Friday, December 31, 2010

My Dating Truths

The New Year is about resolutions. I think to decide what I want out of the next year relationship-wise it is best to examine what I have learned this year. This is what I have learned from dating so far.

•When I started dating one man, I became immediately attractive to other men.

•Men can be as nervous and clueless about dating as I am.

•Engineer types (i.e. nerds) need at least three date to prove themselves.

•I can be a femme fatale at 49. LOL

•Men worry about their weight, their hair, the skin elasticity—the same things that plague me.

•When men do bold things I admire them, but it doesn’t always equate into relationship material. A history teacher I met a few years ago on our first date offered to drive me to a home improvement store to pick up the blinds I ordered to prolong our date. Right in the middle of the oriental carpet section he swung me into a dance turn and dipped me back for passionate movie kiss. He got points for the wow factor, but never made it to the third date. He pretty much gave me everything he had on the first date.

•When men do weird things, I wonder until they give some long winded explanation. Then I smile and put it down as a guy thing.

•When men do clumsy things, I forgive them because I am a klutz. I almost feel an oneness with them.

•All the chivalric things a man can do including opening doors and pushing in chairs, I absolutely love.

•I am an absolute pushover for roses and chocolate.

•An out of the ordinary gift shows that the man thinks out of the box.

•A man with cats turns me off, but a man with a dog and a cat has possibilities.

•A man with a dog can be very sexy. (Okay, I’m a dog lover.)

•A man pushing a vacuum cleaner, especially, if it is mine is even sexier.

•Men can write wonderful emails and go silent on a date.

•Some men refuse to write emails, but can be a great on a date.

•Men who offer to help me with something that is perplexing me I appreciate! I realize some women hate this, but I have enough problems to solve on my own, a little help is very much appreciated.

•Men can be hot in any size or height. It is their attitude that matters. They must believe they are a prize. If they don’t believe it they can’t sell it.

•A man that can make me sigh is good, but a man who makes me laugh is better, but the one who can make me do both is priceless.

•You really can meet men at grocery store, library, post office, even school events if you’re open to it.

•I used to wonder about men asking me inane questions like what time it was when they were wearing a watch, but now that I’ve read enough books on dating I realize it is an attempt to strike up a conversation.LOL

•There are lots of datable professional men out there.

•Surprisingly, the men I meet want relationships as opposed to dating for fun.

•Many men are willing to attempt a long distance relationship. I’m not sure where they think it will go, but they do want to try.

•Younger men do ask me out even if I am not a member of the local cougar club. LOL

•Often there is nothing better than a hug to appreciate the subtle differences between male and female.

•I like the smell of Irish Spring soap on a man better than cologne.

•Getting ready for a date is a great deal of work, but the right guy makes it SO worthwhile.

•It’s working when we are both so lost in conversation that they close up the restaurant around us and we don’t notice.

•While I enjoy this time in my life of being somewhat irresistible I long for a relationship, but I am unwilling to settle.

•Trying to determine if a guy is relationship material takes time. Before I was only dating one guy so the assumption was the guy I was dating was relationship material even when he really wasn’t for me.

•Men will open the car door if you wait long enough.

•By preplanning what type of behavior I will not accept, surprisingly I’ve never received it. I’m unsure if I mentally telegraphed my list of no-no’s or am just dating a better type of man.

•Men don’t like whatever is easy. By being hard to reach since I don’t listen to my voice mail coupled with hard to date since my schedule is full, I’ve increased my irresistibility quota.

•Meeting a man somewhere makes for a much better date. There is never the misunderstanding that I am going to invite him in for sex. LOL

•Dating has taught me a lot about myself.

•It is okay if a man doesn’t have all the same interests as me. I seldom come across male writers who also teach and belly dance.

* Lastly, but probably most important, there are so many princes out there I am amazed I ever settled for a frog.

Tell me your dating truths. My next four blogs will delve into the aspect of dating like a man. I will also reveal if any of it actually worked for me.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Appeal of the Bad Boys

Why do we Love them?

Did you know American women have a strong preference for bad boys over any other culture? Why is that? The hot-looking bad boy has been glorified in American culture via the media. Think of James Dean, Elvis, even 50 Cent. We, American women, want it all. We want the hot guy who makes our hearts flutter who will also stick around and be a great dad. Just like the newly divorced fifty year old guy wants a hot twenty-year old babe to have endless sex with and who waxes his car while he naps. The truth is neither fantasy has a chance of happening.

Americans love Disneyworld because we like to believe dreams really do come true. That brings me back to the bad boy. He is candy for the eye. He definitely has the look, the swagger, and the sexuality. He enters the room and it is as if women are hit with a testosterone driven wave. Their heads swivel, their smiles grow wider and inviting. Men feel it too, but their instincts respond to a threat by becoming huffy or dismissive to the bad boy. This always makes them look bad in front of the females. If they were more in touch with their primitive side, they’d immediately attack the guy and push him out the door.

