yet and yet.. all this good can’t be true. It’s an embarrassment of riches. I kept asking myself -Is it real? Will it blow itself out? Will we – as we have both done in the past – fuck it up? If I were younger I wouldn’t know enough to question it – I’d be madly thinking of all that I needed to be in order to make him love me. What I needed to change. How I could inure myself to him. Instead I am just me. And he keeps returning with a smile in his eyes and a warm touch. Maybe it will be a passing fancy. Maybe it really is the one I’ve wondered about and every crappy Disney song warbled about. He talks about rings and marriage, being together and walking the next 40 together. He plans trips and schedules our Thanksgiving, our Christmas together. I meet the parents. So I can only go with it and try to protect my heart a little as history has taught me. If it blows itself out, I will just have the knowledge that  light really can reach places never previously lit. 
Three weeks later he stopped returning my calls and I’ve not heard from him since. Goes to show. At 40, you’re still 15.