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.

Love Disconnection

A fabulous post from my favorite ‘Sips of Jen and Tonic’ on internet dating…

Sips of Jen and Tonic

Bugs crawling into my ears at night.  Getting pregnant with triplets. Being forced to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. There is only one thing scarier than all of those things, and it’s internet dating.

It should come as no surprise that I’m not the best at dating. I can certainly hike up my breasts until they’re at cruising altitude, and I always refrain from using my shirt collar as a napkin until we’re in the “I accidentally farted on you” stage of our relationship. The thing I don’t have on my side is the ability to pretend I like stupid people who waste my time.

Internet dating has its benefits, but the relative anonymity of it coupled with the ease of access to thousands of potential mates has created a problem for those interested in a serious relationship. Gone are the days of daters trying to pretend they’re halfway normal, and…

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

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

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

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

My typical date goes as follows (internal monologue);

‘Please don’t let it be him”

“or him”

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

“Not him…nooooo.”

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

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

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

Case in point – yesterday.

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

I hear nothing for 2 days.

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

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

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

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

Whaaaaa?

SO WHO THE FUCK IS THIS GUY?

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

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

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

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

 

Dating the ‘Separated’

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

Lying you say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have been warned.

 

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.

Well I don’t like you either…

wigEnergized by my sleepy time fantasy dreams about random dudes and my friends tales of hot sexy times, this weekend I decided to take a quick monthly dip in the pool that is match.com. Its been a long time. Its starting to feel a bit like spring is on the horizon and  it would be really nice to remember how a date goes before I hit 43.

Well either I ate the ugly cake over Christmas, or 42 really is unfuckable, because damn, I am not feeling the love this time around. In fact, I’m starting to feel a little rejection in this here hot tub of chubbiness.In fact, its been 2 weeks now and I’ve received 1 ‘wink’ (from someone in another state), and 1 email which said ‘hi’ (literally that was it) from a 60 year old.

WTF menfolk? Is 42 that gross?

Now if I were younger, more naive, a US Weekly reader or less self aware I’d think it was me. After all, what’s not to love about a short, tight, tattoo’d smart woman who errs on the side of sarcastic but who readily pays the bill, likes a good laugh and collects corsets? I don’t bite (unless requested), and I have been known to be an entertaining date, especially if you cut me off after the second martini.

Have I suddenly aged? Well looking in the mirror, it looks pretty much the same. I definitely haven’t grown any new chins, acne or had any botched lip implants.

Did I get fat? Well I did stop Crossfit (body parts were starting to lose their basic functionality) and take up spinning, but other than a slight decrease in the size of my ass (I miss burpees), it all looks the same.

Is my profile somehow repugnent? Well its the same one I’ve had since last year.. and it didn’t seem too horrific then.

And then it hits me… I now have short hair.

Nothing has changed except the addition of 1 year and the cutting of approximately 14 inches. So either 42 really is the cliff for dateable women, or I’ve run into what I’m horrified to admit… men don’t find short hair attractive. Well.. on me at least.

Which is a pity, because I sorta do. Its sassy. Freeing. Funky. And I never get helmet hair. But since my hair grows at a glacial speed anyway, its not something I can or will fix anytime in the near future.

Of course it could be more than the fact that average Colorado Joe likes his chicas with a little less sass and a little more blonde highlight. Maybe its broader..these guys want a little more of a conventional woman, with a more ‘normal’ approach to life. A ‘woo-hoo’ chick who you find wearing a Broncos jersey in a bar sipping on a Coors Light and laughing at all the guys jokes. Someone who loves kids and wants to play momma. I guess to an outsider what could be signs of youthful exuberance at 22 (tattoos, motorcycles, radical hair colors, mad passion), at 42 are probably signs of mental illness. I sort of get it. I guess my long highlighted hair ‘disguise’ helped me fake my way through more than few first dates. Without it.. well… its just me. And apparently, the Colorado dudes no likey me.

I could consider this karma for my deleting all those older dudes, chubbier dudes over the last few years. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so picky about his 3+ children under 10? Or that fact that he’d never been married at the age of 52 but still said he ‘definitely’ wanted kids? Maybe I should have been more thoughtful about my decisions and ….fuck it. I refuse to second guess or rewrite the past. It is what it is… and hey, if its my age, my personality or my hair.. its probably not meant to be.