Besides plain good looks, what does the bad boy have that the nice guy doesn’t? Attitude and plenty of it. He knows every woman in the room wants him. Talk about self confidence! He has elevated cockiness to an art form. He doesn’t need to be nice to women because they are responding to him on an instinctual level. Strong alpha male enters the room, pheromones go on red alert informing women that prime mating material is in the area. This is reinforced by years of watching on the big screen women fall at the feet of bad boys and reading endless romances where the alpha male sweeps the woman off her feet. The sad fact is no matter how much women talk about wanting a kind, thoughtful man they will respond to a dominant alpha male every time, even if it is for a short time. Women are traditionally programmed to follow a strong male lead.

Ironically, the bad boy doesn’t get the girl by telling her she’s beautiful. Instead he gives her left handed compliments like “you could be hot if you did something about your clothes.” The woman is drawn in and immediately wants to know what she should do about her clothes because she wants to be hot for this man. The bad boy may hit on the girlfriend because women usually travel in pairs. In that case, the woman wants what she sees slipping away from her and tries even harder to catch the bad boy’s eye. Do you know they even have classes for men on how to act like a bad boy?

The only problem is if you’re an average guy and you try to act like a bad boy you just come off sounding rude. The bad boy has charisma, humor and loads of sex appeal. His words may be saying your dress is hideous, but his eyes are promising to peel that dress off you. He also has pacing down to a science. He knows when to pull back to leave a woman intrigued. Always keep in mind, a bad boy is always a short term venture. He knows he’s not staying around. Too bad most women seem to ignore this point. Instead they believe if he meets the right woman, i.e. her, that it will happen.

Some women believe that they can change the bad boy into a devoted family man. Remember this, the only person you can change is you. Bad boy is what he is. You respond to his obvious charm. Maybe he’s even yours for the night, but not for long. It isn’t in his nature to be a one woman man. He’s gone before you ever really know anything about him. It is just as well his irresponsible bad boy ways would eventually grate on you.

In other cultures, women don’t want bad boys because they want someone who is responsible. The dependable good guy with a steady job appeals to them. They know he’ll be around to raise the children. Why are American women obsessed with bad boys? The fact that most American women are supporting themselves is one factor. They aren’t necessarily considering bad boy for the breadwinner role. Instead they see him as an avenue for the mythical screaming monkey sex they’ve heard so much about, but never experienced. A brush with a bad boy allows a woman to walk on the wild side if only for thirty minutes. Another is the belief is we can have it all.

Newsflash: you can’t have it all. Choices have to be made. Most women who rode the roller coaster of having a relationship with a bad boy welcome the stability that comes with a nice man. Others become addicts and chase after bad boys despite friends’ warnings. Now your nice man might occasionally enjoy playing the bad boy role, but he’ll still be around to take the kids to soccer practice. So if he wants to don a leather jacket, mirrored sunglasses, and straddle a Harley, make sure you jump on behind him. It could be a memorable ride. Maybe you can have it all.

Give me your report on the state of bad boys. Did you marry a bad boy? Fall for one? Would you fall for one? I did my time in a month-long bad-boy relationship. It was intense. I felt like I’d been flatten by semi when he left suddenly, then I realized I knew almost nothing about him and that’s the way he wanted it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Are You A Good Girl?

Ask yourself when a date comes to your house, do you offer to get him something to drink, even offer him a snack? Maybe he’s so divine, that you want to show him what you think of him and you buy him a cute gift that reminded you of him. Worse yet you find yourself offering to do things for him from getting him an appointment at your exclusive hair salon or dropping him off at the car service center? If you do any of these things then you’re probably a good girl, especially if you only had ONE date.

Good girls believe they have to earn a man’s love by doing nice things for him. It isn’t surprising that they continue to do nice things for their man until the man takes off with a not so nice girl. What happened? I was good to him…and you were, that’s what did it.

I was watching the end of the show, Millionaire Matchmaker, when the matchmaker scolds the woman for cooking for the man on the first date. She reminds her client how you start a dating relationship is how you will carry it for the life of the relationship. If you start out by giving everything you have on the first date, what do you have to offer later? Anything less than everything will always seem small and petty to a man who got everything on the first date.

In Sherry Argov’s book, Why Men Love Bitches, she explains that a woman who gives very little in the early stages of the relationship will be greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm when she does little thoughtful gestures. Think about this—this is how we treat men. Whenever they make the smallest romantic gesture we react like they are king of the world.

Being the good girl is tiring too. I ended a relationship that was great for the man. He showed up at my house on weekends. I cooked dinner and did his laundry while he sat on my couch and watched television shows he liked. They were very boring shows I might add. Wonderful deal for him, but I felt I just adopted an overgrown kid. It was because I was a good girl and I was in the habit of waiting on him hand and foot. When I broke it off, he didn’t understand because everything was fine in his world. He liked the status quo, but I didn’t. I simply slipped into my role of nice girl when I was determined not to do it. What can I say I was raised in a traditional environment where the women stayed in the kitchen and cooked while the men watched sports. Sometimes I find myself doing things out of habit. Do men even want to be catered to?

Some of you are laughing because you think this is a no brainer, but allow me to offer you the evidence. Not everything we do for our guy is appreciated or wanted, but we define it as pampering. A friend of mine would make her husband a cheesecake from scratch every two weeks to pamper him. She made some great cheesecakes. She did this to indulge him, but after one especially trying week with work and the children she may have told him what he could do with his stupid cheesecake. It was then he revealed he never really like cheesecake he only said he liked it when they were dating so she would like him. All that work for nothing when she could have been doing something she wanted to do.

