The new trend in dating: Pen Pals

Its no secret that I go on a lot of first dates. Not deliberately.. I’m always hoping for a pen palsecond, third but you have to start somewhere. Since I work at home, finding first dates has largely come from the occasional IRL connection, and of course, the ubiquitous dating app. After a few atrocious experiences in 2014, I decided to take a break, assuming that my ‘dial a date’ apps would always be there as a source of ‘crap interviews with alcohol’. After a solitary few years I decided enough was enough and decided to get back in the game.

Which apparently now has new rules.

The first being that one is no longer required to go on a date. Connecting on an app now seems to largely involve texting. After all, why try and impress, pay for a drink or even put on pants? Why bother when you can just text?

What I first thought was bad luck has steadily emerged as a trend over the last few months. I kept finding myself on the receiving end of daily texts, photo shares and rambling conversations with dudes I’d never met. First I assumed the guy was busy. Then I assumed married or in a relationship. But after some thorough research, I learned that this is a new norm. The guys who show interest, have no interest in actually meeting. They just like chatting to random strangers.

When a first date didn’t happen for a few weeks, but the texts kept rolling in, it finally dawned on me that I was never going to meet this guy. After texting him to stop contacting me unless he was in Denver, ready for a date, I was met by a barrage of criticism. His main compliant? I’d “broken up with him” over text.

A man I’d never met, never had a date with, thought we were ‘in a relationship’ and he ‘couldn’t believe I’d end it without “discussion”.   I’m still trying to unstick my jaw from the floor on that one.

Next up a pilot who lives just 2 miles from my house, and as a pilot, only works 22 hrs a week. He seemed super interested, but again one week, then two weeks passed and I realized I’d landed myself another texting buddy.

Its now 8 months later and I’ve not had a single date. I’ve had 6 or 7 ‘wannabe’ texting buddies but haven’t even broken out my eyeliner, never mind my sexy pants. 

Being forced to google ‘text buddy, never wants to meet, why?’ at the age of 45 was humiliating even before I hit Search. That all the results were from teenage magazines, even more embarrassing. That I hadn’t realized guys my age want their egos stroked by as many chicks as a 13 yr old… well, I really should know better. These guys just wanted to know they were wanted. Interesting to some chick. ANY chick.

I had a pen pal as an 10 yr old.  It was boring then and its tedious now. You can’t go on a date with a text message and it sure won’t keep you warm in bed. So any guy now who wants to text me more than a few times,  gets an invitation to join ‘PenPalWorld’ right before I block his number.

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 dating resume

I’m not kidding. The dating resume is a thing. I’ve seen several posted on men’s profile general-resume-11pages. Dating has officially become as difficult as landing that job you want.

There are also a few guys I wish had written and posted them before the actual date… but that’s another story.

Back to the resume. I always assumed resumes were about work, but since first dates increasingly feel like interviews, I guess it was only a matter of time before I was reading some guy’s “Relationship Goal” and checking out his ‘Special skills’. It was pretty helpful to read about his relationship history (like an actual resume, its always the short tenure or long gaps between that generate the most questions for me.

“Susie: April – July 2010. Casual ” Hmm. Wonder if she had the ‘where is this going?” conversation too soon? Maybe she didn’t like oral or maybe he got dumped for continuing to Tinder? I’ll never know and really, do I need to?? Honestly the only one which matters is “Lisa: Aug 2010 – Present. Married”.

Special skills always seems to be an interesting one. I’ve seen actual skills (‘carpentry, cycling, investing’). fun skills (‘Arson level campfire starter’, accomplished bullshitter’) and then the downright weird (‘my hands are so big I can lift a 2 year old on just one’ – #whydoyouknowthis). My favorite one was a guy who’d actually created the image of slider rules to indicate his proficiency in areas such as ‘fashion’ ‘help you find your keys’ and ‘sexy time’ (ranked from -5 to +5). Funnily enough he ranked himself 4.5 on the sexy time. #biasedreview

My absolute favorite though was the guy who created a pie chart to show how he spent his time. Honestly… genius. Segments included ‘fixing things I should have left alone’ ‘trying new things’ and ‘not enjoying new things I’m trying’. Now that’s a guy I can get on board with.

I don’t think I’m quite at the stage of writing a resume for dating yet (too busy fighting the #bitchesbecrazy stereotype), but it did give me pause.

When your special skills include walking in excruciating shoes, showing up 15 minutes early to everything (and then judging you for being on time), and forgetting everything you ever said instantly after a glass of wine.. its probably best to get that out in front.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

The fishing is kind of ..swampy…

swampNow that I’ve changed the options on my dating profile to include leftovers dudes up to 55, I have to admit, my options seem to have increase 10 fold. The number of winks, likes, emails and stalkers is currently up into triple digits and while I’m going to wait a while until I venture out with another 50 something for a first date (I need to recoup some dignity after being ignored for a Pirates game), here’s a choice select of the options currently rotating through my ‘Viewed Me’ list. Got to say, the pool might be bigger.. but it’s certainly filled with ‘interesting’ fish.

