Summer Lovin’

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

John Travolta was never so wrong.

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

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

To those happily partnered, let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I’m suing John Travolta.

The goods are still odd

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

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

I am still so naive.

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

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

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

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

He insisted on separate checks.

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

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

 

 

Only Commonwealth countries and Detroiters may now apply

flagLast night my dating pool hit a new low.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.

 

How not to have a first date

01 undateableLast night I went on a date with a thoroughly cynical and defensive person. They were judgmental, a little mean and way too intense for a first date. I don’t think I’d like a second date, in fact I think that person really needs to chill the fuck out.

Unfortunately, that person was me.

After years of good dates but mainly bad ones; dates where I interviewed them, they interviewed me; dates where the guy clearly was more interested in someone else, or in outing himself; dates where he mumbled one word answers or said nothing at all. Dates with Republicans, liars and a paraplegic (who didn’t tell me about his status until he arrived at our date). 23 minute dates (my record), 2 hour dates, dates with stoners, angry men and lonely guys … I think I’ve finally arrived at ‘undateable’. Not them… me.

When faced with someone who seemed pleasant, open, friendly, attractive and complimentary, my response? Intense desire to ‘wise this guy up’ to the realities of dating.

His desire to be courteous and communicative prior to us meeting was met with instant dismissal as ‘cloying’. His sweet emails and texts? Desperate. His expressed excitement in advance of our first date? Sad. Poor dude. Doesn’t stand a chance.

My date is newly separated and hasn’t been on many dates; so instead of spending my time getting to know him, I silently plotted all of the indignities he would suffer down the road of the online dater. The women who’d stalk him. Those who’d never call. Those who would date him only for his money. The woman who’d misrepresent themselves; the liars, the fakers , the hot mess needed fixing. The women with drink problems. Pill problems. Baby daddy problems. The frigid women. The cheating women. Oh boy, he really was going to get his open little heart smashed. As he talked, my mind was thinking of all the thousands of ways this poor dumb schmuck was going to get hurt once he actually dived into dating again. How all of his sweetness, he naivete, his hopefulness was going to be crushed within months and how ill prepared he seemed to actually be dating.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, this was how I spent my date.

Thinking about all the ways my date was going to be crushed.. just like me… by trying to find love.

Yes. I know. Its fucked up.

Clearly I’ve been out there too long. I’ve lost hope. I’ve certainly wised up, but I think I’ve developed a skin akin to Donatella Versace.. impenetrable by human touch, water (and potentially hydrochloric acid). I don’t trust anyone on their words anymore and my expectations apparently are somewhere in the Marianas trench. Deep  below the ground.

And I wasn’t aware of any of this until I actually met a nice guy.

He didn’t call the cops, and he made it through dinner, but holy cow, if I ever see him again, he moves to the top of my list of ‘nice guys’. Me.. I think I need some serious therapy and to permanently end this quest for companionship. I think old lady with 60 cats is more approachable than me with 7 years of post divorce dating under my belt.  Sure she might wear a lot of hand knits and an odor of pee, but at least she won’t rip her date’s head off when he offers up a complement.

Time for me to go find my hope. because right now, I’m un-fucking-dateable.

(on the plus side, he’s apparently a saint because he wants to take another run at it next weekend). Wish me luck.

 

 

 

 

Date-A-Thon 2014

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crickets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why you’re not long term potential

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

  1. You drink too much

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

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

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

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

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

4. You eschew anything feminine

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

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

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

6. Making it all about sex

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

7. And finally… the crazy.

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

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

Top 5 Dating Mistakes Women Make

Top 5 Dating Mistakes Women Make

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

1. Over thinking it

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

2. Its not just about you

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

3. Set boundaries

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

4. Expect to meet someone new. Nothing more.

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

5. Game playing

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

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

American vs British: Men

American vs. British Men

As someone whose now dated both species for an equal number of years (horrific if I actual stop and think about it), I think I’m fairly qualified to evaluate both sides of this cultural equation. And as I stand facing yet another date, this time with a Brit, I’ve had to take stock and try to remind myself of the differences in order to avoid an excruciating faux pas.

