Starting Out Silver

Dating in one’s 50’s, or even later than that, is something else again. It’s not for sissies. It adds another whole layer of complexity to things.

In your 50’s, you’re more apt to come with appliances. Glasses. Dentures. Night Guards, canes or back braces, arch supports, bottles of pills.

There are things you can no longer do. Maybe your lower back isn’t up to that 10-mile hike. Or you don’t hear well enough to hang out in that noisy bar. You become less flexible, both physically and emotionally.

Chances are you’ve outgrown a lot of the shenanigans of your youth, too. Getting drunk isn’t as much fun anymore. One night stands are just depressing. And yes, I’d love that slice of pizza, but green peppers give me indigestion.

You also come with a boatload of baggage. You’ve got your whacky adult children, for a start. And ex-husbands or wives. Experiences you’d rather not repeat. You are skittish.

And lest we forget, that first impression of you naked is not going to be as stellar as it was when you were in your 20’s. Gravity has taken its toll. There are surgery scars. There are wrinkles and sags and grey hair, or no hair at all. Some things don’t work as well as they used to.

And, speaking from a purely female perspective, there are a whole lot of older men who are still looking for women in their 30’s. Lord knows why. They won’t be able to keep up with them. But they still expect you to be lean and athletic, with nice tight… skin. In other words, they’re in a fantasy world.

But oh, when you get it right… it’s magical. Age-appropriate partners are much easier to relate to. They get your cultural references. They understand your jokes. There’s a feeling of “we’re in this together.” You’ve each made your share of mistakes and have therefore learned a great deal. You’re hopefully more patient. You have many more stories to tell.

And even better, you get to feel young again. Just when you thought those butterflies in your stomach had moved on, they’re baaaaack! You forgot you knew how to blush. Life seems much more exciting. Hope springs eternal. And best of all, you appreciate things so much more because you never thought you’d ever have those things again.

What a gift!

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Nice Try, Player

There’s a reason I have stayed off the internet dating websites for quite some time now. I kept meeting the worst of men; the very dregs of masculinity. In fact, I’ve met so many icky men in cyberspace that I began to look at all men as icky. I decided that if I wanted to continue to function effectively in this world, it would be best if I didn’t get in the habit of looking at 49 percent of the population as pond scum.

So now I have date night with my dog. He’s not the most brilliant conversationalist, but he’s yet to taint my view of the planet. And he doesn’t mind chick flicks.

So time goes on. I rarely even think of romance anymore. It’s quite liberating, actually. I’m getting a lot done. I have fewer dust bunnies.

Then the phone rang. It was a local number that seemed vaguely familiar, so I answered it.

“Hey Barb, It’s S, from the dating website?”

“S…? Oh! S. Hi?”

Why in the hell would this guy be calling me? We went out twice. We had a great time. We hit it off, actually. But in the end, he was so self-absorbed that he expected me to be there for his drama, but when my beloved dog Blue was dying a weeks-long, horrible death, he mysteriously disappeared. In fact, he stood me up on our last date because he forgot he was getting his chest hair waxed.

No sooner had I buried Blue, but S tried contacting me again. I told him that I had been through a month of hell, and sure could have used a friend, and he was nowhere to be found, so I didn’t see friendship, let alone romance, on our horizon.

And yet, a year later, here he was on my phone.

“Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you, Barb. I just was wondering if you got the test results.”

“Test results?”

“Oh. Did I call the wrong Barbara? Oh! I remember you. You were, like, 70, and lived in Shoreline?”

“I used to live in Shoreline, yes, but I’m 52.” (Bitch!)

Why was I even talking to this guy? I bet he couldn’t even remember my hair color. But then, I slow down to look at traffic accidents, too.

“Oh, definitely the wrong Barbara, then. This Barbara is only a friend, and she got some medical tests done two weeks ago, and I was just wondering how they went. But, hey, I remember you were, like, a really, really good kisser, Barb.”