Urbansoldier77

Now lets not judge. I am sure Urbansoldier77  is more than just a gun-toting NRA member. Sure, his 23 photos do feature him in various hunting attire, armed with multiple firearms (including something that looks like a prop from The Expendables) And yes, he does seem very proud to showcase his dead animal collection, but I think there’s more to this guy. I mean I’m a little nervous about the snake tattoo that wraps from his wrist up to his neck, complete with dagger and dripping blood, but maybe its a Asian art thing? His arms do look a little  ‘roidish’ but he claims that if ‘you can’t stand the pathetic sight of your boyfriend squirming and straining to get the jar open’ he’s the guy for me. Now I’ve been chief jar opener in my house for the last ummm 28 years, so I’m thinking ‘no’ but ‘thanks’. He likes to adventure down a trail, kayak, workout (clearly) and …play wheelchair rugby?. ….. oh. So I guess that explains the arms then. Suddenly all that gun-toting and hunting takes on a whole new element. How does one hunt in a wheelchair? I mean… I am seriously impressed and depressed. You really must want to kill things to get yourself up at 3am and wheel yourself down a deer trail to kill Bambi. I’m not sure that’s a passion I really can’t get my head around.

Doss std

Now I don’t think that ‘Doss’ really checked out his profile name, but putting aside the venereal disease associations, I decided anyone with such a ballsy name had to have something going for them. After all he gave me several likes and sent me an email. Lets have a look. So Dos is 54 and a widower, (awesome – someone loved him once), loves gardening (don’t we all), carries a few extra pounds…(not ideal but…), is 5 ft 0″ (wowser) and “is 75% handicapped”. Oh.  WTF with the handicapped dudes and my profile??? Do they NOT see the cycling photos? The backpacking photos? My expressed love of hiking? I’m sorry Dos.. you might be awesome (even though you state that you have ‘few friends’), but you didn’t even promise to open my jars. I think I’m leaning towards Urbansoldier on this one.

Rexclambake

Rex, I have to say, is a good looking dude. In a sort of rugged, beardy, “I’m off to hike the Himalayas next week” way. He’s 47 and never been married (hmmm issues?), but he is 6 ft 5 and no wheelchair in any photos. Now apparently he ‘makes a fantastic pea soup’ which makes me a little nervous .. does Rex considers soup a big attractor for woman? If that’s his big ‘in’ then I’m gonna have to go with ‘pass’. I mean, I make a pretty good pea soup myself. But hey, lets give the guy a chance. ‘I like to get lost in new cities’ (don’t you have Google, Rex?), and ‘can wander for days’ (seriously dude, Google maps…). Rex is also… oh.. ‘a Fire Captain with the Antarctic Fire Department’. So not so much ‘based in Denver’ as ‘checking out Denver from 13,000 miles away. Now Rex, I’m thrilled that you think I’m a winner, but even I have my limits on long distance relationships. And 13,000 miles might be it.

Paganbeast57

I am not kidding. A man decided to call himself Pagan beast online and email me a note saying ‘What do you think?’. O-kaaaaay. Lets see what’s on offer. No photo (bummer) but his headline is ‘Sunset surprises and full moon fantasties (sp)’ Seems Pagan beast is making up for his lack of spelling with some lunar driven imagination. Why I’m suddenly thinking about hairy men and bonfires is beside the point.. maybe there’s something else? Except there isn’t. Pagan beast’s entire profile is this:

.And.

Wowser. That’s some Buddhist shit right there. It’s so everything and nothing. All encompassing and yet telling me absolutely nothing about him. WTF dude? Who responds to this shit????? Sorry Pagan Beast. You might eclipse (geddit?) all other men, but I can’t realistically respond to “.And.”

So you’ve dipped your toe into my over 50 dating pool. The water’s kind of funky no? 2 guys in wheelchairs, a dude in the Antarctic and a Pagan weirdo. I think I’m gonna wait around a while until the scum clears and I can actually see some kind of fish before heading out on date #2 of the fall. Until then all I’m reeling in is tin cans.

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.

 

Dating the ‘Separated’

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

Lying you say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have been warned.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Questions.. questions….

QuestionsAfter the last round of doofus’s from match.com left me wondering if I really should just stop even hoping for a boyfriend before my Golden Girls years and investigate lesbianism in the meantime (never mind my fear of boobs and other people’s lady bits) I took the advice of a male friend and signed myself up for OkCupid.

His rationale?

‘You’ve got a banging body and you’ll get action a lot faster’

he added,

‘plus if nothing else the ego trip will do you good’

He was not wrong.