On the  bright side, I just filtered out 99.999999% of unsuitable dating candidates!

So, while my best intentions were to get back out there, heart on sleeve and Starbucks card at the ready.. it looks like the universe has other ideas. I might actually have to meet someone in the ‘real’ world.

Or maybe I need to invest in a long blond wig?

Your Online Profile: Some advice for the fellas

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

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

1. Photos

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

2. Content

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

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

Section 1: Intro

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

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

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

Section 2: Your personality

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

What you do

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

What type of woman are you attracted to?

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

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

3?

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

… she’s probably lying.

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

And finally… we’re back at your intro

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

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

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

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

Falling off the wagon

online addictionHello. My name is Ms Idiot and I’m an online dating addict.

I really thought I’d kicked the habit, I really did. Its like that I guess. Addiction.

After two horrific dating experiences in 2013, (one which terrified me into changing my locks, one which caused me to rethink my perception of academics), and a 22 minute encounter (I won’t dignify it with the title of ‘date’) I hit bottom. I knew I couldn’t go on with the month to month renewals, the endless profile trolling, the sagging wish that there is a single dude with a penchant for tattoos, bicycles and IQs over 140 who isn’t addicted to pornography or pushing 250lbs. My self loathing was such that I even considered Tindr, a site for kids with ADD who still think funneling beer is an attractive trait in a man. I was desperate. I was pathetic. I’d have traded my last $39.99 for a date with a normal sane hetero guy. Just one… one…..

A girlfriend watched my downward spiral from afar; the first flush of excitement (“this time its going to work”), the second guessing (“maybe I sound too active?”), the anger  (“why are all the guys my age only looking for 30 yr olds?”), the depression (“I can’t even get laid, never mind a boyfriend”), switching from one site to another (“this one definitely seems to have more guys without kids or Jesus”) led to bargaining (“so he confused ‘righting’ with ‘writing’ …it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s stupid”) and finally the acceptance that online dating…. just wasn’t going to work for me.

The result of 6 years of sporadic sign ups? Several 3 month flings, two marriage proposals (sanity not guaranteed), numerous casual dates and 1 x 22 minute ‘encounter’.  I had better luck in high school when I had braces, an extra 10lbs and Billy Idols haircut.

So I tapped out. I got sober. I deleted all of my accounts and white knuckled it through Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and yes, even New Years Eve. 6 months went by without so much as a ‘wink’, never mind a date.. and I was feeling good. Strong even.

I didn’t find Jesus, I didn’t do meetings and I accepted the notion that I’m a single person. Indefinitely. And I felt good with that. Like most ‘sober’ people, as long as I stayed away from dating sites, set ups and random flirtations, I was ok. I really was. I hung out with friends, I made new friends (male and female), I cut ties with my boomerangs.

But then, just when I felt immune to the siren call of ‘more marriages than any other site’, I had a dream.

And it certainly wasn’t of the MLK variety.

Lets just say its been 24 hours and its still burning in the front of my brain. It was sexy, it was hot, it was endless and oh my god.. it made me miss men like a drowning man misses air. I miss being touched. I miss someone looking at me with desire. I miss flirtation (even my appalling version of it) and I miss forearms. Oh god I miss forearms.

I can’t even think about how much I miss sex. After all, I do have a job and I already feel like a neon sign is flashing on my forehead ‘Man Wanted. Apply within’. The next 12 hours is entirely focused on not thinking about sex.

Margaret Thatcher.

Cockroaches.

Mitt Romney’s hair.

That leery old guy in yoga class.

I don’t know where to turn, and frankly, its too early to call my match.com sponsor and have her talk me off the ledge.

So I did it. I clicked, I typed and clutching my 1o month celibate chip, I logged on to a dating site and dove into the sweaty pool of loserville that is a divorced guy with 2 kids, living in suburbia ‘a few extra pounds’ and ‘loves sci fi’. no… No… NO….

This is my cry for help. Help meeeeeeee…..