The nice girl runs around trying to make her man happy as opposed to making herself happy, which in the end makes her angry.. Here’s the deal, he doesn’t really appreciate it when you put on your NFL jersey and sit by him while he is watching the game because you’re doing it for him. Most of the time he doesn’t know you’re there and you resent him for this. Maybe you think he is ogling the cheerleaders and he is.:) A confident woman and goes out and does what she wants to do. There’s no reason to stay home and keep the chip bowl full. The man managed to survive before you showed up on the scene.

A woman who pursues her own interests instead of helping a man with his is more fun. Think about it, you go to your spin class, get in a little shopping, meet your girlfriends for lunch won’t this put you in a better mood than watching a game you couldn’t care less about in your good girl role? The happy woman comes home and sees her man and maybe thinks he looks cute in his rumpled jersey. The woman who fetched, carried and silently seethed for past three hours just wants to do something unpleasant to her guy with the empty chip bag. Let’s face it no one appreciates the good girl. She’s not getting any kudos from anyone. So why in the world do we do it?

My grandmother was an absolute traditionalist. She had to be because she was forced into an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, which made her a poster child for the good girl. When her much older husband died, she swore never to marry again. Ironically, she met a shy bachelor at the great age of forty-eight. The big difference was she sat her earnest suitor down and explained that she would not wait on him hand and foot. She had interests that she intended to pursue. If he was still interested he needed to help out with the cleaning and the cooking. He was interested and agreeable. I never met a happier and more loving couple than my grandparents. I am very fortunate to see modeled what happens when a good girl goes rogue.

How about you, do you consider yourself a good girl, a bitch, a confident woman or combination of all three? Inquiring minds want to know…and so do I. Next week: Why Women Really Love Bad Boys

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pursuing Vs. Pursued

Who remembers Women’s Lib? I do. I may even have an ERA NOW button stored somewhere. Let’s face it. Women are not operating the same playing field as men, paycheck or otherwise. The big question: Is it okay to be the pursuer in the dating game? This is a tricky question and you have to define what pursuer means.


The fact that you made the decision to date means you are obviously going to put yourself out there to meet men. It’s one thing to introduce yourself at a party and even make a coffee date as opposed to constantly emailing, calling or texting a guy, especially when he doesn’t reciprocate. That not only looks needy, but it is also on the stalker-ish side.


You have friends that when they meet a guy will roll out the red carpet. On the premise, they’ve met Mr. Right, they make a five-course meal and serve it in a black lace teddy on their second date. While the man may enjoy the pampering, he’s gone within a month. What gives? Your friend wanted to show her potential man all she had to offer. It wasn’t that what she had to offer wasn’t good, it just came too fast. The man didn’t appreciate it because he didn’t work for it, anticipate it, or even have a chance to feel special. The lavish display gave the opposite message that this was something she did for almost every man who made it to date two.


We tend to respect what takes work and time. Children who spend their own allowance money on a toy will treat it better than a gift toy. They remember how much work went into it. Men are like this. I got this factoid from men! Sure, it is nice when a woman approaches them and makes the initial move, but a woman who constantly keeps making the moves leaves him with nothing else to do. When does the guy get to fulfill his traditional role as the pursuer?


Some shy guys need to be pursued or else they’ll never go out on a date. There is some truth to that. A woman who does ask the guy out should make sure that it's her last obvious pursuing move because the cards are definitely on the table. The flip side of this whole argument is the totally passive guy. You know the one. In his effort to please, it is always “whatever you want, dear.” Guys will sometimes complain that women don’t appreciate nice men anymore. It depends on what you define as nice. A wimpy man who allows a woman to make all the decisions gets old fast even for an opinionated person like me who likes to make decisions.


Men like what they don’t have or what they think they might not get. They also like to think of themselves as the pursuers…even if you’re allowing yourself to be pursued. There is nothing like a little doubt or insecurity to make a man pursue harder. I got a real life example in my own life due to the fact I don’t listen to voice mail. If I see someone has called me I’ll call him back, but often I don’t see that call. My family will keep calling until I do answer. A bad habit but I doubt I’ll break it though. About once a week to ten days, I listen to all my voicemails. That’s when I discovered one man had called me twice. I texted him with a general message and made no mention of his phone calls. His response was very enthusiastic.


He could have acted hurt or even refused to answer my text, but he didn’t. Instead, he put on his pursuer cap because I appeared elusive. If I mentioned my failure to listen to voicemail, I just sound irresponsible. Maybe he thinks I am so overwhelmed with men asking me out that I just managed to find time to answer his call. I was only able to text because I have such limited time.  :) Mentioning my state of constant absent-mindedness would probably not endear me. Why do we want to share our flaws on the first date?


If a guy is around for the fourth or fifth date, then he is willing to deal with your flaws because he has a few of his own. If you want to be pursued and you do, check your baggage at the door. Be mysterious, don’t tell everything. I used to think I had to detail all my failed relationships. Do you want to hear about all his failed relationships? Even if you think you do you’re only fooling yourself. No one wants that. If you insist on rehashing past loves it becomes a therapy session instead of a date. Is that what you want? Keep in mind, you want his attention on you, the pursued, not on the ones who got away.