To my single people over 40, brush aside your prejudices, you have nothing to lose but a little dignity. Plus its a whole other world of dating options.

You want a poly bi sexual male, age 38 with a PHD in organic chemistry and a penchant for BDSM? Oh he’s out there. Of course his profile doesn’t actually say that… but its all available in the most rudimentary form. Via questions.

OKCupid asks you question, after question, after question.

And not your ‘do you like watching sports’ generic crap. Oh nooooo. OkCupid narrows it down to everything from your thoughts on feet to your role in any upcoming BDSM scenarios.

Yes, some questions are patently ridiculous and not exactly critical for selecting a date…

‘Do you think women are obligated to shave their legs?’

and

‘Do you like roller-coasters?’

But a lot of the questions actually, weirdly make sense. They certainly help you short cut through the minefield of weirdness that is other people. Here’s a brief selection of the 500+ questions you can answer on OkCupid.

1. Which is bigger the sun or the moon? Intended to root out the retarded amongst the OKCupid population, this is a great starter question to make sure that any dude you even respond to, has the IQ to read your email.

2. How clean is your bathroom? Sort of makes sense. Especially after one guy I dated briefly last year… YIKES. Upon reflection, a photo of your sink should probably be mandatory on all dating sites.  Would have saved me a few weeks and a one huge gross out moment. If you can’t keep your sink clean, I dread to think that’s going on ‘below the equator’.

3. Could Evolution and Intelligence Design both be right? I LOVE that they ask this question. Totally weeds out the people I don’t even need to have a conversation with. Because while most sane people will agree in Evolution, when you offer up ‘Intelligent Design’ as a parallel option, all kinds of weirdness rises to the surface. Plus it saves me from every having the ‘chicken and egg’ discussion on a date. ever. again.

4. Do wild places such as mountains, rivers, forest and the ocean call out to you? Ok sounds sorta hippy, but living in Colorado, if they don’t, I’d have to question your sanity in choice of residence. Plus given my own Sport Billy tendencies, if you don’t like the mountains, its not even worth a cup of coffee because we’d never see each other. Like ever.

5. Do you talk to your pets? I honestly think this is a really good indicator on a bazillion levels. First off, you clearly need to have pets to answer, which weeds out those who are ‘dead inside’ or who can’t take any responsibility for anything other than themselves. Second of all, if you have a pet, who wouldn’t talk to it? It’s a living breathing thing.. even if it’s a hamster. And as a fellow animal, we all need a little conversation. Plus any guy who doesn’t have a conversation with his pet… well its just downright weird.

6. Should your mate also become your best friend? This one is a great way to identify how people feel about romantic partners. And there literally is NO right answer. Yes, we’d all want our mates to be the person to whom you tell everything and share everything. But is your mate ranked above all other FRIENDS?  Codependant? yes. Healthy? ummmmm. A great question to weed out any potential stalkers or shut ins.

7. Are you sexually attracted to inanimate objectives? Lord, I am so glad this question is in here. Weird as it might seem, they’re asking… because these people exist. And while I welcome all kinds of weirdness and wild activity into the bedroom, a stuffed animal, an inflatable sheep or a Dewalt drill are not welcome.

8. How was your childhood? With options ranging from ‘Wonderful’ to ‘Awful and I have emotional issues as a result’, this one is a real window into the person. To be honest, if I’d had asked this of my ex husband on date 1, I’d probably have saved 5 years. Which upon reflection is sort of sad and disturbing. Do I wish those 5 years had never happened?  Hell no. And do I really want to date someone who had a ‘Wonderful’ childhood. Who has a ‘Wonderful’ childhood? What kind of sick weirdo is this guy? See… these questions are DEEP man…

9. Receiving anal sexy? Well hang on now.. isn’t this kind of a question for like the 10th date? Seems sort of uncool to have that out there in public. And well.. I’m not sure how I feel about a) guys answering it period and b) I’m not sure I need to know before I’ve even said hello to a dude in person. Sort of takes the fun out of things??

10. Once you’re  intimate, how often would you and your partner have sex? Whoaaa. I really don’t need to know this much information about someone before I’ve met the guy. And I certainly couldn’t answer this question until I’d actually done the deed with the guy. What if it’s great initially but quickly gets boring? Any answer is going to be a stretch goal if it sucks.. plus what if it’s the best sex of your life, and you low ball you answer and the guy is intimidated by your presumed insatiable desire? This question makes me feel like I’m signing a contract with a guy I haven’t met yet. Sorry OkCupid, ‘pass’. having said that.. if any guy says weekly or monthly.. I’m passing on him too.

So, if you’d like to know everything about your date from his intelligence level, to his moral compass, his predilection for wearing diapers and whether he talks to his mother every day… join OkCupid. The TMI of online dating.

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.