Growing up in the UK, the male species were pale, came in two varieties (doughy or wirey), tended to swear a lot and didn’t really seem to treat women that much different from other men.
Women might be ‘spotted’ a drink, but no woman got her drinks consistently paid for unless her boyfriend was doing the paying, and generally this behavior was accompanied by jeers and ‘whiplash’ sounds. Women were treated as equals to men, from school and college, to work and yes, even at the bar. Sounds romantic? Not so much. 
But on the plus side, British men have no compunction about their level of attractiveness, positively revel in the knowledge that women are the stronger sex, and the term ‘commitment phobe’ didn’t seem to arrive until the advent of ‘Friends’.  If a man liked you, well that was that. No discussion about ‘exclusivity’ or the term ‘boyfriend’. No games. None. Or maybe I just dated a lot of simple guys?

Thinking back is was almost weird how similar the men and women actually seemed. Either sex could have long or short hair, either sex earned more, either sex could wear the trousers (figuratively and literally), and I don’t ever recall there being a big difference in who ‘made the moves’. It all seemed fair game. The roles weren’t that predefined and, like Canadians, the men just seemed pleased you were interested at all and not embarrassed to show that appreciation. I don’t recall any of them choking at the word ‘relationship’ either. Plus Brits are funny..they enjoy women as friends and people seemed to still go out in groups, even after they’d partnered up. Marriage or dating didn’t mean hermit-ville.

Moving to the US I was at a loss. Men treated women like a different species… that species being princess/ the devil… and the women actually seemed to like that men worshiped them or were terrified of them. What I found excruciating weird, American women seemed to take for granted. Pulling out chairs, opening doors, grabbing for the check, rushing to help you lift heavy things.. it was like being transported back to Mad Men days.
It was wonderful even though it made me really uncomfortable.
I never thought I needed those things doing for me, but hey, if it was on offer… who was I to say no?  And what men on offer! They came in every flavor but each one seemed blessed with big arms and muscles, height and ..um… girth. Unfettered, ..girth. I don’t think I actually clapped my hands with glee but I sure looked happy the first time I saw an American man naked. American men are very very manly.  I guess thats why Yanks consider themselves #1….and it has nothing to do with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

On the downside, Mr. America was used to being the ‘man’ in all things and perceived any breaking of those roles as signs of desperation or mental illness. And God help you if you mentioned the word ‘relationship’. Men did the asking, the doing and the deciding. Women had to sit around waiting for them to make up their minds and call. Or, going wild pretending not to care. I know, mass generalization but I literally didn’t meet any women who broke that mold for a long time…and that’s a lot of women telling me not to call him, not to ask him out, not to reach for the check and god help me, not to try and drive anything. All things which are completely normal outside of the US.

I thought I could buck the trend, after all I had a killer accent and I’m not horrific to look at… but the men ran as soon as I made a joke, reached for the check or asked them out. Within months I found myself submitting to the ‘rules’ because the alternative was to become a social pariah. In return for playing at submission, the men didn’t look so nervous and I have to admit, I learned to temper my personality until I knew they had the backbone to take it. No wonder all my ‘relationship/date/whatevers’ ended at 3 months. I could only hide myself for so long. And it would take many many American years before those British edges were smoothed over. In America, men liked women to be women, and men to be deaf to anything resembling a relationship. When did they all become so nervous about partnering up?

But I’ve learnt not to mention the ‘C’ word, the ‘R’ word or suggest that maybe we might make a good pair (talkin’ to you BC). Keen men make me nervous (talkin’ to you Dr. Potato) and those behaviors I took for granted back in the day, now seem fairly uncouth. I kind of like having the door opened for me.

So at the tender age of 40-something I wonder whether I’m still equipped to date a Brit. They seem so terribly terribly strange. I wonder if this one drinks Earl Grey with his pinkie in the air and considers a ‘Sunday drive’ an afternoon activity, or whether he spends his weekends in the pub downing pints while watching ‘footie’ and longing for home. Plus of course there’s the whole ‘equipment’ thing.
I haven’t seen one of those in a long long time and I don’t think I was that enamored when it was the only thing on the menu back in the 90’s. Ah well.. at least this first date I won’t be worrying about whether he gets my sense of humor or considers me uncouth. I’ll be too focused on praying he’s Jewish. 

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??