Men like mysterious. I’ve heard it, even read it, but didn’t believe it. As a woman who talks way too much, I thought it was my goal to reveal every tidbit of my life. I had my doubts about my ex’s sexual orientation and a dislike for my ninth grade locker partner. This did not benefit me. It may have made some men run screaming into the night. It is rather freeing to realize every aspect of my life does not have to be on an examining table. There are things I don’t tell my family. Why would I want to tell a man I‘ve known at best a couple of hours? Mysterious can be good. If he doesn't know everything then there is a reason for him to pursue you to learn more. Keep in mind you never have to reveal all.


There is a common joke among women my mother’s age that they allowed a man to chase them until they caught him. They knew all along which man they had set their cap for. Their girlfriends knew too and probably the guy too. Still, on his part, there was a bit of insecurity that she could prefer another guy or lose interest so he needed to be clear where his interest laid. He did this by bringing small gifts and squiring his girl around. There’s a good chance he also warned off other guys by either looks or actual words. Almost reminds me of a nature show where the male animal puts on his mating display to attract a female and chases off the competition. Ever wonder if the female animals were talking among themselves pointing out which male they liked already, but allowed the male to feel like he was the pursuer


Update: I joked on a blog that I allowed my husband to catch me, while I had decided on him from the start. This amazed him because he believed he was pursuing me. He was to an extent. Rather like primitive men, he demonstrated why he was superior to other men as far as a mate.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Men Reveal Their Dating Issues

As I promised, here is the scoop from the male point of view on online dating and just plain dating. Since they were kind enough to talk to me and answer my questions I will not use their real names. The first topic is getting out there.

Ethan: People assume if you’re a guy, single and not a troll that you must be dating. I haven’t been. I will admit to withdrawing after my last relationship broke up. I didn’t know if I could justify dating again. I know it’s a pessimist outlook, but won’t it just happen again?

Johann: When a man decides to date after divorce, he’s very vulnerable. One woman has just told him that he has no worth to her. That can make the man over react in an attempt to keep any woman who might show him a little interest. He practically becomes a doormat for the woman. Eventually the woman loses interest in a man who offers no challenge. The man is back where he started from only a little more bruised and bloodied.

James: The biggest problem is meeting women. I want to meet women around my age, professional, and attractive. I’m not sure how to meet these women. I’ve taken night classes, gone to church, even joined single groups without much success. I even bought books that advise you to ask women random questions at the grocery or the dry cleaners. So far, it hasn’t work for me. Usually I get a strange look when I try to make conversation, then the woman sprints for the check out.

Mark: I’ve tried online dating several times, several different sites. There are a lot of issues there with women not really wanting to date, but to email endlessly. Then there are the women who post photos that are 20 years old. The woman you asked out is not the woman you get. Makes me wonder what other things they lied about on their profile.

Eric: I’ve been off and on dating websites for a while. Truthfully, I find few women that even tempt me to write. Some people might call me picky, but why start something that you know isn’t going to work out.

Lane: Most of the women I emailed online, never responded, not even an email saying they weren’t interested. I’m not an ogre. I’ve heard that there are more men online than there are women.

James: Sometimes I just don’t think I have the energy to go through with it all again. I get caught up in how much work I put in past relationships just to have the woman walk out on me.

Mark: I wonder sometimes on my way to a date if it isn’t too late to turn around and go home. It would be a lot less stressful to watch television, but then I remember my life plan is not to spend the rest of my life alone.

Johann: Women also play games. Some women are in relationships, but they get online to check out if they can do better. I know men do it too, but when you’ve been caught in one of these games, it makes you bitter.

Zac: Women have all the cards. I see a woman I like. I have to talk to her, get her number, and call her up for a date. At any of these stages, I can be shot down. We could actually date a couple of times, then she makes up some trumped up excuse about needing space. The truth would serve me better. I need to know. How can I stop doing the wrong things if I don’t know what they are?

James: Women get mad when they are stereotyped, but they do it all the time. They might say only thing men want is to get laid. I want someone I can talk to about my day. When the time is right, I wouldn’t mind getting laid either.

Mark: I have to believe that older people successfully date. Older could mean anyone over thirty.:) If I didn’t believe that then I would be hopelessly depressed. Why bother dating?

James: Men have insecurities. Before going out on a date I often play with my hair trying to get my receding hairline to look less receding.

Zac: Women think we have it easy, but I think we have the harder part. I don’t date more because I don’t get the non-verbal message that a woman might be accepting of my advances. You can only get shot down so many times before you stop.

Mark: Then there are the weird dates, you know the ones. Where your date tells you that several members of her family are armed and dangerous and they know she's on a date--so if she doesn't come home on time you're dead meat.

Ladies, that is a smattering of what is going on in the mind of the single mature man (read over thirty-five.) As your intrepid researcher I was willing to go to any length to gather info. Some I actually took from dates who knew what I was doing. Others I gathered from friends and colleagues who gave me squinty-eyed sideways glances, probably wondering if I would take the info to my secret women meetings to be used against them.

So maybe men do have some of the same fears, doubts even insecurities that plague us. Ironically, I didn’t get one man who told me dating was fun. All the books, I’ve been reading on how to date like a man advised me just to go out and have fun, not to have any expectations past the night. I guess none of my informants knew it was all about living in the moment and having fun. I have to keep telling myself that it's about the moment, not the next twelve months.