I’m not looking honest

men-yoga1I, like many other women, like yoga. I’ve been attending classes since 2002 when I moved to Boulder and they mandated it as part of our rental agreement (or so I assumed). I love yoga – its very calming and yet energetic, it can kick your ass and your abs without you noticing and you get really comfortable with  screaming pain discomfort on occasion.

(you try balancing on your forearms in a handstand.. there’s some “discomfort”)

However, yoga seems to be a very gender based activity. In 12 years, I’ve seen a man in a class, on average, once a month. They come in two types; hairy old man and douchebag.

Hairy old man (HOM) is typically in his 50-70s, has grey stringy hair, age spots covering 100% of his body and he’s generally the dude at the back of the class (maximum orbital access to ass). These guys laugh a lot, they can be leery on occasion, but tends to make friends with all the 50 something ladies at the back so he’s pretty harmless. The HOM can’t touch his toes yet, despite attending class for 15 years, but he doesn’t take any of it too seriously, and likes to rock his old saggy gym shorts and a baggy t shirt for every class.

Douchebag (D) is typically between 28 and 48, has a shaved head (or dreads) and goatee , has the requisite Hindu tattoos up and down his arms, legs and back and loves to take off his shirt during class. This guy is always a brunette, probably a vegan and has no compunction about wearing clam diggers and a wife beater to class. He’s usually on his way from, or off to, India/ Tibet/Cambodia/ Vietnam and  seems like the male equivalent of the manic pixie dream girl. Douchebags love doing inversions, handstands or anything where they demonstrate their shoulder strength.

There are no other men at yoga.

(Just sayin’ dudes)

Except. Except on very very rare occasions there are. Whether a girlfriend bribed them to attend, they were told to do yoga as part of injury rehab or they’re just trying new things, on occasion a new dude shows up in class.

The ladies up to this point have been fairly tuned out to our surroundings. We ignore the douchebag talking about the fabulous new brand of seitan he’s found. Ignoring the HOM laughing about his grandchildren. We’re just thankful to not be sitting in front of our computers or in a car, or in front of the tv. We’re on our mats and waiting for class to start. Most of us are gorping off into space, completely oblivious to everyone and everything. In fact, thats why we’re there.

Then you can almost hear the ears prick up as we sense something different, a strange dynamic has entered the room….but before a single one of us can turn around to see what it is, class starts and we’re all instructed to close our eyes.

Which signals the start of a 90 minute class where 20 women are all trying to simultaneously check out a new male in the class while focusing on our inner selves and holding extremely steady poses.

‘Bending at the waist into triangle’… the girl in front of me, tries to pivot her torso, so her head faces towards the ‘mystery man’.

‘Moving into crow pose’.. the chick to my left crouches into the pose, then topples over as she tries to catch a glimpse.

‘Extending into full dancer’.. I stretch my arms backwards to catch hold of my foot which is approximately level with my head, and casually look towards the stranger…as I slowly fall sideways into another chick.

Hmm.. can’t see any tattoos. Doesn’t seem to have shaved head or dreadlocks. Isn’t that old. Is just wearing regular gym attire… Hmmm… do we actually have… no.. it couldn’t be.. a straight normal guy in class!!!???

Poor things. They must feel the stares. The assessment. For some, the delight in some new eye candy. For others, a source of future obsession. But for now, he’s what every single woman in the class wants him to be.

To that chick with the matching Lulumon pants and top? He’s a consultant, single, no kids and extremely wealthy. Probably taking up yoga to keep his stress under control. Definitely dateworthy and probably could be lured by perky butt if he comes to class often enough.

To the woman who’s well into her 50s but immaculately Botoxed into her 40s’, he’s a well managed 40 something, post divorce, loves fine dining and is looking for friends with benefits with no strings attached.

For the slightly chubby chick in her twenties, he’s a 30 something guy who’s been out in the sun too much and loves everything she does. He’s a vegan, drives a Prius and works for a solar panel company.

And to the instructor, he’s a source of amusement as the women all around her swivel their heads, check out his right hand and his ass while trying to maintain some composure. Yes, they’re all emptying their minds.. sure…

Funny really, how those guys never come back to class. I wonder why?

 

8 reasons why I’m not calling you back

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

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

Sounds rigid? Youbetcha.

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

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

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

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

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

1. You tell me you hate your job.

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

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

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

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

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

4. Why so serious?

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

5. Its takes two

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

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

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

6. Liar Liar

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

7. Not feelin’ it

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

8. The phantom caller

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

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

Profile no no’s

Sexy-manThis week seems to have been ‘scary’ week on Match.com. Not content with sending me every sexagenarian (look it up, and no, its not sexy) in the Denver metro area, now they’re sending me all the socially awkward weirdos with the writing skills of an 8 year old. I should know, my niece is 8 years old and could write profiles better than this. (And she believes babies come from tomato plants and that being a princess is a career option)

Apparently the guys writing these profiles aren’t far from that. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or just send helpful hints. Someone needs to help these guys out because no woman is ever getting close enough to actually tell them that their profile sucks.