“Um, yeah. Well… take me off your contacts list, will you, S? We wouldn’t want this mistake to happen again.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“Best of luck to your friend Barbara. Bye.”

“Bye.”

Saints preserve us.

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Licking My Wounds

Recently I met the cousin of a friend, and he’s amazing. We seemed to have a lot in common. Our politics are in line, and that’s really important to me. He’s around my age. He has an energy that he puts out that makes me feel really comfortable. Even better, he doesn’t live that far from me, and he’s also good looking, which never hurts.

After talking to him a few times, I decided I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. Even though it’s against my Southern upbringing, I decided to stick my neck out from my safe little shell and make the first move. I texted him and said I really enjoyed talking to him. Would he like to meet for dinner tomorrow?

He responded that he had something doing tomorrow, but maybe we could do so on another day. I thought, “Okay, that’s understandable. It was short notice.”  “Another day” certainly sounded encouraging. I knew we’d be crossing paths briefly the next day, so I thought we could make plans then. I found myself happily humming in anticipation the whole next morning.

When he showed up, I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face. Until I realized that he wasn’t reciprocating. In fact, he was formal, tense, and left so quickly you’d think his butt was on fire. Message received.

Okay, so apparently he’s just not into me. It happens. In fact it has been happening a lot to me in the past year. God, it hurts like hell, but unfortunately I’m starting to get used to it. I’m starting to expect it. Frankly, I’m sick of it.

But why the mixed signals? That is monumentally effed up, if you ask me. He could have easily said, “Thanks so much. I am flattered, but I have a girlfriend.” I wouldn’t have known the difference, and my ego would have remained intact. Would that have been so hard?

Then I heard the rest of the story from my friend. He’s in the middle of a divorce, and apparently his wife did something pretty awful. He’s probably a bit gun shy.

That makes sense. I’ve never been known for my stellar timing. But the sad thing is that even if he did feel the connection that I did, now he won’t ever get in touch when he’s reached the point where he’s ready, because I’m sure he’ll think that after blowing me off, that bridge has been burned.

Part of me thinks that I dodged a bullet. I am a little too emotionally fragile myself these days to be someone’s transitional woman. But part of me wishes that I could say to him, “You have no idea, yet, how messed up the dating world is for our age group, and just how many crazies are out there. Eventually you’ll find out. When you do, I hope you’ll try with me again. If I’m still available, you might just discover that I am worth the effort. Because I thought you were.”

But there’s always a chance that my first assumption was the right one. He wasn’t interested. No doubt his wife was thinner, prettier. He hasn’t been in the 50-something dating world long enough to lower his standards to a real person. Yet. I guess I’ll never know.

It is a good lesson to be reminded that not everyone has the same priorities or agenda that I do. I tend to forget that sometimes, to my everlasting regret. But meanwhile, I freakin’ give up. No more first moves for me. Waaaaay too painful. Honestly, I don’t know how men do it.

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Where Are You?

Okay, let’s see if this “six degrees of separation” thing actually works. I could use your help. The bottom line is I’m lonely and I’m discouraged.

I moved to Seattle a year and a half ago, not knowing a soul. But I’m not really sure that I fully understood what a huge leap of faith that would be. Had I thought it through, I may not have had the courage to take that step.

I think I’m a good person. I’m funny and interesting and compassionate and passionate and entertaining and intelligent and I have integrity. I’m also someone who thrives in a relationship, but out here I can’t even get a date.

Not for lack of trying, believe me. I’ve recently stepped off the toxic treadmill of rejection that is internet dating. I think I met every nut job and player in the Seattle metropolitan area. I have to admit that my work schedule does not do me any favors. My “weekends” are Mondays and Tuesdays. That makes it hard to meet people. But I think I’m worth the extra effort.

I think part of the reason I get passed over is that I’m not a girly girl, I’m not a size 3, and I couldn’t give two sh**s about the NFL. But come on, there has to be someone out there who doesn’t care about those things.