Unsocial media

Remember when phones had dials? And long curly cords that tethered them to the wall? Before answer machines or call waiting, before cordless phones and ….breath…. before cellphones?
I wasn’t lucky enough to have a phone anywhere near my room. In fact my mother managed to put a lock on our phone (yes, a lock which prevented you from turning the dial to thereby contact friends and muster some semblance of a social life. I know, no wonder I have issues. Mother Masochist O Mine).  I do however remember the joy of holding a hot and sweaty receiver to your ear as you pondered the meaning of life, algebra homework and maybe, if you were lucky enough to date some kind of homosexual, some expression of affection). Ah the late evening phone call. The touch base. We didn’t know it back then, but it was a dying art. When to call, when to pick up, who hung up first, what was said (or not said).. phone conversations were the connection point, the building block of any fledgling relationship.
Fast forward to my 30’s and while phones were no longer tethered to the wall I still found myself sitting on the sofa in an evening, looking at the home phone and waiting for it to ring. For my boyfriend to call. For us to touch base and dissect the day, schedule our time together or just confer on the latest episode of whatever. And while the conversations were more functional, more expressive and less silence infused, the calls served the purpose of keeping us connected. Enabling us to chat to each other without being overtaken by the need to undress each other and get frisky. We talked about anything and everything, but we started to get to know each other.
I sustained relationships via the phone including a guy in Vancouver, a dude in Montana and even a fiance 60 miles away (at different times).
These days – and my how I feel old saying this – the phone is an outdated inconvenience. To most guys I know, its totally avoidable now that texting exists. They no longer have to deal with a live human or take time away from the ride, the game or the controller. A simple text message can keep things humming, prove more flirtatious and clever than a conversation, and to some, can even avoid the humiliation of someone saying no. Case in point, my girlfriend Faye.

Faye is suffering from drive by texting. A man who she’s spoken to – perhaps for 10 minutes- has been texting her now for 3 weeks. No call, no date.. just texts.

‘Hey’
‘How you doing?’
‘How was your weekend?’
‘Did you see the election results?”

He’s single, she’s single. I think they’re probably both interested. He has arms and fingers, he could pick up the phone and ask her out. But no.. just this ad hoc pinging reminder of teasing insecurity. I am interested enough to reach out, but not quite interested enough to pick up the phone.
Men who are rolling their eyes.. I know. She could call him. She too has arms and fingers. But as a first impression, who wants to call a guy you don’t know, who’s likely (in your head), watching porn, watching the game, out with another woman or lord help me, sitting with his pants by his ankles. All times at which a guy friend of mine has ANSWERED THE PHONE. Hence we don’t call that first time. Because we don’t want to talk to you when you’re in another woman.. or fantasizing about it.
So here’s my request to that guy.. to every guy. Pick up the goddam phone and call her please. Ask her out. Its easy.

Hey Faye, I wanted to call you to see if you have plans on Tuesday? You don’t? Great? How about Joes at 9?

Its THAT SIMPLE.

Please pick up the phone dudes. Because I’m too old to be deciphering ‘what did he mean by..’ text messages with her at 9pm. After all, I’m expecting a call.

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.

A field guide to dating: The man with no ‘go’

Sadly I could write a book on this one. The man who claims to find you attractive, repeatedly calls you, dates you, and even claims to love you but just doesn’t get ..um… excited for you.

And no.. before you start screaming about stress at work, overdoing the alcohol or ‘it just happens sometimes’, I’m not talking about the occasional lack of interest.. I’m talking about the guy with no ‘go’ – permanently.  Sure he might have had a few good years back when you first met but when you’re around, the usual state of affairs is, well, nothing. There’s no pants party in his house. The tank is out of gas. The flower has lost it bloom. The crab is soft shell. However you phrase it, if the stiffest thing in the bedroom is your lips, then you’ve got yourself a man with no ‘go’.

How does this happen? Lord knows. I’m a chick. To whom this keeps happening.  Are you a hideous specimen of femininity you may ask? Does the ear piercing squawk of your voice cause the mojo to run off and hide? Do you frighten it away?

Potentially. But I also seemed to attract a fair share of dudes with oodles of ‘go’ in them… especially ones I wasn’t dating, so I figured it had to be something I was doing when dating someone. It had to be me.
And I, with a career in consulting, could figure it out and fix it. Everything can be fixed right? All we needed was some analysis and an easily implementable solution. Maybe some communications, a little buttering up of key stakeholders…but basically understand the cause of the issue, identify a solution, implement. Easy right?  Here’s how it went down with one guy I’d been with for a while when I realized that we hadn’t had sex for nearly a year. Yes.. I know… a year.  (hey I’d been busy too you know!)