The case for women over 35

Robin-Wright-David-Roemer-Evening-Standard-02I was reading OKCupid blog this weekend and I have to share the awesomeness that came from their stats blog. If you’re over 35 and feeling sorta depressed about dating.. this one is for you. In fact, I want to trumpet this news from the rooftops, but since I live in a condo and I’m scared of heights, I’ll settle for some vague mumbling as I walk around Whole Foods and this blogpost.

The premise that OkCupid puts forward is this:

As a woman, the older you are, the harder it is to date

(I know, tell me about it).

But this isn’t just because there are less single people out there. The real reason is down the to skew that occurs in men’s preferred age range for dating. Men date younger and younger women the older they get. (Something completely evident as soon as you walk into a Houstons or Elways).

But its not just limited to sugar daddy’s and 50 something divorcees.. No siree.. By age 23, men are looking for women only 1-2 years older than themselves but at least 4-5 years younger. And  as they get older, this skews even younger and younger- peaking at age 48, when men will consider dating a 48 year old woman, BUT also everyone younger than her down to 28. (OkCupid has the charts to prove it).

“With a ‘token’ upper limit right around his age, the majority of men are dating 5,10, even 15 years younger the older they get.”

What’s even worse, according to OK Cupid, is that the average guy is spends a considerable amount of time messaging women even younger than their stated minimum. So no matter what the guy says on his ‘site page’, a 30 year-old man spends as much time messaging 18 and 19 year-olds as he does women his own age. And your 48 year old? Apparently messaging 22 year olds.

Yikes.

So if you’re a 41 year old women, you’re not only competing for attend from other 40 somethings, factor in the 30 somethings and even the 20 somethings.

No wonder we’re not getting much play.

Women, ignored by their male peers after their early 30’s, start increasing their response rate to older and older guys… since they’re the only ones who are paying attention. So your average 30 year old chick is actually already starting to respond to 40 yr old guys, and us 40 somethings are left with the sexagenarians.

In fact, by the time a woman is 48, her chances of meeting something via a dating site is 50% that of a guys.

But..put down the butter knife, hands off the Xanax… OkCupid says ‘oh hells no’.

Because here’s the dirty little secret.. based on OkCupid stats, we’re actually a more attractive match for guys than they think (no matter how deep our crows feet are).

Why?

Cos we like sex more.

In fact, OkCupid asked woman a bunch of sex related questions and mapped them according to age. Here are a few indicators of our apparently rampant sexuality;

  • 75% of 39 year old women, when asked, said that sex is one of their favorite activities. By comparison only 25% of 18 year olds agreed.
  • 74% of 34 year olds, said that they were fine with casual sex compared to 55% of 18 year olds
  • 81% said they enjoyed giving oral sex, compared to 63% of 19 year olds
  • 40% of 34 year olds said they’d consider a threesome, compared to just 29% of 24 year olds

Other preferences which OkCupid found about older women

  • We apparently like to dominate more in bed
  • We use contraception and get tested regularly
  • Our self confidence is at 95% by age 39

and here’s the big one for most commitment-phobic guys…

  • 96% of us are ok being in a relationship that won’t lead to marriage by the age of 36.

So, before you start questioning your profile or wondering ‘what in hell is wrong with me?’ know that you’re probably dating to young. And that goes for you too guys. Nothing wrong with dating a 35 or 40 year old chick.. you know, if you like sexy confident women who might be into a threesome?

Just sayin’.

Doing the Match.com ‘Season’

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

Yes, I said years.

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

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

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

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

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

Why? why? why the October slump?

1 word.

Football.

See you next year Match.

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

You need to …the condundrum that is advice

Munch_The_Scream_lithographyI enjoy being single and 41. My life is rich, way more fun and joyful than I ever expected 41 to be (I thought it would involved a lot more sweatpants).

I just wish there was a little less of the singleness sometimes. I’ve had 2 dates this year and one drunken hook up. Arid doesn’t begin to describe my love life.. I think my fridge has seen more action.

On a visit to San Francisco this weekend, I was delighted to receive zero feedback or advice about my single status – a refreshingly unusual state of affairs. Upon meeting most people these days, they’re full of unsolicited advice for how to address my *gasp* non partnered state.  And its not just me… to most partnered people we’re just doing it all wrong.