1. Seeeexxxxxxy Guy

This guy seems to have just discovered his penis. In fact, he’d like to show it to you. Or at least mention it a lot. He thinks you might need reminding that dating leads to sex and so he’s going to mention his desire, his passion, how he’ll seduce you and the role of food in wooing you (no, I’m not kidding). Y’know.. because its all about sex. And he wants to make sure that you know that. Did I mention how much I enjoy making love to a special lady? Sadly what this guy doesn’t realize is that photographing a plate of salmon and broccoli  and adding it to your Match.com profile as ‘food porn’ is about a sexy as .. well salmon and broccoli on Match.com. Anyone who talks about making love to a lady as an introduction to himself isn’t going to be ‘making love’ to anyone but himself.  Hope he likes salmon and broccoli.

2. Bitter? Party of one?

He loves his kids. He loves his job. He’s busy and committed. He’s learned a lot and he’s in a good place. He’s looking for someone special. (And he hates his ex with a passion shared for 9/11 terrorists and clowns). He wants someone who’s honest (because she wasn’t), who’s independent (she wouldn’t let him go out with his buddies) and who doesn’t play games (she got the good car in the divorce). He appreciates women who can dress up (his ex wore yoga pants for 7 years straight) and who can hang in jeans and a tee (those yoga pants were damn expensive). He wants someone who’s open (he didn’t see the divorce coming) and who’s a good communicator (bitch was yeller). FYI – he has a great relationship with his ex and he’s not looking for a Mom for his kids (except when he has to work late).

Bitter man might have done the time, but he’s still living the crime. Guess who you’re talking about on date #2?

3. ‘I seem much much younger’ guy

I know my profile says I’m 45, ( I’m actually 49) but all of my friends say I act much much younger and I pass for 32 most of the time.  And hey, I’m up for anything. I shun responsibility and you can find me anywhere doing anything at anytime. Ignore the fact that I’m a year from 50.. I can hang with the kids. And I do.

Mr.’I’m really young’ aka ‘I’m an immature fool who’s terrified of aging’ is the ultimate turn off to women. We don’t want to date a man who claims to look much much younger… if he did, he wouldn’t need to say it. After all, we can see your photo.. and its not screaming ‘youth’. Its sort of whispering ‘desperation’ and ‘hair plugs’. Now hands up who wants to date that old creepy guy at the college bar? Exactly.

4.’Here’s some pictures of me in the 80s’ guy

Unless grunge is back in fashion or you’re going to a costume party we know that those photos are old. Maybe you still drive a 87 Corolla but we doubt it and we can see that in some photos your hair is brown and others it grey. So unless you’re POTUS, we know there’s some time lapse going on in your photo profile. We get it, everyone has some good shots they want to post when they were doing something cool or looking pretty good, but honestly, please post some which actually still resemble you. If you’ve gained 25lbs or gone bald in the last few years it might be good to know.. if only so that we get to ditch the correct guy in the bar. And no, if you show up and you’re clearly not the guy in the photo we.will.notice.  And no, we won’t be sympathetic.  It works both ways guys..both ways.

5. ‘Work in progress’ guy

There’s nothing on his profile -not even a picture- but he likes you. You know he’s 6 ft 1 and single but other than that, everything else is blank or ‘I’ll tell you later’. Its great that you want to put yourself out there to date, but honestly we’re going to need more than your height and a confirmation of your dating status to go on. We’re looking but we’ve not that desperate.  I know women can be accused of being picky, but c’mon dude. Give us something. Sending us a note or a ‘wink’ with nothing else to go on is the equivalent of a drive by cat call. Pretty fucking useless as a way to meet women. And if you’re just using the site to access jack off photos.. why not just click on some free porn?

6. Sports guy

I love hanging with my buddies and watching the game. Go Bears! I have season tickets to the game.. which one? All of them. Me and my buddies like to hit the occasional sports bar and play some pool when there’s not a game on. I love tailgating, BBQs with my buds and kicking back on the sofa with a beer and a movie. FYI I love my mom.

I know, just know that for some chicks out there this might be ‘dream man’, but I honestly think this woman only exists on TV sitcoms. This guy – according to his profile -spends all of his free time watching sports and hanging with dudes. Just like he did when he was 21.  Which means your role, should you choose to accept it, is to accompany this guy to every professional or college sports game in the metro area. Our future? College football games, red cups of keg beer in fall, a 70 inch plasma tv and a whole bunch of sofa sitting while I stand in the kitchen with the other ‘halves’ making dip and bitching about our neighbors. How.. tell me how… is this attractive? Appealing to any woman? Ok, I know I’m not American but really? Do these women exist?

So there you have it. A quick sift through my potential ‘matches’ of the week.

