Thursday, March 27, 2014

Meet me

I can't emphasize enough how important it is for a guy to have a plan. There is no bigger turnoff to me than when a guy asks me out, and then says, "OK, what time and where do you want to meet?"

Planning a date is work. If I was looking for a project, I could have found one on my own.

So when I say I'll meet you for coffee, and ask you to let me know where, saying "Probably some Dunkin' Donuts somewhere," is not a plan.

Considering there are approximately 873,954 DDs in this area, what you've really come up with is a hassle. I do not need to meet men in order to find a hassle. I have family for that.

Honestly - if you're not even interested enough to actually choose a place, how badly do you really want to meet? It's OK if you're not that into me - just say so, and we can just move on.

I can get my own hot chocolate.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Probably not a match

Sometimes when I look at who Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid want to match me with, I giggle. Mostly just so I don't cry.

I know they have to work with what they've got - but I wish I could just give them a hint.

We're probably not a match if...

• He's wearing camouflage in his profile photo.

• Or really, any photo.

• In fact, if he even owns any camouflage.

• If he has posted a photo of himself holding a fish.

• Or a dead deer he obviously just shot. Or really, any dead animal.

• Or a gun.

• If the name of the town in which he lives includes the word "Falls" or ends in "ville." There may be exceptions to this, but only a few.

• He can not properly spell the name of the town in which he lives.

• If he has posted a shirtless photo.

• Or a bathroom-mirror selfie. C'mon.

• He drinks more than socially.

• He doesn't actually know what socially means.

• He has problems with any other 3rd grade words.

• He owns a snowmobile. Or a kayak.

• He runs marathons and is looking for a partner to run with him.

• He thinks the man should be the head of the household.

• Or that cooking is a "woman's job."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Never send money to strangers

It should go without saying that it's not advisable to send strangers money. Unless, of course, you can afford to lose it and are planning to consider it a donation.

It seems one New York man did not get the memo, and sent nearly $70,000 - $70,000! - to a scammer in a series of transactions.

Apparently, "OKCupid's reputation made him feel safe, and he trusted the profile of a man he met in February 2013." (New York Daily News)

He is suing OKCupid for $70,000, for not warning users that scams like this could happen.

Like I said to Baking Suit (thanks for sending the link) - I suppose I'm lucky that I am too poor to be a desirable target for these scams.

As adults, it should go without saying that sending money to strangers is a mistake. Sadly, though, these scammers are good. So good, they know how to find people who not only have the money, but are also lonely and trusting enough to believe that "talking on the phone one month in" is a whirlwind romance.

Let's be clear: It is not.

But OKCupid doesn't entirely agree with me, on the "it should go without saying" part, anyway. If you visit the full site (not the mobile site or app) and navigate to the legal page (menu at the bottom of the screen) they do warn users to be careful about sharing personal information (example: sure, I have $70k), and that the site has not conducted background checks. Which, incidentally you should realize, since your background was not checked.

They do not specifically warn against this particular type of scam. I suspect we'll see an update to the warning, and probably a message to all users with that warning soon enough.

File this under the heading "expensive lesson learned."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Age matters

I prefer dating older guys. I've tried dating younger, and it never works (Remember Gardner?!). Of course there's an exception to every rule. It obviously comes down to a man's personality and character, but in general...age definitely matters.

I like the fact that older men are usually pretty confident. They don't have the same hang-ups and insecurities I often see in younger guys. I also like that most older guys are more secure. I'm nearly 40 (sigh) so a lot of the guys I date are late forties or even fifty. These are generally not guys still moving from job to job, trying to decide what they want to do. Another big plus is that men this age are not looking to have kids, and if they have kids, they are almost always older.

Most men that age are settled - in their career, family, and home. They have a certain amount of security, which translates into confidence. They know what they want, and how to get it. They also are often very chivalrous, and treat me in a way I don't find with younger guys. Thirty-five year-olds don't know they should walk on the outside of the sidewalk.

I know most of my friends feel differently. They find older guys to be dull or too set in their ways. Some women I know just don't like the idea that they are "old enough" to date a guy of a certain age. It makes them feel older.

I'd be lying if I said there aren't some drawbacks to older men. They tend to think they know everything - and certainly more than me, given my age. They often have an old-fashioned view of relationships - men are the head of a household, women should do the cooking, etc. Younger guys are certainly less attached to traditional gender roles, and more open-minded and flexible.

Older men are sometimes so set in their ways that forming a solid relationship is tough, if not impossible. They've often been single for so long, being a part of a couple is totally foreign.

That's when it comes back to individual personality and character. What a person wants, how he treats me and others, his goals and beliefs and sense of humor are all more important than his age.

Maybe I need someone right in the middle?

Monday, March 17, 2014

He texted

I went on a date this weekend. I hadn't been trying to meet anyone, this guy just started messaging me last week and seemed normal. Since that almost never happens, I said yes when he asked to meet for coffee.

He texted me in the morning, to make sure we were still meeting.

Then he texted me five times trying to choose a place to meet.

Then he texted me a few hours later to change the place.

Then he texted me to change the time.