I just want a guy who would like to travel, locally and internationally. Someone smart who would be fun to talk to. Someone curious about the world. Someone who accepts me as I am. Is that too much to ask? It would also be nice if the man in question were between the ages of 48 and 60, and lived within 25 miles of Seattle.

I have my deal breakers, too. I will not date a smoker. If your children are under 18 I’ll run screaming in the opposite direction. And I would have absolutely nothing in common with a conservative.

Where are you???? Because believe me, I’m right here.

If you know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone, please pass this along. If they want to know more about me, my daily blog is me. It’s my heart and soul in cyberspace.

As vulnerable as I just made myself, I must be sincere. So please, spread the world.

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Looking for a Miracle Worker

I just watched a remake of the movie The Miracle Worker, about Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Whenever I watch this movie, I am reminded of one of the many reasons I am not a parent. If I had to deal with such an out of control child, if my kid ever bit me, smashed crockery, or had tantrums that lasted for hours, that child would not survive to adulthood. I’m sure of it. I have zero tolerance for some things, and incorrigible, bratty behavior tops that list.

There’s not a doubt in my mind that Anne Sullivan should be considered for sainthood. She was a much better woman than I will ever be. Because of her unflinching faith in Helen, because she believed in her so thoroughly and refused to give up under the harshest, most challenging of circumstances, the world got to benefit from the existence of an amazing human being. You have only to read Helen Keller’s Wikipedia Page to see just how much she contributed to society.

Even though most of us don’t face the challenges that Helen did on a daily basis, we all could use someone in our lives who believes in us, who accepts our weaknesses and yet wants to bring out the best of our personalities. I long for that.

I’m particularly conscious of this desire at this point in my life, when I’m swimming through the harsh and ominous waters of the dating world. I’m constantly told that my hair isn’t long enough, my waist isn’t thin enough, my style isn’t girly enough to be “good enough” for various and sundry men in this world.

It’s hard to maintain your self-confidence in the face of such criticism. And it’s frustrating to know deep down that I am a worthy person, and am not even being given a chance to prove it. I’m not going to try to become someone I’m not just to attract someone who doesn’t want the person I am now.

I have to keep the faith that somewhere out there is the male equivalent of an Anne Sullivan for me. Come out, come out, wherever you are. I promise I won’t throw any crockery.

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Helen Keller with Anne Sullivan, 1888.

Another Story-The Hardest Thing to Say

Whenever possible, I attend a monthly storytelling group here in Seattle called Fresh Ground Stories. Each month it has a theme, and this month’s was “The Hardest Thing to Say”. I decided to tell a story about how hard it has been to remain dignified and polite in the world of internet dating.

You can hear that story below, but for those of you who don’t have that ability, I’m attaching the text I rehearsed. For once I stayed pretty faithful to it.

This is the fifth story I’ve told in front of an audience. It’s always such a rush! If you’d like to hear all my stories, go here.

I once stayed in a very unsatisfying relationship for 16 years because I didn’t want to hurt the guy’s feelings. I am nothing if not polite.

That, and I was terrified of being alone, and wanted a steady date for all major holidays.  I think he stayed with me because he had no idea what love looked like, and didn’t think he deserved better. That relationship  died a long, slow, death, and it taught me what I don’t want.

Then I met Chuck, and for the 4 years before he passed away, I had met my match. We were emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, passionately, and hilariously compatible.

That relationship taught me what I deserve.

So here I am, ready to try again, but with my screwed up work schedule, it’s hard to meet people. So I joined a dating website. Yeah, it’s come to that.

And at first, what a rush! 60 guys viewed my profile in the first day! I started to think that maybe I’d actually get laid before Christmas! Yay! But then I realized that none of them contacted me, so that was more like 60 rejections in the first day. Ouch.

So I decided to stop looking at the guys who were looking at me and just look through profiles, find ones that intrigued me, and then reach out to them. I did see some that looked interesting, and I sent them messages. And most of them ignored me completely. How rude!