Weight. Firstly it had to be my weight right? (yes, chicks always go there first). But as a size 4 I figured that starving myself down to a size 2 wasn’t worth the annoying bitch from hell that I’d become in the process. If my weight was the issue, and having been the same size since college,  then why would he be with me? Na can’t be my weight.. (Phew… no need for a diet).

Appearance. Next up appearance. I’ve always landed on the granola, low key side of the appearance spectrum. Make up is for when I look really shit or on a special occasion, and as long as I’m not wearing my breakfast, I’m happy to walk out of the door with clean teeth and brushed hair. Maybe I needed to tart things up a little? Make more of an effort to hide the crows feet and acne scars?

After a few ridiculously expensive hours at Nordstrom I debuted my new made up face to my man… the shrieks of laughter told me that not only was makeup not the issue, but it wasn’t going to help my confidence much if the result was hilarity. Next up.. maybe it was my approach?

Approach. I’ve always been from Nike school of action ‘ just do it’. Feeling itchy.. scratch. Feeling frisky.. ask.. or more recently.. just do.This always seems to have worked in my favor with the male persuasion and I’ve generally been applauded for my go getter enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude in the matter of all things naked. Maybe I needed to soften my approach for the US market? Maybe batting my eyelashes and teasing my hair was the way to light some fire in the general ‘area’. The challenge of overcoming a lifetime of tomboy attitude is pretty tough but I twiddled my hair, did my best Lady Diana eyelash batting impression and squeezed my cleavage into a bra two sizes too small during a candle lit dinner. The result… a question as whether I was having an outbreak of my allergies and a suggestion that buy clothes that fit.

‘well…you look a bit… spilly outty….you know… overstuffed’

Whats ok for Victoria Secret models.. apparently not so much for everyday me. And certainly wasn’t causing him to see me in any type of sexy way, though it did provide a nice shelf for bits of rice I dropped during dinner. Mmm… nothing says sexy like rice in the cleavage. Maybe it was just all a bit boring and predictable? Maybe we needed some ‘spice’.

Excitement Maybe I needed to change things up. Get creative. Think outside of the bedroom. Go crazzzzzzzy. After attacking him from the rear in the kitchen (and receiving a soapy clout to the boob – ‘I thought you were an intruder’), I decided that the gentle approach might work and decided for a big seduction on his return from a bike ride. Squeezed into a corset, strapped up in stockings and with hair in pig tails (hey, Britney knew what she was doing), I arranged myself on the living room sofa on a Sunday afternoon with legs askance. Which was the perfect way to greet our landlord as he popped over with our new water tank. It worked on him..(yikes!) and I excused myself with a face of fire to re-appropriate myself in the bedroom.  It was less impressive for my boyfriend as he hurried past my prone self and  into the shower. He took one look at me and suggested that we turn down the heating if I was hot.

Humph.

At that point I decided that it was him, not me, and dumped the motherfucker.
Some flowers you can resurrect with some attention, others just droop and are done. These days I only buy fresh and I don’t nursemaid them to last once they start sagging.

You can always buy more.

A field guide to online dating: Alcohol

As a shy, somewhat introverted anxiety case, alcohol has been my friend in social situations. Moving to a country of 360 million where you know .. let me see…?…um.. no-one, means every occasion, every party, every interaction involved 100% strangers. Cue panic attack. Now add in the desire to be alluring to the opposite sex in a ‘interview’ type situation. Well, its no wonder that I was looking for a way to lessen the horror. Everyone knows that a glass of wine or two can reduce inhibitions, but I discovered that alcohol actually has some positive super powers when used by an anxious Brit on a first date.

1. It enables you to cut through the bullshit really fast.
Mark was a plastic surgeon who was recently divorced and fresh meat on Match.com. While he was a little short for my tastes, he was cute, had crazy dimples and he really liked The National. Plus a doctor.. my mother would be so proud and maybe free Botox could be part of the deal? We met for drinks and it became apparent really fast that while Mark was accomplished professionally, he sure hadn’t spent much time learning how to behave on a date. After 30 minutes I don’t think he’d paused for breath and he certainly hadn’t asked me anything about myself. He talked about his day, his surgery, his new residents and his ex wife’s curtain fetish. The longer he went on talking, the more nervous I got, and as I tried to look engaged, tried in vain to understand what breast flap reconstruction was and tried to think of ways I could contribute to the conversation, the more I drank. Three vodka tonics later I decided that while Mark looked pretty and he was clearly accomplished,  he was kind of a bore… so I told him. Out loud.