‘Stop looking’

‘Don’t give up’

‘You’re trying too hard’

‘You’re not trying hard enough’

‘You need to be more/ less picky’

‘I did a mantra/daily affirmation/vision board which totally worked’

‘Read this book, it totally works’

‘You’re on the wrong dating site- try OkCupid/ eHarmony/ Chemistry/Glutenfreelove.com’

‘You need to give it more than a few days.. you need to let love grow’

‘If there’s no chemistry within the first 5 minutes, you should leave’

‘Are you sure you really want to be with someone? Maybe you actually don’t’

Its draining. The advice, not the being single.

But my SF friends, who themselves found love later and via a dating site, know better.  Theirs was a highly non traditional courtship and I don’t think anyone would take advice based on their path to love; ‘move to another country after the first date’ as a successful dating strategy? You’ve got to be kidding. Except it worked and their 2 year old cutie is a testament to ‘don’t rule anything out’.

Another of my friends met her husband in bar while she was backpacking in Germany (he was on leave from the Australian army). He visited her a year later to catch up and married her 2 weeks into his visit. 13 years and 3 kids later, I think you’d call that ‘successful’ and hardly an advertisement for long term dating.

One of my girlfriends met her partner while at a party in NYC. She was an Manhattanite, an actress and a committed big city girl. He was a suburban dad from Denver. They couldn’t be further apart geographically, politically, temperamentally and lacked shared interests. 10 years later they’re happy as clams and still together. So much for finding someone who shares the same interests.

And then there’s the match story. I know everyone has a friend of their sister’s husband or their buddies next door neighbor who met their partner on match.com, but I actually do have a friend (in fact multiples) who met via online dating. The same site as me. The same city. And all on the first date they went on. Now part of me thinks ‘extremely good fortune’ and part of me thinks ‘low standards’ but they all wound up with great guys.

It seems that everyone, or most people, eventually find someone to be with. Whether its timing or circumstance, divine intervention or dogged, sweaty perseverance.. I’d like to believe if you want it, it will show up. (sadly, I don’t believe that works for large stashes of cash). And despite the circumstances, love will find a way. Apparently. Just not for me.

So, in a fit of ‘WTF?’ I decided to finally, after 7 years, ask a friend for help. Ask her and her husband to take a look at my profile and to be honest. After all, I am a writer by trade and for entertainment, but feedback never hurts. Maybe there were a few things in there which I needed to tweak? We’re consultants by trade so hey, consult my profile. Help me make it better.  Plus with a male and female perspective.. I’d have it covered.

An hour later I got her red lined document back and had a momentary seizure.

Every single line, barring the actual facts (I am 41, white and 5ft 3), was edited. Whole paragraphs were tagged ‘NO!’ in red and to be honest (horrifically), every single word she wrote was true. Me, the writer, apparently not the best writer about myself.  In fact, I’m still amazed I’ve had a date in 7 years at all once I read her feedback. And sadly I couldn’t dispute anything she wrote.. Rereading it, I seemed bitter and cold, demanding and inflexible, ‘fuck you’ and ‘I don’t give a shit’. Yikes. I was scared of me. Screw the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, make way for the Girl with the Mehendi Tattoo. She’s terrifying. You’d need balls of steel and a brain of a cucumber to sign up for that chick. No wonder dudes always seemed so relieved when they actually met me.

After all, only a sadist would approach the person in that profile.

girl-with-the-dragon-tattooThen I heard back from her husband.

He loved it.

(and I don’t think he’s a sadist?)

So now I’m more confused than ever. Do I go with what I know to be true – my profile isn’t very good, makes me sound incredibly scary, bitter and weird – or do I go with ‘the dude liked it’?

After all, I do want to date dudes.

I think I’m going to settle on the middle ground. A little frankness, a little softness,  light humor but a little more Monet, a little less Munchian ‘Scream’. God knows, based on this year, it can’t get much worse.

And meanwhile well I’m rethinking my writing. I’m not sure that I’m cut out to write the light romantic chick lit I love.. I think I might be better cut out for cold sadomasochistic horror stories. Apparently I’m really good at writing that type of scary shit.

Mind.. officially blown

jamThis morning I read an amazing piece in the Huffpo which literally blew my mind. I honestly feel compelled to write the author, send her gifts and promise her the proceeds of my estate after I am gone (aka 1 x 9.5 ft chesterfield sofa and one slightly stinky dog). She not only encapsulated the trouble with dating online in a novel and unique way, but it caused me to think about why I’ve really struggled to date in the US and honestly whether what I’m doing is actually worth it.