Which is when I decided that even if being polite did not serve me well in the past, I would still strive to take the high road. Anyone who took the time to actually read my profile and send me a message would always get a response from me of some kind, even if it was only to politely say, “Thanks for contacting me. I don’t think we’d be a good match, but I wish you the very best of luck in your search.”

The high road turned out to be harder than I thought.

One guy contacted me out of the blue with a graphic description of what he’d like to do to me.  I gave him my stock polite no thanks,  and he said that he had a Ph.D., was a counselor for many years, and it was obvious that I have a generalized anxiety disorder that prohibits me from socializing with anyone. Seriously, thank God for the block feature!

Another was sweet and attractive, and told me I was beautiful but he was also 20 years my senior. He understood when I passed on his, er, pass. But the last thing he said to me was, “That’s a pity, because I was hoping to fall in love one last time.” That still brings tears to my eyes.

I did have a few dates. One turned out to be on the sex offender’s database, due to a “complete misunderstanding” of course. (Isn’t it always a complete misunderstanding?) Another spent 5 minutes trying to get the legs of our dinner table back into the pre-established dents in the carpet.

One guy who contacted me asked me why I didn’t think we’d be a good match, so I told him that I found all the cleavage shots of scantily clad women on his profile to be a bit off-putting. To that he responded that I was obviously flat chested ( I know, right?) and not into real men.

Okay, this was all starting to feel a little bit like abuse. And it caused me to learn something about myself: I do have my limits. I responded, “REAL MEN don’t objectify women. REAL MEN don’t go from zero to hostile after a little bit of polite rejection from a total stranger. And… YOU PROBABLY  LIVE WITH YOUR MOTHER!”

Not my proudest moment, to be sure. But it felt soooo good.

So much for the high road. I told myself that I’d try to do better next time, because believe it or not, I haven’t given up hope. And I have made a few friends along the way. And I am a polite person and I don’t want to lose that quality in this process.

Then just the other day I was tested yet again. I got a message from a guy who called himself BootySmoocher. He said, “Yes, I know I’ve chosen a strange name, but it’s because I like to give r** jobs. Would you like to discuss it over coffee?”

As I stared at the screen, I said to myself, “Take the high road. Take the high road.” Plus, shooting him down would be too easy. So I took a deep cleansing breath and responded, “Thanks for contacting me, BootySmoocher, but as a general rule, I don’t rim on the first date. Good luck with…uh…that, though.”

Old Guys with Young Taste

There’s nothing quite like being a single woman in your 50’s. If you are attempting to date an age-appropriate man, you have to not only find someone who isn’t too set in his ways to be able to commit, but you also have to weed through the great percentage of them who are still operating in a fantasy world.

Here are a few things I’ve recently read in the on-line profiles of my male contemporaries:

  • I prefer women who are a size three.
  • I still want to have children.
  • I will only respond to women between the ages of 18 and 35.
  • My dream girl should be at least 5’10” and less than 130 pounds.
  • I’m attracted to innocent looking women with waif-like features.
  • Seeking someone who is athletic and healthy.
  • I won’t tolerate any baggage whatsoever.

Please understand that while I totally get that the heart wants what it wants, these are men in their late 50’s, most of whom are pot-bellied and balding, with a fair amount of baggage of their own. If they get the thing they are looking for, what they are most likely getting is a woman who wants a sugar daddy. That’s not love. That’s not healthy.

Yeah, yeah, before you say anything, I know that there are plenty of women out there with unrealistic expectations as well. But I’m not trying to date them. And the world, or at least this blog, revolves around me.

And meanwhile, there are real and amazing women out there, like me, who are watching these old farts die off, safe in their fantasy worlds, while we go to bed alone every night, hugging our pillows, with plenty of love to give said farts. What a waste.

People, if you don’t adjust your expectations with your age, you will be old and alone.

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On Babies and Bathwater

 So, I joined an internet dating website. Yeah, it’s come to that. And at first, man, what a rush! About 60 guys viewed my profile the first day!