‘You know. You’re really boring”

It had the desired effect. He did stop talking. Bolstered by my apparent success (alcohol) and superior conversation skills (alcohol), I decided that honesty was going to be the best policy with Mark.

‘You haven’t asked me anything about myself and I’m wearing a new dress which I spent a LOT of money on and while you’re cute you’re REALLY boring.’

His mouth hung open and he looked completely confused. I doubt he got much of that as the chief reconstructive breast surgeon in Denver.

‘And I’ve got really nice boobs and you haven’t looked at them once’.  I was slurring by now but I figured he hadn’t walked away and as he was now – as instructed- looking at my breasts, I could potentially have a chance to resuscitate this boring date. (I do have nice boobs).

‘Soooooooooo. Do you want to make out?’

I’ll give him this, he did laugh, he did pay the check and he did get me home in one piece.
We dated for a month until I realized that no amount of free Botox was worth a drinking problem.

2. It gives you superhuman strength
Greg was an architect with a head of curls, big brown eyes and a shit eating grin He also weighed 110lbs soaking wet. But hey, I like them skinny and he had good hands.
I’d spent a chilly afternoon at his house with friends, carving pumpkins and prepping for a Halloween night out where I’d felt the frisson of attraction. He kept touching my arm, pushing my hair out of my eyes and the compliments were flying. Finally my friend Sarah pulled me aside and asked ‘aren’t you into him? He’s flirting like MAD and you’re not giving anything back’.  After a quick primer on American flirting (play with your hair, lean in close to talk, try not to swear so much, play up the accent), we headed out to a bar to start the night. I’m not good with men who find me attractive, especially if they’re cute. It tends to render me mute and I replace sentences with jazz hands. Great if you’re into mime, bizarre if some guy is trying to hit on you. I decided to knock back a shot or two to relax.
30 minutes later I was spinning poor Greg around the dance floor like ‘Stars on Ice’ to the classic ‘You Spin Me Round (like a Record)’. I think at one point his feet left the ground and my big finale twirl spun him off the dance floor and into the DJ.  I guess I didn’t know the power that two shots of tequila can bring to your moves. Needless to say, I never heard from him again.

3. It makes you very decisive
The first think I noticed about TJ was his string of beads. And his blindingly white teeth that just sang ‘LA’. The first words out of his mouth ‘ So I just got done with my therapist…’ confirmed that a) this wasn’t going to be a love match and b) this was going to be painful. I looked at my glass hoping that he’d take notice and offer up a refill but no, he just jumped right into his summary of the previous hour/week/lifetime of therapy.

‘So she said that my relationship with my mother was an extension of….’

I felt like Charlie Brown and the teacher ‘ wah wah wah wah’.  This was our first date. The first minutes of our first date and you’re talking about your relationship with your mother? And what your therapist thinks about said relationship? Way too much information for a stalwart Brit. 15 minutes in and he still hadn’t paused for breath or a drink..and he was deep into an explanation of how his mothers lack of affection during puberty had ruined physical blah blah blah. I couldn’t even fake interest so I excused myself to return to the bar for a refill. I ordered a shot and checked over my shoulder at TJ who was was busy studying his beads. What was in our future? Celery juice and sweat lodges? Tantric yoga and long evenings “sharing”? I had already heard too much about his relationship with his mother for my comfort, where would conversation go next? Yikes.
Grabbing my purse I walked out the door. Rude? Yes. Necessary? Totally. Decisive. Yay for alcohol.

Of course alcohol also makes you sloppy, slurry, really can mess up your make up and does have a tendency to inform some very bad decisions. No-one ever thought ‘you know.. I’m going to have a couple of drinks then make a BETTER decision’.
But that’s for another day.
 