Needless to say I won’t be indulging in food porn, listening to someone bitch about their ex, downing shots or hitting up a sports bar. Hell no, I’m 41.. and I think there’s an Ink Master marathon on.

Lies I’ve been told: The Men Edition

PinochioA report out today said that within the US, the average person tells 13 lies every day (and yes, I totally made that up). But lies are a fact (?) of life.. and over time you get pretty savvy about being able to spot them. The lies men tell you? Well lets just say us ladies spend a lot of time on the learning curve.

Here are some of the lies I’ve been told… read them, remember them and don’t be fooled. Sorry but he’s not different and yes, he is lying.

I forgot my wallet

Unless the guy is standing in front of you with no pants .. sorry but he’s lying. Unlike women, men have pockets for 2 things – keys and money. So unless he forgot to put on pants, he didn’t forget.. he chose to leave his money at home.  Which means you’re paying.. something he decided before you’d even put on your underwear.  I fell for this one so many times with one guy that I actually bought him a wallet chain. Which he ‘lost’.

Yes.. I was that gullible.

I love women who don’t wear makeup

No, no you don’t. What you think you like – me au natural -is the result of 15 minutes of tinted moisturizer, concealer, powder, eyeliner, blush and lip tint. Those times when you think I’m looking a bit ill? That’s me without makeup. However this one isn’t a lie they know they’re telling.. so I guess they get a pass.

I think you look gorgeous at any size

Aka.. yes your butt does look fat in that. He’ll never say it, but this lie generally means ‘you could lose a few’. Sure he thinks you look gorgeous. After all, you are the one who’s sleeping with him and hell, if he didn’t find you attractive he wouldn’t be doing that. But ‘gorgeous at any size’? Really? Honey Boo Boo mother size? Gabourey Sidibe (aka Precious) size? I’m going to go with –no– but thanks for being nice.

I love dogs

Yes all men love dogs. In fact most men love dogs SO much they’d totally have one or two.. except they just don’t have time for one right now. But they love them…right up to around Date 4 when they suddenly find that they don’t love dogs as much as they thought. “Do you have to bring your dog over with you?” “Does your dog have to watch us in bed?” “Why can’t your dog stay at home over night without you?” “Can your dog sleep outside the tent cos he’s kind of stinky?” Reality – the only guys who love dogs are those who have them. The rest.. well they’re just ashamed cat people.

I don’t have time for a relationship right now

What he means is ‘with you’. In fact, the only time he has available for you is when he’s had 7 beers and is feeling kinda horny, or he needs an ego boost. Its been said a million times, but if a guy wants to be with you.. he’ll make time. Even POTUS makes time. If he can’t make time.. its because he doesn’t want to.  Weirdly enough, guys rarely say that don’t have time for a shag… why is that? Hmmmm.

I’ll call you.

No. No you won’t. The guy who wants to see you again actually says ‘we’ll talk soon’ or ‘I’ll give you a ring on Tuesday’ or even ‘See you again soon’.  But pay close attention.. a guy who isn’t going to call, always .. to a man.. says ‘I’ll call you’. Why? What you didn’t hear was the word ‘never‘ that he mentally added to the sentence. So while you’re checking your phone every 10 minutes for the next 6 days, he’s already forgotten your name. So if you hear those words at the end of your date, I’m sorry but save yourself some time.

I’ll just put in the tip

.. quickly followed by everything else. Don’t fall for this lie ladies.. Just as no man ever climbed up Everest but stopped 10 feet from the top because he figured ‘good enough’, no guy has ever gotten into your pants for ‘just the tip’.  He’s planting the flag ladies, regardless of what he says.

Porn does nothing for me.

Rigghhhhhttt.  Ladies, every guy looks at porn. Every. single. one. And no, your guy isn’t different. He’s lying. In fact, last year a group of researchers in Montreal were unable to carry out a study comparing the views of men who had never watched porn with those of regular users.  Why? Because they couldn’t find any men who didn’t look at porn. Non. Because all guys look at porn. Which has to lead me to the conclusion that it does do something for guys. All guys. (sorry).

And finally.. sadly…

Of course I love you

Skrrreeek. Everyone loves to hear ‘I Love You’ but when he adds qualifiers or modifiers around those three delightful words… well… hate to break it…. but ….well.. he might not, actually, love you. What he is actually saying is more along the lines of ‘Do we really need to get into this now?’ or ‘I don’t, but I really don’t want to have to break up with you just yet’ or ‘women.. so damn insecure’. None of which are actually a declaration of love. And don’t get me started on that whole Patrick Swayze ‘ditto’ crap… that’s about as loving as pottery is sexy.