But then the only ones that contacted me were calling themselves “TurboTube4U” or “SexMachine1964”. Or they were located in Timbuktu with improbable male model photographs straight out of Shutterstock.com.  I’ll pass.

And then there were a few who I politely declined because you know, you can kind of tell… and one replied, “You’re obviously flat chested and not into real men.” Another said I had generalized anxiety disorder that interfered with normal socialization because I wouldn’t hop into bed with him based on one on-line conversation.

Hooo. Dodged a few bullets with those two.

Needless to say, by now, I was kind of over the whole internet dating thing.

Then I got contacted by a guy who was kind, attractive, and actually knew how to spell, and we chatted for about a week for hours on end. We had a lot in common. Our politics, our interests, our goals, even our crazy work schedules seemed to line up. We began to finish each other’s sentences. He seemed to know what I was thinking. One night we were talking about our religious philosophies, and right in the middle of that he changed the subject and said, “You know, you shouldn’t be self-conscious about your body. You are totally my type.”

Oh my God. I was in love. I mean, if the man had asked me to sign over the pink slip on my car at that moment, I probably would have. (But then, no one would want my car.) For the next few days I was walking around humming The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music.

So finally, we agreed to meet at a public park. No pressure. Just walk around the lake and talk. And it was a fantastic date. We talked for hours. We shared the skeletons in each other’s closets, and we still liked each other. We laughed. And the chemistry, oh, yeah, that was there.

I remember thinking, “Omigod, I might actually get laid before Christmas! Yay!!!!!”

So things were going well. I began to think that maybe my search was over and I could get off that horrible website.

Then, I went to see his condo. And it was gorgeous. He had remodeled it himself and decorated it himself, and it had a spectacular view. It was amazing.

And then he went into the bathroom. And that’s when everything changed. Because when he came back out, he noticed that the coffee table had been moved. He spent several minutes trying to make sure that the legs went back into the pre-established dents in the carpet.

And while he did that, I looked at the place with fresh eyes. It was spotless. All the window blinds were at the exact same level. All the towels were folded identically. Everything was arranged by size. Probably alphabetized, too.

I said, “I don’t think you’d like my house.” And it’s true. It’s not like I have moldy ham sandwiches under the bed or anything, but there are one or two dust bunnies under there. And I’m not a hoarder, but there’s clutter. And I have dogs, so I’ve long since given up on making the bed.

We looked at each other, and you could see the romantic bubble bursting behind both of our eyes. I knew I wouldn’t ever be able to function under all his self-imposed rules and impossible expectations, and he would never be able to comfortably climb into my bed without wrapping himself in plastic from head to toe. Somehow, this particular topic hadn’t come up during our halcyon days.

But oddly enough, I wasn’t sad. I know my mind takes these romantic flights of fancy and they rarely survive the cold light of day. I let him break it to me gently. And I responded, “I completely understand and agree. But I also wanted to tell you I’m glad you came into my life. I think you’re great, and fun to be around, and I hope we can still be friends.

See, I’ve never been one to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and here was this truly wonderful guy that I enjoyed being around, and both our profiles say we were both also looking for friends. He always said he wanted to get out more. I had images of bringing him to my storytelling group, even being his wing man to help him find that special someone. Doing the occasional lunch. Trading pithy banter via text.

So I also said to him, “If you still want to take that drawbridge tour, I’d be happy to see you.”

He thanked me for “being so mature about it.” He said, “maybe some other time.” And I haven’t heard from him since.

The romance bubble burst, as they often do. But what made me sad, what brought a few tears to my eyes, is that after all the things we did have in common he still didn’t find me friend-worthy. So I went from thinking that I could be falling in love to actually feeling sorry for the guy, because I have to say I’m an amazing friend to have.

I can see his condo from my drawbridge. I see the glow of his television. I see him on the dating website, searching… searching… and it just makes me sad, you know? Because real connections are hard to come by in this world, and they shouldn’t be discarded just because they didn’t take the form you originally hoped for.

Gifts are gifts. They come in all shapes and sizes. And I hope I never stop feeling that way, because I really like that about myself.