Nothing beats a great first kiss


I’m always wondered about the relative importance of the first kiss to people. It’s anticipated and feared in equal parts. It can be prepared for with groundwork laid hours, days, even weeks in advance (depending on how much of Rules girl you are), but can also be equally unanticipated (typically coinciding with excessive drinking and a mystery meat taco eaten from the sketchy Mexican van off of 18th).
The elevation of the first kiss to mythical proportions probably stems from rumor, conjecture and way too much Judy Blume consumption. We all know it’s not Disneyland, there are no cartoon bluebirds floating around anyone’s head (not unless you went for that 3rd capirinha) and the guy sure isn’t a Prince Charming (not with those shoes). And yet, and yet… a bad first kiss can shade the remainder of the evening, temper excitement about a next date, even prevent the damn thing from getting off the ground. As though encountering a mediocre or bad kiss means ‘the wrong guy’. But does it really?

We all have our horror stories; the guy who insisted on chewing my bottom lip (I assumed he mistook it for my labia), the saliva guy whose teeth even seemed to produce liquid, the open mouthed ‘guppy’, the tight pursed ‘butt hole’ kiss, the guy who tried to eat my tongue (since nicknamed Hannibal).. the list is frighteningly long. And don’t get me started on the guy who just covered my mouth with his lips and kind of ‘hung out there’ without moving. I wasn’t sure if we were going to start practicing mouth to mouth resuscitation or if he was waiting for me to regurgitate my food into his mouth? Bad kisses which definitely didn’t lead to a second date. Are bad kissers rehab-able? Maybe, I’ve always thought chemistry took care of things and it potentially was a sign of a great physical connection.. the naked sort.

Great first kisses. The list is horrifyingly short. Just two.
Fran kissed me at age 17, standing beneath a pool of light, leaning against his powder blue Mini. I didn’t think my knees would hold me up and I honestly couldn’t catch my breath.  Needless to say, our physical connection was insane and we seemed to specialize in getting caught  ‘christening’ places (the stairs, the kitchen, the backyard, France).. Great kiss, great guy, great relationship.

‘E’, I kissed 45 minutes into our first date, standing outside a bar on a busy street. Time stood still. I think I might have blacked out momentarily, because everything went so quiet and I literally ceased to see anything. I went back for seconds assuming I had coincidentally kissed him during a stroke – but nope, complete repeat experience. We tried to date, but his Republican views, our mutual divorces and basic lack of compatibility outside of the bedroom really didn’t add to up anything.  Great kiss, great guy, no relationship.

So it seems that these amazing, heart stopping kisses mean nothing other than ‘our mouths fit together incredibly well’. And it seems other parts too. But since I’m married to neither, I think its safe to say the kiss – in the broader scheme of things – means nothing. It neither signifies ‘the one’ or ‘definitely not the one’ though the overproduction of saliva is definitely going to be propelling you in one direction more than the other.  I married a man who I liked kissing, but he never make my knees weak. I’ve dreamt about kisses from guys I’ve met once.
So why do we judge it?  Why is it such a big deal?

Because, whether we’re superstitious or not we take it as a sign. A straw we clutch onto that might mean a spark exists. That the two of you might ‘be’ something more than friends, buddies, whatever. 
Well here’s to the next first kiss. Maybe it will be my last.

Now… or later?

On the phone last night with a friend, we got to chatting about his 5 month relationship which had recently ended. After discussing the failings of the thing, he assured me that he was feeling good because they’d not actually ‘you know, done the deed’

5 months. No sex.

I was speechless (a true rarity). At 40, who on earth is saving it? And what would you be saving it for? He has a child so he sure didn’t save it before. I asked and he said it was more what he was saving it ‘from’.

‘I like to protect my junk’

Yes. And that’s what condoms are for. But apparently not for this guy. He explained that he wanted to have a relationship before ‘making it complicated’ with sex. Sex? Complicated? I am clearly doing it wrong.
While I admire his self control and his desire to have “intimacy” be reserved for those with whom he was, actually, intimate, I couldn’t help wonder about his poor girlfriend. After 40, anything goes and to find yourself with the one person in Denver for whom nothing is going..well. I hope he was paying for dinner. 5 months…I hope he was paying for dinner and AA batteries.

Getting off the phone , it did make me pause and wonder whether he might have a point. Is there something to be said for taking things slow, getting to know someone and actually developing a connection based on friendship, caring and affection before jumping onto each other?

(Single people, stop laughing)

Are we basing our connections too much on chemistry? The argument goes that there are only so many hours in the day you can have sex, and so the other 23 hrs are infinitely more critical than the one spent sweating on the kitchen floor. Maybe my friend is right.. getting the other stuff working is way more important than sex?