The funniest comment I received was about a friend of a friend. His seventy-eight year old friend had a date with a charming, attractive, sixty-six year old lady. When asked about the date, he groused, that she looked old. Sometimes what we really need is a realistic view of ourselves before we even try to date.

I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Self Doubts and the First Date

I struggle with the idea that I’m just too old to date. I squint into the mirror and notice wrinkles as I apply my mascara. What am I thinking? I remember on TLC’s What Not to Wear, Stacey London is always cautioning the “mature” woman not to go too sexy in her dress because against a twenty-four year old, the twenty-four year old wins every time. I think about wearing a turtleneck, but since I already have my makeup on I’ll just be wearing a turtleneck with makeup on it. Besides I’ll end up looking like Diane Keaton in her last four movies. Still Diane Keaton looks good, maybe the turtleneck? Instead I go with the lucky clothes.

Not unlike men who insist on wearing certain clothing to play sports in the belief it helps them win, I have lucky clothing. Realistically, they aren’t all that magical. While my snakeskin cowboy boots caught the eye of the dentist I dated once, I didn’t. They also went along on a date with an engineer I never saw again. Maybe the boots are off-putting. Perhaps men think it is odd choice since I’m not riding a horse and do not run a dude ranch. They could be wondering about other peculiar choices I might make. Still, I pull them on along with my miraculous skinny jeans.

My skinny jeans are not those tight peg leg pants, but jeans that are guaranteed to make me look skinny. You’ve seen them in the store and wondered if they worked. Well, they’re definitely tighter than my regular jeans. Putting them off requires the same amount of work as pulling on a pair of pantyhose resulting with the same tight, lifted rear. I may not look skinnier, but definitely tighter.

Onto the shirt where I worry about how low the neckline should be. Since I’m no Dolly Parton and have no implants to showcase I settle for modest neckline, especially since that is all I own. It’s probably the easiest decision. Going for my turquoise turtle earrings, I feel like I am readying myself for a ritual sacrifice.

I never dated much when I was younger and I remember why. I couldn’t stand the anxiety when I waited to see if a guy would like me. It’s odd I never took the power in my hands and rejected them. I usually settled with one fellow, no matter how a bad of a fit he was, and stayed. It just seemed easier. That’s my whole dating history and marriages summed up in one sentence.

I decided maybe after an Oprah episode that I deserved better. I wanted a man who appreciated me exactly how I am and not for what I could do for him. Realistically, all women know that we’ll stop the pampering shortly after marriage. It gets old, then, all we have is a man who is resentful he’s no longer the sun in our universe. On the hand, we might resent him for being so self-centered and demanding. Thinking back wasn’t this inevitable. Ahh, dating, romance, relationships—am I any good at any of these?

As I brush my hair I wonder if there is any evidence I should date. I’ve had lukewarm relationships in the past. Men who wanted to marry me, but I was leery for various reasons. My dog was a better companion. I think that he is my measuring stick. A man has to outdo my dog and he’s been working it for the last nine years. Truth is he’s still pampered so apparently he knows stuff the men don’t. Every time I walk into a room I’m wonderful, the best thing that has ever happened to him up there with bacon.

Spraying my last spritz of perfume I’m almost ready. My mind set has changed from being rejected which I sometimes am to comparing men to my dog. Men my age are so different from young men. Young men are more willing to take chances and go out with anyone just for fun. If it doesn’t work it’s no big deal. After getting to the first date with a seasoned gentleman I think I should be able to do mediation for major companies. The second date must be more like the Middle East Peace Talks. I might have to call in Jimmy Carter for help.

I’m ready at least I think I am. Funny thing is I try to appear cool and confident when I’m the opposite. How did that cell phone get in my hand? I put it down without calling and making some silly excuse. Isn’t that him pacing in front of the restaurant? It’s show time. What am I doing I could be home sitting on my couch watching television…and we all know how exciting that is. Stupid eHarmony commercial. He turns and smiles, a big delighted I’m glad to see you smile. When I’m close enough he reaches out his hand to take mine, says my name before enveloping me into a hug. Now I remember why I’m doing this.

Tell me about your doubts if you’re dating or past doubts if you’re in a relationship. Next time, I have a handful of single guys who divulged what they go through in the dating process. It isn’t as easy or as wonderful from the male point of view as I thought

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Awkward Stage

Okay, let’s admit it, aren’t all stages of dating awkward? Maybe after seeing each other for about six months it’s less awkward. By that time, you decided or he has decided that you don’t suit. Then it is onto a different awkward stage. I’m going to start with the phone call awkward. I’ve gone over my online prospects. Emailed back and forth a few times, but now it is time to step up the game to the phone call level.

This is nerve wracking for me because I truly feel like it is a game and I was never good at sports. By myself, I would sink that basket almost every time. Well, maybe that was when I was by myself…in my imagination. Same with the phone call, I’m brilliant before I get on the phone. In reality, there will be awkward silences. Probably due to the fact, I’m worried that my voice is too low or raspy. Then there’s my accent. Is it too late to develop a faux British accent? For all my worries, things often don’t even progress to this stage.