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Internet Dating Profile Tips for Men

Now that I’ve reluctantly dipped my toe into the internet dating pool, my biggest frustration is that I don’t get to see the profiles of other women. I can’t assess my “competition”. Why am I being passed over? Does my profile stand out too much? Not enough?

And should you be highly specific in your profile, therefore weeding out a lot of people that would be a bad match and thus not wasting your time, or should you be more general, thus drawing in more people, and having to weed them out yourself on the first date, but allowing for a lot more benefit of the doubt? I can see arguments for and against both sides, but I’ve chosen to be specific in my profile.

What I have had the opportunity to do is view about a thousand profiles for men, so I think I can speak with a little authority about them. So what follows are things that have become obvious to me in a short period of time.

Profile do’s and don’ts

  • Don’t lie. If you’re using a photo that was taken 20 years ago, or have gained 200 pounds, or are bragging about a Mercedes that you don’t own, or say you don’t smoke when you do, or say that your kids are grown and out of the house when actually you have a set of 8 year old twins who still live with you, the truth is going to come out when you meet. Where does that get you?
  • Proofread your profile. You could be the smartest man in the world, but if your profile is full of spelling errors or grammar issues, you’re going to look like a dummy. If writing isn’t your strong suit, have a friend proofread it for you.
  • DON’T USE SHOUTY CAPITALS!!!
  • Choose your profile name carefully. If you call yourself something like “TurboStud4you” many women, who would like to be thought of as more than a sex toy, will pass you by.
  • The majority of women on these sites are looking for more than sex. They’re looking for companionship. So talk about what you like to do for fun. If all you talk about is sex, many of us will pass you by, assuming you’re only interested in that one act. If your profile indicates that you’re not really interested in getting to know us as people, we’ll look for someone who is. If that really is your only interest, save us all a lot of time and just go straight to a prostitute.
  • Include a picture. Many of us won’t even look at profiles without pictures. If you can’t tell if there’s potential for chemistry, you’ll move on to a profile that does provide that information, and there are plenty of those out there, believe me.
  • Don’t leave huge sections of your profile blank. For example, if you leave the “What I’m looking for in a woman” section blank, then I won’t respond to you, because I have no idea if I would be what you’re looking for. There are plenty of other profiles out there that will give me this information. Don’t make me guess.
  • Don’t make demands. State preferences. No one likes to be bossed around.
  • Be original. Many of these dating sites will provide you with profile examples. They’re not meant to be cut and pasted into your profile. I’m amazed at how many profiles are identical, word for word. I skip those. I want some sign that you’ve given this process some thought.
  • Don’t say you’re a nice guy. Every profile says that. Instead, give examples. “I volunteer at the local animal shelter” makes ME conclude that you’re a nice guy, and that seems more genuine.
  • Also include candid shots of you out and about, doing what you like to do. It’s nice to provide context. Try to avoid including photos of you looking like a serial killer, and don’t include pictures of you intoxicated unless that’s your usual state. Ask a friend for photo feedback if necessary.
  • I understand the instinct to lead with a photo of you in a suit and tie or a tuxedo, but if you wouldn’t mind a woman who prefers to be more casual, that could put her off. On the other hand, if your lead picture is you in a wife-beater, that will put off women who may occasionally like to dress up. (Which of course is fine if you aren’t interested in that type, but otherwise…)
  • Tread lightly when discussing fitness. I appreciate that I’ve yet to see the word “fat” in a profile, but many men say they want a woman who is fit. That’s fine. It’s honest. But you have to realize that many women have warped body images, so you may think a woman is fit, but she may not, and will therefore not respond to you, so you’ll have missed out on an opportunity to meet someone wonderful. Perhaps a better way of saying it would be, “I would like someone who would enjoy riding a bike 4 times a week,” or something to that effect.
  • And if you are yourself fit but would be willing to date someone who is slightly less fit, don’t emphasize your fitness so much. I, for one, skip the fitness talkers, for fear of rejection. Just show your fitness in your photo and leave it at that, unless you really do want to eliminate certain body types.
  • If you’re into sports (for example) but would be okay with someone who isn’t, then don’t make sports the primary focus of your profile.
  • Don’t make your profile only about what you want. You’ll look selfish. Also make it about who you are and what you have to offer.

