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.

Doing the Match.com ‘Season’

A girlfriend and I recently discussed taking ourselves off Match.com. It seems the 2013 relationship ‘season’ is over and its time to hang up the witty email banter for another year as we move into the frigid (literally) months of winter.
Over our time on Match we’ve noticed that April – June is the influx season of new blood. As we shed off our winter parkas and shift that stubborn muffin top, Match.com sees huge numbers signing up to get looks, get love, get laid. By summer the takings are picked over but still rich. By October its a cold day in dating land as the losers languish and the marginally date-worthy hunker down for the winter with their current squeeze or *gasp* alone.  Long term divorcees (cue the noon martini, french cigarillo and feather boas), we’ve both been off and on Match for a few years… we know the drill.

Yes, I said years.

It sounds bad but its actually more common than you think. Especially if you’re divorced with a modicum of taste. You sign up, you post a profile, filter out the 121 guys with beards, lifted trucks and pot bellies then go on a few dates. Find a guy you actually want to see again and take yourself off match. 12 weeks later that’s over (his profile omitted the ex girlfriend he was in love with, his terrible technique in bed, his $100K in debt).. You take a break..then.. bored out of your mind with nary a date for months, you head back on Match. You can wait around and meet people through all those ‘activities’ that dating books tell you about – but frankly I do all that stuff and everyone I meet wants to date a 33 yr old.  Which I.. will never be.

So, if you’re over 40 and you want to meet someone (as a woman) you have two choices: invest in a mini skirt and head to the nearest cougar palace, or go online.I’m saving the cougar palace for my 50s.. so Match it is.

Plus is it wrong to want to eat dinner across the table from a dude who finds me attractive?  Since working at home leaves me slim pickings (the UPS guy, the USPS guy, the Fed Ex guy… men with packages basically)… its sort of sad, (I know), but Match can at least deliver me a dinner date. (NOTE: the Match ROI balances out pretty fast).

But back to the influx theorem. Over the years my girlfriend and I have noticed this strange Match.com wave that hits around April, peaks around August and fades (with your tan) around the beginning of the holidays. We’ve signed up in October, looked around and immediately renewed our Netflix. Join in June and prepare to be wined and dined (or at least emailed to death.).. but as the leaves fall, its chubby Dave and his 3 kids in suburbia or nothing*.

Why? Is it because spring brings excitement and joy, new energy and lighter days? Are relationships in their death throes finally ended with some vigor and enthusiasm to find a new ‘one’? Or are the cold winds of winter too much of a match for… Match? Do the long days of a sequestered winter kill all relationship desire or is it winter weight that keeps men tethered to the sofa until the end of March? Am I doomed to eat alone until spring 2014 rolls around and I can date a decent man again???

Why? why? why the October slump?

1 word.

Football.

See you next year Match.

*(nothing against Dave, but Dave’s tend to not want to expose the kids to my tattoos, motorcycle or swearing).

Do bears shit in the woods? Boyfriends do..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘What about your water?’

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

‘…..’

‘I figured we could share?’

‘For 5 days??????’

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

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

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

‘…!@#@#$%^&*????’

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

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

‘But whyyyyyyyyyy?’

‘….’

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

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

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

‘Oh now you want to talk?’

Scooter took out his camera and stopped on the trail,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘AWESOME!!. We can have sex

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

Boomerangs: Those ones who never quite go away

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.