Some men don’t really want to date. They rather like the prospect of dating as opposed to the actual date or at least that is the way it seems to me. I had a year-long email relationship to only have the man disappear from cyberspace after we arranged to meet. Of course, you’re wondering why I continued to email for an entire year? He was sweet and it was nice to get his upbeat messages. When I decided to push to meet he seemed all for it in an ambivalent way.:) I used tickets to a comedy club as my lure, but about two weeks before the actual event he cut all contact. He did not respond to my emails. I couldn’t bring myself to call. A woman needs some pride. A few of you are saying married. Perhaps, he just realized it.

Most guys want to talk on the phone. They are going through their own checklist. No doubt, they peered at my tiny profile picture wondering how old it is and how much it has been photo shopped.:) The next step is voices. A low masculine timber does it for me, add a slight accent, even a Kentucky one, and I begin to melt. Still, there are so many pitfalls in the call. I can only list my own. All I do at work all day is talk and basically make up things as I go. It makes sense a phone call would be a no brainer, which translates to no brain function of any measurable type while using the phone.

The first phone call is a minefield everything from not having a clue what to say to not being able to make decipherable sounds emerge from my throat. I called a gentleman that I was meeting and I croaked hello. Maybe he thought it was a bad phone connection, but at least he didn’t hang up. Then some men just don’t talk, never mind croaking. After keeping up both sides of the conversation and introducing topics, I’m whipped. Normally it isn’t that difficult having a conversation with myself, but with another person involved it is exhausting. I may not make my decision to mark Mr. Incommunicado off the list, but the pencil is definitely in my hand. I am puzzled why a man with such a great picture seems to be lacking a personality. Don’t answer this, I know.:)

Moving on to the next phone call, usually the men send me their numbers so I can call at my convenience. It is hard to catch me at home. Perhaps they might think I am screening my phone calls, which I am, but I will pick up if able. That’s why I like to call the first time. My college age daughter is very curious about my prospects and will offer comments. She will also park herself nearby if she thinks I am talking to a man. My taste and hers aren’t exactly the same.

I am hoping to attract an active, intelligent man with humor and charm. She, on the other hand, is hoping I latch on to someone rich who will spoil me rotten and it will spill over on her. Maybe she’s hoping for an international businessman who might whisk the family off to the British Isles. I dated an international businessman once and the most exotic place he ever spirited me off to was Benihana’s. So I didn’t share my daughter’s enthusiasm for men who would spoil her.

Off to awkward conversations, which are really information gathering missions in disguise. CIA could get hints from online daters. Is he going to say anything totally weird that kills any interest? As a hard-core dog person, I find a man without a dog slightly suspicious. In truth, I guess I am looking for reasons to disqualify a guy. Why waste time with someone who would not be a good fit? The usual conversations center on work, children, and hobbies. I faked my way through entire sports conversations. Because I have sons and work with the football coach, I am able to fake sports.:)

Why do this? I don’t know how to not do this. The man starts talking about what he knows and I respond. It is a classic awkward conversation. There are the conversations where the man talks about his various exploits and I listen, another type of awkward conversation. There is the dreaded ex conversation where I feel a bit like a therapist. Then there is the conversation where everything clicks. My daughter goes by several times and raises her eyebrows as I giggle. She mouths the words, “Geek Humor.” How did she know we were talking about Star Trek? Then it happens.

He asks what I’m doing for the weekend. The date talk. I managed to make it all the way to the date talk. Now, I just have to make it to the date. I have high hopes for the date, but also high anxiety.

Can you remember your most awkward conversation? While I used to think it was the time I asked Roy to the Sadie Hawkins Day dance in 9th grade. A recent conversation won hands down. A prospect wanted me to explain why I was divorced in detail as in what I did to cause the divorce. I know what I did I got married. As for him, I hung up.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Online Dating: Can’t Buy Me Love…

Well, maybe I can at least find out if there are likely men in the area. That’s my first thought as yet another commercial comes on featuring a smiling couple who met online. Let’s face it. It’s Friday night and I am alone at home watching the Seinfeld marathon. Besides, they are having a free trial period; surely if I’m quick I can snag a man without even joining. That’s my plan…along with a several thousand plus other people.

Currently there are more adult single people in the United Stated than people who classify themselves as married or co-inhabiting according to the US Census. With those type of numbers, why be alone on Friday night? I do wonder if they counted the men in prison, mental institutions, and on life support. If so, that really decreases the numbers, but still I grab the laptop. I know the drill. I’m no online dating novice. Those photos when you initially open the site of people in your city do not live in your city. First of all, I haven’t seen them anywhere. The smooth face males with soulful eyes, garbed in tailored clothing would stand out among the grizzled, tired men in NASCAR jackets in my town. I did see them on the promos for various other dating sites. That’s because the smaller sites are interconnected.

You might sign up with and suddenly you are receiving mail and offers from and (I made up the names, but with my luck they will be a real sites.)The joining fee is only about $30, so you might join the initial group, but not really get many appropriate matches. There is the thought of joining another add-on group to increase your odds. Resist. You basically are paying for the same pool of men. Only people who joined one of the interlocking groups get email offers. The ones who can afford the commercials offer you more people to choose from.