Making Contact

If you haven’t figured this out already, you will in short order: There are a lot of crazies and bottom feeders and scammers on these sites. You will hopefully be contacted by a lot of people, and make contact with a lot. There is a way to navigate past the crazies. Here’s a little contact etiquette.

  • If someone takes the time to send you a personalized message which shows they’ve obviously read your profile and have specific questions or comments, give them a courtesy of a response, even if it’s only, “Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately I don’t think we’d be a good match, but good luck on your search!”
  • If someone sends you a generalized flirt, respond or don’t, it’s up to you. They’re testing the waters.
  • If someone contacts you from out of state, they’re most likely a scammer, or using the shotgun method. (If they contact a hundred men, one is bound to respond.) I strongly encourage you to blow these off.
  • If someone sends you a very generic message in chat, such as, “Hey, cutie! How are you doing today?” they are DEFINITELY using the shotgun method. Block them.
  • For the love of God, DO NOT send unsolicited photos of your body parts. (If you need to be told that, you probably need more help than this blogger can give you.)
  • If you read a profile and think you want to meet that person, don’t send a message right off the bat that says let’s meet. Talk for a while back and forth on the message forum before suggesting a meeting. That way you can get some sense of each other first, and the woman will not feel like you’re desperate or simply playing a serial dater numbers game.
  • If you read a profile, are interested, but don’t make contact, don’t be surprised if the woman doesn’t contact you. She’ll assume you’re just a “looky-loo” and have decided you’re not interested. Go ahead, reach out!

Safety

  • Do NOT put anything in your profile that even hints at your work or home location, your full name, where you can be found at any specific time, or outside contact info. Don’t even provide this in messages. Not unless you want to risk coming home to find a rabbit boiling in a pot on your stove.
  • Always meet in a neutral public place at first, like a coffee shop. Don’t reveal your address.
  • Tell someone where you’re going, how long you plan to be gone, and who you’re meeting.
  • Encourage the woman to follow these safety guidelines as well. She’ll appreciate your concern.

We’re living in a cyber world. Internet dating has become ubiquitous. Many people have success stories. But as with anything, you’ll get as much out of the experience as you put into it. Good luck!

[Image credit: destinationfemme.com]
[Image credit: destinationfemme.com]

How Do Men Do It?

At the risk of setting the women’s movement back 50 years, I have to say there are certain characteristics that are more traditionally male that I’d much rather not take on. Having recently thrown my hat into the dating ring, I’ve been trying to make the first move a lot more than I ever had to in my younger days. This goes against all my instincts. I’m so far out of my comfort zone that I can’t even see it from here. But my current philosophy is nothing ventured, nothing gained, and therefore I’ve been putting myself out there. Or at least I’ve been trying. So far all this has gotten me is a boatload of rejection.

Men may not like rejection, but they’re more used to it. Life is really a numbers game, and they have been made to understand this since early childhood. I, on the other hand, have had the luxury of sitting back and letting relationships come to me up to this point. And I had no idea what a luxury that was. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and it’s giving me blisters.

There is other man stuff I would never be able to incorporate into my character. I am totally cool with asking directions. I can’t imagine my default position being that I should act as though I know what I’m talking about even when I’m not sure. That would close me off from all the many fonts of information that come in the form of friends, family, and coworkers. I’d feel completely isolated if my only brain trust were my own brain, as formidable as it may be.

I’m also not particularly competitive. I’m happy when others win. I’m surprised when others resent it when I win.

Despite the fact that I deal with discrimination everywhere from the workplace to the used car lot, I have to say I’m really glad I’m not a man. It’s just not in me.

'You two need to get over yourselves and just ask for directions.'