‘Marry your best friend’
‘It should feel easy’
‘I just like hanging out with him – doing anything’
‘Sex isn’t really that important’

I hear this all the time, and said those things myself during my brief marriage. But here’s the rub. I married my buddy. And my buddy didn’t want to sleep with me. We had no chemistry. And so we’re not married anymore. I had my 23 hours of buddy time .. but that last hour, that one where you crave each other and want to disappear into each other’s skin? Without that hour there was nothing. There was no intimacy. So sex does count for something and with the ex.. the lack of it became everything. These days I need to know whether its there and waiting 5 months to find out just seems… needlessly punishing.

Are my married friends forgetting how their relationships started or are they just discrete about the dungeon in the basement? Does the addition of kids and mortgages and aging parents just push that stuff to the ‘optional’ pile? Is sex important? Is it not? Dan Savage says without it, any relationship is doomed. That sex can maintain that bond, even when you can’t stand the sight of each other. My married female friends say its not. My male married friends just get that ‘deer in the headlights’ look when I ask, and the only ones who are talking are those recently divorced, new match.com swinging singles. Who seem united in their desire for the sex they didn’t have while married, now that they’re single again.

The only thing I’m clear about is that no-one in a successful relationship is talking. And while my friend spent 5 months with aching groins, he didn’t find a buddy or a life partner anyway. I say do what feels right.

And keep a good stash of AAs handy in case you run into my friend.