Knowing what I know, I signed up with the granddaddy of dating sites for my free trial. I have ten days—that sounds like a lot, but it isn’t. There is the initial processing—who knows what goes on there—before you are sent matches. Then, of course, you pick through your matches which arrive without photos to decide if any suit. Everyone knows men tend to be attracted to a woman’s outward appearance. As a woman, I like to think I’m not that shallow, but I would like a photo. That gives me a hint. A man who can’t even manage a smile for a dating website is not someone I’m interested in. Better yet, is the man holding aloft an oversized margarita in a bar. I would definitely pass on the man posing with the Hooter girls. Photos tell us so much, especially the photos a man picks to interest a potential date. Unfortunately, I have no photos.

All I have to go on is a few words on a profile. Words he may not have written. Daughters, sisters, even mothers have written profiles for the men in their lives. I even offered to write a profile for an ex-boyfriend I felt especially guilty breaking up with. I do find some profiles that interest me and send a wink or a comment. Be cautious ladies. Some of the low-end sites allow you to IM the person immediately. Often IMing is used by men in relationships for a thrill, to check the waters, or even as a bit of a game when a bunch of guys are together. You may not be IMing the man you saw on the profile because you’ll never actually meet him. Know who you are talking to—this becomes a bit tricky.

I’ve overheard my high school students talking about creating profiles online. Of course, they tried to create a profile that met their teenage fantasies. It must have met a great deal of older male fantasies because they got a great deal of hits. They used a photo from the Swedish Bikini Ski Team. It was a great game for these guys to respond to letters from lovelorn men. I mention this because online daters need to be careful.

Use a nickname instead of your real name; be vague about where you live, mention a nearby town, but not yours. Watch who is in your photos. As a newbie, I used my name, the exact small suburb of a larger city where I lived, and I had a picture of my large monstrosity of dog and me. The end result was a match I rejected started following me around town yelling my name. I joked I moved to get away from my stalker, but I did move. Watch what you reveal and how soon you reveal it. It’s better not to reveal anything messy online.

Please be careful of the too good to be true men. They write beautifully and if you actually paid for a membership you’ll see their extreme hotness factor. Shock of all shock, they’re interested in you. Your wonderful online friend thinks you might be soul mates…it is almost like a romantic novel. Don’t spend too much time on this one because he’s not real and will be asking you for money soon. Been there, did that, didn’t send money, but sent the picture around to all my friends to identify. He was identified as a quarterback for an NFL team. Back to the actual men or what I think are the actual men.

Okay, I sent off a few nods and winks to guys I might be interested in. I also got a few back. Now is the time to exchange the stilted questions. I make in fun of these, but in truth what do you really say when talking to someone you don’t know? If I was good at this, I wouldn’t be online! Some reply, some don’t. One or two that reply might say something totally weird. The pool of matches just got significant smaller. This isn’t going as well or as quick as I expected. It seems like we all have work and life to clog up our free time when we could be online. Time is running out as the company is so quick to remind me. It takes almost six months they cheerfully point out to find the right one. Each time I login they flash their join-up now price, which is too high.

On the last day of the trial, they drop their prices about 75%. I join because they dropped their prices and there were a few guys I just wanted to know what they looked like and continue to get to know them.

Join me for part two: which includes more truth and awkward first dates. Share your online experiences.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Welcome to Cougar Land

Where is the last place you expect to meet your next date? Dry cleaners? Drive-thru? Funeral home? Did anyone else mention funeral home? Little did I know that I would meet the next man I would date at the funeral of my deceased boyfriend. I hadn’t slept for days and had been living on a steady diet of Chai Tea Lattes and chocolate when I bumped into him.

Of course, I didn’t noticed the tall man in the dark suit immediately because I was devastated. Between quietly weeping, I managed to give the eulogy. No small feat. Then it was the thank you for coming line. The man was beside me again offering light chatter to keep my mind off the dark day. I thought he was the funeral director. He mentioned he had something the deceased wanted me to have and that he would be happy to mail it to me. I gave him my card before going to the bereavement dinner.

At the dinner, I asked around if anyone knew the man. Was he a cousin? No, people seemed generally perplexed because he only talked to me. After a while, I did hear from Mr. Mysterious who happened to be a student of my deceased boyfriend, a culinary school chef. He sent me articles about my sweetie, pictures from the school newspaper, jokes and cards. It was all very sweet and went on for months. It was a comfort to get a cheerful email from him two or three times a week.

I mentioned this to my co-workers and they teased me about Mr. Mysterious having a crush on me. On me, you’re kidding, he’s a kid, a college student, an older college student, but still good twelve or so years younger than me, I explained. Their response was to roll their eyes and smile knowingly. When my new friend asked me out for drinks, I became flustered causing him to back off and inform me it wasn’t a date. I deferred anyhow and was almost strung up by my co-workers for my actions.

“This as close as I’ll ever get to cougar land,” Mimi whined, “being happily married and all.”

“Don’t’ be selfish, do it for your friends, then report,” Charmaine added to Mimi’s original argument.

I tried to explain that I’d already rejected him that he wouldn’t ask again. You ask him another friend advised. You know he’s going to say yes. So I did, I asked him to lunch as a thank you for all the kind things he did for me as I grieved.