The essence of her piece is jam. Yes, jam. Not a product I’ve usually associated with dating (sex on the other hand…?) but it works. Ok, its actually about the paradox of choice, but I like the jam analogy which goes as follows;

“Science now tells us that if you put out 24 jams for people to sample, rather than 6, people will buy less jam.  The presentation of more choice essentially leads us to believe that somewhere, out there, exists the perfect jam for us..so we find it really difficult to choose and often just walk away.”  – Barry Schwartz

Transitioning from jam to men.. and the perp roll that is Match.com and suddenly, the last 7 years is completely explained. There are simply too many men out there to choose one.. at least beyond a first or second or third date. And they keep coming up with more flavors.

I recently updated my profile and posted what is probably the best photo I’ve had taken in the last 30 years. The result has been a lot of email. Ok, largely from the over 55 crowd (why? why?) but still, facing 30 emails in my inbox is daunting. This guy is the right age but he has a really big head. This one has 3 kids (yikes) but sounds really thoughtful and writes beautifully. This guy, wayyy too old, that one Hmmmm.. seems good but he sounds a little hung up on the ex. Result? I ignore all of them. And yet, from those emails, there is probably at least 1 or 2 I would really enjoy spending time with. But finding them amongst the noise of 30 emails?

crowd this guy

Exactly.

Now back in the UK in the 1990s, we were still (mainly) unconnected via internet and cellphones were for phone conversations. You met people through friends, through work or people you met while waiting for the bus. Your ‘jam’ selection was pretty limited. So you reviewed your options, discarded the mentally challenged, the drunks, the partnered and were probably left with 2 or 3 options who found you attractive and who you could picture naked without getting grossed out. Which made dating really easy. You picked one and if that one didn’t work out – his hobbies included lining up the tins in the cupboard, he had his head up his butt – you had another 2 to work with. And today, even though there’s Match.co.uk and texting and all of the crap we have in the US, .. there’s still less jam to choose from.

Fast forward to today. I now live in a metro area of roughly 2 million people (and that’s not even a big city for the US) of which maybe a third are single. Of those, maybe a third are on some kind of dating site. Ruling out the terminally obese, the socially awkward and those in AARP, that’s still a heck of a lot of jam. Add in people who live outside that area – even just 30 or 50 miles – and the jam selection gets even bigger. No wonder online dating is a mess.. its like a warehouse of jam.

So as you wander the aisles of this jam warehouse, pick something that looks interesting,  you can’t ever forget that there’s eleventy million other people out there who might also be interesting.. and a few of them are actively shouting at you to buy them. Which can make you suddenly very selective about that jam you’re buying.

‘Maybe its too sweet?’

‘I think its a little too pricey for my taste’

‘I love it, but god, its really drippy on toast’

‘I’m sort of craving raspberry but I know I get bored of it after a while’

‘I’m a Nutella girl all the way.. only Nutella.. where’s the Nutella?’

Now I’m old enough to know that I don’t need or want the perfect jam and I certainly am not willing to spend the rest of my life researching jams to find it.. but it is starting to feel that way sometimes. Even when I’m looking really hard, there’s just too much on the shelf. Some of its dusty (but might be really yummy), some of it sounds awful (bilberry?) but would really blow my mind and some is just Smuckers Strawberry. Which to be honest, I will eat and enjoy every time. They all have their positive attributes.. so how do you ever pick one?

Which is to say, I’m not sure that reviewing profiles or assessing attributes over these last few months on Match.com has actually landed me anywhere. I still can’t pick a jam I like, no matter how much I try new things, use different selection criteria or give it a go. I might automatically disregard that jam with the backwards baseball cap in his photo or the 3 kids and be totally missing a gem. Just because it says organic and sugar free doesn’t mean I’m going to like the taste after a few weeks. If only there were less to choose from.

So today I probably just should approach the next friendly looking guy I meet (without a wedding ring) and ask him out. He might be Smuckers, he might be Organic Apricot and Walnut.. but he’s still jam and my toast needs something on it. And I am over shopping for damn jam.

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.

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.