(NOTE: I asked a girlfriend for some of the lies that men have told her and she replied ‘Sorry but I’ve never been lied to by a man’……yes, I’m still laughing)

Dating ‘dad’

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. ‘My kids are my life’ Dad

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

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

2. Absent Dad

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

3. Bitter Dad

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

4.Sex mad dad

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

5. ‘Looking for Mom 2.0’ Dad

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

6. Judgmental Dad

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

And finally, we have ‘Unicorn Dad’.

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

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

You’re going to need a bigger boat

You’re going to need a bigger funnel

In writing a post about my dating habits yesterday I suddenly realized that while I write a lot about dating.. I only actually meet 3 or 4 guys a year. Which if you’re married doesn’t sound that bad.. (I’m sure if your spouse is rocking the moobs or a spare tire suitable for the 4Runner it sounds positively appealing).. but as single person that’s actually pretty horrific.Why? Let me explain the concept of ‘The Funnel’

(And thanks Hope for recommending the book that shared this concept, and has led to me lying awake at night sweating at the thought of how completely unlikely it will be that I will ever refer to anyone as my boyfriend before I join AARP)

The Funnel
So lets say that you’re in a room of 200 guys. All single and eligible (i.e. not on parole, not married, not likely to be 5150’d anytime soon). How many are you attracted to? Lets assume 50.  Ok, you’re not as blind as me.. say 20 (10%). If you were to talk to those 20 for 5 -10 minutes, how many would you go on a first date with? Lets say since they’re ‘eligible’ and you’re not interviewing for role of ‘husband’, lets say half of them, or around 10. How many of those first dates turn into second dates? Well since both of you can opt out.. lets say 5. And from those 5, how many progress through dates 2, 3, 7.. whatever… to actual sex?  And keep going? Maybe 1. (If you’re lucky and he’s not hung like a 5 yr old or a horse.)

And you started with 200 eligible guys. 

With a potential dating ratio of 200:1, at my rate of dating.. 3 or 4 first dates a year –  it’s going to take me 25 years to find a potential boyfriend. And based on the data.. I actually can believe it.

On the plus side, I’m 7 years in to ‘dating’ so I only have 18 more to go… but on the downside.. jeez. I was hoping that I wasn’t going to actually be a Golden Girl. That ratio makes me consider upping my chances and joining both teams (I’ve heard they can do a lot with hypnotherapy these days). I mean… holy shit.

Of course, you can, as I do every year, decide that proactively looking for a date, a man, a boyfriend, is forced and desperate. That is never going to result in meeting anyone. That the right guy will show up (as all of my friends tell me) ‘when I stop looking’. But since I’m ‘not looking’ for around 9 months of every year.. the ‘dude’ might want to invest in a GPS.  Because I’m still single and I’ve been
‘not looking’  a lot. (Which then leads me to 3 months of frantic looking every year when I realize that a) I’ve not had dinner with a man since the last governor was elected and b) I need someone to touch me and remind me that I’m human.)

Anyway, back to my empty ‘funnel’ (get your mind out of the gutter.)  My ‘pipeline’ is sparse (why do all analogies sound like genitalia?). I don’t meet very many men – even when I’m online dating – and therefore the chances of me finding one I like enough to date seems to be pretty damn small. Right now I’m about 25:0 over 7 years. Never mind one who can tolerate me.  

Which is when I realized that I need to meet more men. And god, I hate that I’m writing that and I now sound like every trope of a single chick ever written or thought. But based on the facts.. 25 dates in 7 years, 3 of which made it past date 5 and not a single one to 3 months…

As Quint said, ‘you’re going to need a bigger boat’.

But how do you meet 20, 30 or even 50 men in a year? I don’t need second job and I’m not about to start wearing a sandwich board while walking up and down Colfax.

(And, you smug-married person who’s rolling their eyes, think about how many new, single, eligible guys you meet in a year and then get back to me).

Well I guess I’m going to have to get out more. Watch less Ink Masters. Look at people’s faces instead of their dogs. Smile more. Get more social (but drink slower). Not get so tongue tied when I’m around new people. Muscle up. Grow some balls. Fill that funnel. Populate the dating pipeline.
..and damn, find a new analogy.

Armageddon in April

I am a regular reader of the Huffington post/ Daily Mail UK so I lately find myself informed/ alarmed at the potential for impending Armageddon led by that strange whey faced lunatic in North Korea. A man with a penchant for looking at things, Kim Jong-Un seems gung ho at escalating the tension (and potential for destruction) between North Korea and the rest of the world. Well, it seems to be on his bucket list at least.

Which has got me thinking about Armageddon.. or at least ‘what if?’

No, I’m not going to start hoarding sacks of rice or stocking up on bullets (though I do have a small armory in my nightstand, alongside the vibrators) but I have taken the first step to preparedness by putting all of my passports and ‘essentials’ into a Mylar envelope. (Hey, I can’t get into them without some swearing and scissors, maybe they are good protection for nuclear fall out?)

What are these essentials you ask?