The restaurant was one of those chain places I can’t quite remember because I was so shocked at the sight of my pen pal. At the funeral, he was so somber, but as a nod to summer, he was sporting a Hawaiian shirt, a tan, and a big smile. My goodness, he was gorgeous, tall and young. Our young waitress flirted with him outrageously although he did not respond. Instead he concentrated solely on me, even reaching across the table to grab my hand. I did my best not to do the Linda Blair head swivel to see who was watching. Peppy waitress took a step back and her face fell. Good.

Perhaps, it was a date afterall. We spent the rest of the day together, walking in the park, shopping, going to see a chick flick, then another restaurant. It almost seemed like a movie. Instead of looking up into my date’s eyes I tried to see who was watching since I felt so self conscious. We were in a college town, wouldn’t a co-ed object to me dipping into her pool of prospects. There seemed to be no outrage or surprise besides the waitress.

We actually dated for another three months. It was a fun relationship full of outdoor adventures like kayaking and rock climbing. Not something I can interest most men my age in doing. It ended for a number of reasons. He asked me to marry him which indicated he was much more serious than I was. This was shortly after I had the epiphany on the patio deck of the Red Lobster.

Our clasped hands were on the white tablecloth and I couldn’t help noticing the differences. His hand was pale and smooth, while my hand was dark, scarred and lined—not the hands of a young woman. Why did I spend so much money on face cream and almost nothing on hand cream? Probably because I never knew this moment was coming.

We parted amicably, but every now and then he lets me know he’s still available. I figure the calls coincide with the end of relationships.:) I know now it was a rebound relationship which happens. Have I dated anyone younger again? Once, but I decided he was too much of a wild card. Which brings me once again to how do you meet men?

You tell me about your unusual meeting and next time I reveal some dirty secrets about online dating. I know a bunch!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Who Dates After Forty-eight?

Who dates after forty-eight? You'd be surprised. In my state there are more single people at the age forty-eight than married. I know this because of the latest census. I'm not surprised, too much. At least half the women I meet are divorced . Sometimes it is more than half. So you figured there has to be at least that many divorced men out there, along with the widowed and never married men. Plenty of folks to meet if I was so inclined and I am.

Back when I was in my twenties and married, Doritos ran a commericial with teens talking about people over thirty how dull their lives must be. The backdrop to their discussion was hot thirty somethings at a party laughing, flirting and gobbling Doritos. I found the commercial amusing because I had my doubts about older folks being all that interesting, but now I am the older folk.

It's funny how everything changes when it is you. Occassionally, I find myself surprised that I am not married. When you spend the major part of your adult life being married some habits are pretty set. I need to quit using expressions like my husband and I, especially on dates. Tends to startle my date some.

I know there are other women out there who are going through the same thing I am.I thought it would be beneficial to share. Letting all the other forty-plus women out there know that yes other women are experiencing the same weird date syndrome; however, I am betting my dates are weirder than yours.

It wasn't my plan to be single, but it grew out the fact that the children were leaving home and I would be left with nothing, but a husband who seldom talked to me. When I tried to talk to him, he turned up the television. The thought of another twenty-plus years of this type of life had me considering divorce. Didn't bother my ex too much because in his words, he would be steak on the dating market. He felt he was so much better than any other man out there.

After the divorce, I wasn't out there dating madly, far from it.My new financial situation had me working two jobs to get by. The only man I saw on a regular basis was the butcher at my grocery. He was very friendly...and married.Like so many women, I joined an online dating site.

Oddly, I didn't get many dates from the site. Instead the men my age would spend hours literally interviewing me to see if they wanted to go out with me. After they initially contacted me, asked me various questions about religion, children, occupation and sexuality they decided we didn't suit. I had long phone conversations with a couple of them, even set up first meetings that they cancelled out on usually after I had already dressed. What was it? Before I married and had kids, I had no trouble finding dates. Was it how I looked? As a middle-aged catholic school teacher, I tended to favor sweater sets, pants and flats. Did I need to change?

My second job was in an upscale women's clothing shop. Most of the other women were younger than me and took me on as a project. Their goal was to make me into a hottie, the older version. I resisted the mini-skirt, the leather pants and the sky-high stilettos. My pistol-packing manager convinced me I was wearing clothes one size too large for me. I tend to listen to an armed woman who also has a tendency to be a bit volatile.

The outside transformation took weeks as I took baby steps out of my comfort zone. The pants got tighter and I started wearing skirts with heels. Because we had such a strict dress policy at our store, my nails and toenails had to be polished. For so long, toes were something I hid with a pair of socks. Dressing takes so much longer when you are creating an image.:)

When out, I would look for the women who were dressed well, I tend to think of it as on the prowl dressing. Might be a normal suit, but the color was more provacative or the fit was tighter. Nine out of ten times I could recognize the divorced woman in the grocery line. Ever wonder why the divorced men don't step up their game? The men you see all pulled together are looking, but not for women. I tried to step it up more with makeup.

I piled on the mascara since my eyes are my best feature. It was hard for me to take makeup too seriously because I never wore it much. It would seem so fake--not me. I've gotten over that by now, but this was then. Ironically, the person who helped me the most was my teenage daughter. The same person who was sure I ruined her life because the divorce took place in her senior year.

Ladies, and gentlemen if there are any, I would be interested in hearing about your transformation. Next time, I will tell you about my first date with a much younger man.