The Drip



After rotating through Match.com, Chemistry.com, eHarmony.com and yes, even jDate, I decided to quit the online circuit and go it ‘au natural’. I’d meet a man the old fashioned way; in the grocery store, running at the park, at work, heck maybe even walking my dogs in the neighborhood. I committed to clean clothes, clean hair and a winning smile at all times. Maybe it would just ‘happen’ if I stopped looking.
Fast forward 8 months; I was in the biggest ‘dry spell’ of my life and my 40thbirthday was looming. Apparently ‘stopping looking’, that old mantra of the married and the recently hooked up doesn’t always result in the arrival of ‘the One’. In my case it resulted in the arrival of a case of wine and a new vibrator.
Halfway into a bottle of Chablis on a Friday night I decided to admit defeat and return to my spiritual and sexual home, Match.com. Now that my vision of ‘finding the one’ had long been replaced by ‘finding a regular hook up who can fix my garage door opener and pays for dinner on occasion’, surely Match.com could find something along those lines for me?
Cue Eric. Tall, dark, skinny with a witty profile, that exuded self effacement and modesty with profile pictures of a wilderness man – bearded, backpacked and beaming. And the photos were crystal clear. No wonky eye or mole in evidence. In fact, he looked just my type and a good ‘friend’ candidate regardless – our hobbies matched and he said he ‘loved other people’s dogs’. Well it was a start.
Cutting to the chase, I emailed him to get the ball rolling and a ‘casual coffee/ interview’ was scheduled within a few weeks. Over the years I’ve come to hate the ‘cup of coffee’ interview. You’re being assessed, you’re over caffeinated and it’s typically daylight. You can’t dress up or you’re ‘trying too hard’, you can’t dress down or you’re ‘not making an effort’. Add to that the sign that magically appears over your head ‘On a First Date’ to everyone in the coffee ship and it makes for an uncomfortable hour for anyone. Plus, unlike the evening ‘drink’ option, you know no-one is going on a coffee date and getting laid, so any excessive flirtation feels seamy and anything other than a handshake, too forward. 
Back to Eric. We arrange to meet for coffee and a ‘walk in the park’, a suggestion I give him props for. Walking and talking is always more relaxed. You’re not staring into each other’s eyes and awkward silences can be disguised as ‘taking in the scenery’. Plus he offer to ‘walk a dog’ if I needed to. Since walking my dogs is about as relaxing as water-skiing (and feels somewhat similar), I declined but appreciated the dog friendly approach. Maybe this was going to be the start of something good. Not great, but good. 
He approached me standing in line and I was shocked. He was exactly as he’d looked in his photos. Twinkling eyes, beaming smile, dark hair, skinny and tall, tall, tall. Yum. We sojourned to the park and walked for an hour, jumping from topic to topic with ease and laughing at the usual oddballs enjoying the park.He was charming. He didn’t talk about himself and yet conversation was fun and easy. I was thrilled when he asked me out on a real date, ‘for dinner’ the following week.
Our second date morphed from dinner to a ‘home cooked’ dinner. In agreeing to host, I envisioned us laughing over wine, leisurely picking through the courses and then retiring to the sofa to watch the fire, maybe make out. 
Opening my front door, I was surprised to be greeted by a handshake and an empty handed one at that. Trying not to be mealy mouthed, I put Eric’s lack of wine or flowers down to his lack of artifice, which also explained his crumpled lumberjack shirt and unshaved face.  He was comfortable with me. He didn’t need to impress. And this was just a casual dinner – nothing fancy.  Of course a welcome gift would have been nice, or even a ‘lovely home’ comment .. but hey, he was a guy. Maybe he wasn’t brought up that way?
I welcomed him into the kitchen and we chatted while I opened the wine. Surprisingly he waived his hand and declined with a frown;
‘I don’t drink wine’
‘Oh. Can I get you something else?’
Actually I don’t drink alcohol’
‘Oh….’
‘Oh nothing like that. I don’t like the taste and it makes people stupid’
Oh boy. Good job he hadn’t met me on a Friday night out. Or during my 20s. Or last week. Actually this wasn’t going to be easy.  I’d never been on a date with someone who didn’t drink anything. It seemed unnatural. And not something I was planning on adopting. Suddenly my movie of the evening was revising itself… never mind. No wine, but we still had delicious food, a fire, Miles…
‘Can you turn the music down?
‘Sure. Would you prefer something different?
‘Actually I don’t really like music’
‘Oh’
Damn. I’d been so focused on checking for moles and detached retinas that I hadn’t noticed his lack of music ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’. Who doesn’t like music? Its like saying you don’t like birdsong. Or laughing. Or wine. 
As Miles was silenced I moved back to the kitchen. Eric asked probing questions about my countertops and tiling, commenting on their unusual nature without offering any opinion. I was reminded of my mother’s comments before I left the house on a teenage date ‘Mmmm that’s an interesting outfit’.  My countertops were ‘interesting’, my kitchen was ‘interesting’, my house was ‘unusual’ and I was ‘interesting’. Hmm that couldn’t be good. I like to think I’m interesting, but not alongside my countertops and tiling. After all, I don’t want to make out with them. 
We ate in silence, only punctuated by his requests for more tap water and my litany of questions intended to regain the banter and ease of our first date. His work, his hobbies, his friends… it all petered out and I found myself back on the subject of my kitchen. That had seemed to stir his interest, maybe that could put him at ease and get things going again. He didn’t seem to want to talk about himself or even ask me about myself, but maybe I just needed to get him going. 
20 minutes into his soliloquy on faucets (stainless steel or brushed nickel), I regretted my tactic. As he informed me that he’d spent the last 4 weeks traveling around the state choosing his new shower faucet I realized that while Eric might not talk much about himself, he sure could talk a lot about faucets. And flooring. And tiling. And grout.
I know that everyone has the aptitude to get a little obsessed when you’re working on a project, but this was insane. 20 minutes on faucets. 45 minutes on grout colors and consistencies.
I tried changing the subject. I mean everyone likes to talk about themselves right? 
‘So I saw in your profile that you recently went to Costa Rica. That sounds amazing. What did you get to do? Were you diving?
‘Actually funny you should say that. I had the most amazing shower in Costa Rica. It had these really cool pebbles inset on the floor and you’d think they’d be uncomfortable but actually……….. and guess what, I’m going to have those very same pebbles inset in floor of my shower!.. its amazing  the colors you can get and you can arrange them in any design and I’m thinking of going blue and some pink….. but you know its really hard to make a decision about the size and the degree of smoothness, but because you have really smooth but then you might slip but too rough and its like having your feet loofah’d every time you shower and who wants that right….’
Pebbles for his shower floor.  For 35 minutes. 
I yawned. I stretched. I didn’t refill his water glass and he continued on. Moving from faucets to flooring, from kitchens to paint. Time took on new meaning. I felt the Botox leaving my forehead. I could hear dust settling. But without stimulus and in the quiet of my living room and I realize Eric’s downfall. He was a bore. He might be tall, skinny and good looking. His eyes might twinkle and he might have outstanding taste in home improvement but his personality was DOA. Along with my hope of a new beau.