Hmm.. now I’m looking maybe I need to rethink this. I’m not sure an expired insurance card for my car and my old Washington State drivers license is going to get me far.
I did add a Living Will that I half filled out online but which got me stumped when I had to describe my funeral. After spending 4 hours trying to decide which National song I wanted, (‘Murder me Rachael’ seemed ill timed and while I love ‘Brainy’, it seemed a little egotistical), I got mired in the ‘bequeathment’ of my worldly goods.
I’ve already told Hope she’s getting my 9 1/2 foot leather Chesterfield, even if she has to move to fit it in her house, but what about everything else? Who gets my Guzzi? or my ever expanding collection of spices and herbs? Since thats about all I own, I figured, hell Hope can get everything and called it good.

But lets look on the optimistic side since I am a glass half full type of chick. Assuming parts of the US were to get taken out, even all of them, and I survive..(because I’m so healthy and my genes are so excellent), then what?
 I have to hope I’ve carried my dog through all of that or that would have to be my first executive order as new leader of the smoldering US of A. Can’t go through life alone.. everyone needs a dog.  Then what….?

I guess after securing water sources, pitching my tent and shooting a deer (hey, what do you know? Being an excellent camper does come in useful!), I’d have time to catch up on some reading. But since my Kindle would be out of juice in about 5 hours (thank you Amazon.com for your declining quality via increased popularity) so I’d be hunting for material. Failing which I guess I’d have to start writing.  Maybe this Armageddon would actually get me off my butt to write that book I’ve been thinking about. Wow, suddenly the destruction of the world doesn’t seem that bad. Talk about motivation.

But after some time, say  a week or two, I’d probably need to talk to someone or start pondering my single status (its on a monthly cycle). Which means I’d start looking around for some friends of the male persuasion or maybe a bad ass chick (I’ll take comfort where I can if my mother isn’t around to judge). They’d had to be pretty cool (and nuts) to survive and this definitely would have eliminated those hair/nails/Housewives folks..But where to find such people? No electricity, no computer, no network, no community garden or workplace, classes or restaurants, bars or gathering places.

Damn.

Its the end of the world and I’m still trying to figure out how to meet people?
I guess some things never change.

Die Beards Die

C’mon guys. We’ve indulged you. Its not funny any more. It has to stop.
Enough with the beards.

It was 2010, the last vestiges of dot com enthusiasm had trickled to nothing (along with those shares of AskJeeves you bought for $36 a pop) and you needed something to look forward to. Something that said ‘hey, I might not be rich or successful but I’m owning it’. And so you grew the beard.

Your beard actively declared to the world ‘I’m not trying, I am an artisan’, plus you got to save 5 minutes of grooming every morning. You took up brewing beer or making your own pickles, you experimented with bee keeping or joined a community garden. You felt OK wearing a brown sweater. In fact, it kind of joined up with your beard so you looked like one big hairy fronted cave man. You felt in control,  grown up, manly. You sneered at those smooth faced young cads patrolling in their flat fronted khakis and button downs. How generic. How suburban. How corporate. Not you, you don’t want to look good, you don’t care. Love me, love my beard.

Never mind that your nads were now squeezed into jeans so tight that your testicles split into 4 and you went up an octave during daylight hours.. hey, you had bigger things on your mind like juicing, composting or finding the latest speakeasy to sneer at. Your beard signaled you didn’t care about ‘the man’ anymore, you were an individual and hey, it was easier than getting a tattoo.

But that’s enough guys. Its been almost three years now and we, the women, are over it. We’re not that impressed that you can grow hair around your chin that connects to your hairline… we’ve been fighting that shit on ourselves for years. We don’t care that its white or grey or ginger.. its all just pubic indicators as far as we can tell (NOTE: a reliable early warning system I’ve found). Its not cool that our eyes are instantly drawn to that area where your nose hair meets your beard hair (ewwww) and that kissing you is like making out with an SOS pad. Plus, while I love a cyclist, nothing is less sexy than a sweaty beard flapping in the breeze or -yikes- around my lady parts. 

So please guys, we’re begging you. Make like the Gillette guy and get rid of that shit. And no, please skip the alternative facial hair experimentation. No-one has looked good with lamb chop sideburns since Brian Setzer and you’re not the exception. And while mustaches are sexy, summer mustaches are way too John Wayne Gacy creepo. Unless you’re actually planning on whiting out the windows of your van and purchasing some chloroform.. just get rid of the whole thing.

Sure you now look like everyone else and you’re no longer able to nod to your brotherhood of wannabe carpenters and artisanal mustard makers.. but hey, that’s what tattoos are for!

Learning to flirt

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

Apparently no.

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

‘oh no, you’re horrible at flirting’

‘you mean I over do it?’

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

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

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

(…raucous laughter)

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

Yes. I know. I’m dying inside too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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