(Annoyed yet? Imagine how I felt.)

Then he texted me 30 minutes before we were supposed to meet, to say he'd be 10 minutes early.

Then he texted 20 minutes later to say he was on his way.

Then he texted me to say he was pulling into the parking lot.

Then he texted me to ask where I was sitting.

(It was a coffee shop....not hard to spot.)

Then he texted to ask what I was wearing.

He finally came inside (not early), and we talked. We managed 30 minutes before running out of stuff to say - but not before we'd discussed the weather.

Guess what he did next?

He texted me to say he wanted to go out again.

So, I texted back - and said no thank you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Smooth operator

I've come to accept that dating is pretty much a series of valuable lessons that range from the mildly amusing to the severely annoying.

I stopped putting a lot of stock in first dates, good morning text messages, and great conversations. I realize that every new connection will offer some (sometimes all) of these, and while they help make a guy great, that doesn't mean he's a great guy for me.

So I try not to prejudge, either in a good way or a bad way. For better or worse, I try to set no expectations, and just let things happen.

But there are some things that just get under my skin. Even though I know they don't necessarily make a guy bad, they bug me so much, I lose interest in learning about his good qualities.

Which is fine. We all have things we can deal with, and things we can't. My problem? It's different with every guy.

When one guy cancels last minute, I'm insulted and annoyed. Then another guy does the same, and I don't give it a second thought. When some guys want me to do all the texting and calling, I find it irritating. Then when others do the same, I find it polite and endearing.

Chalk it up to a vibe, or an instinct, or intuition, or whatever. Something tells me that one guy is worth a little irritation, while another is not.

All too often, I think women ignore these instincts. Early on we're taught to judge "nice" guys based on what they say and do. We learn to ignore our gut feelings in favor of a guys "good" behavior. No one bothers to teach us how to tell the difference between a sincerely nice guy, and those who know how to play the part.

Dating is where we learn that skill. Meeting goodness-knows-how-many men a week/month/year, you learn how to tell the truly nice guys from the smooth operators.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Online wingman

On last week's Big Bang Theory, Raj talks Amy into contacting a woman he likes on a dating site. He asks her to talk him up, and pave the way for him to ask the woman out.

"Like an online wingman," he says.

Not surprisingly, it doesn't go well. But I got to thinking....what if dating sites could set that up?

You could set your profile to allow wingman messages....and then friends of a guy who is interested (male or female) could message you and talk him up a bit. Of course, the reverse could also be true - hey, a single gal needs a little help now and then, too.

Seems to me if it works in the bar, it could work online. It certainly can't get any worse out there.

Oh, and hey - if you don't watch Big Bang Theory - seriously, what are you waiting for?!

Dating coach

I'm one of those people who changes purses and jackets often. As a result, I'm constantly finding pocket-size information that was stuffed somewhere and forgotten.

This morning I found a business card for a Dating Coach who passed out information at a speed dating event I attended. I never spoke with her, but I remember noticing a few people hanging around at the end to talk with her.

I got to thinking... I wonder what a dating coach would say to me?

The thing that probably frustrates me most with dating is meeting people who want something very different from what I want. No matter how great a guy might seem, if you want different things, it just won't work.

What might a coach say about that? I think she'd suggest that I need to be upfront about what I want, and not settle for guys who want any less. I agree - but I find that challenging.

What I want is a relationship - but, I shy away from saying so because men often think that means a woman wants a relationship right that second.

While I do want a relationship, I do not want to rush right into one. I want to meet someone with potential for long-term, get to know him, see if we have a connection, and continue dating and allow that connection to grow, hopefully into something long-term.

But, if I say that, a guy will stop listening after, I don't want to rush into a relationship. He hears that and thinks he's hit the jackpot - a woman who wants the "benefits" of a relationship without the commitment. Of course, he agrees that he "wants the same" - when really he doesn't. What I end up with is a relationship based on a misunderstanding, which goes about as well as you'd expect.

So, I can't say that, either. Which is fine, I'm not looking to mislead or confuse anyone. My problem is if honesty doesn't work, I'm stumped. It made me wonder what a dating coach might suggest.

Then I wondered...what might you suggest?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dodge a bullet

Yesterday's post got me thinking about something that comes up a lot in dating - especially online dating.
"Sometimes it just makes sense to let someone think that it's you, not them, and move on."
It is so easy to get caught up on what I like to call a person's dating resumè. This is especially true with online dating, where you start off already knowing the basics.

Well, we're the same age, both like movies, have the same education, use all the right words (spelled correctly), and we like the same sports teams. We want the same things, and seem to share a sense of humor. How can we not be soul-mates?!

When you chat with this person, and he's not immediately convinced the two of you are meant to be, it's easy to think, clearly something must be wrong with him. Even your friends will get in on the act. When you tell them you met this great guy, but he wasn't interested, they usually suggest it's his issue.

The truth? Maybe it is. Maybe this guy, even though he seems perfect on paper, has some deep-seeded emotional issues. Maybe he's afraid of commitment. Maybe he's immature.

Maybe he works for the CIA and can't get too attached, and one look at you and he knew he would fall hopelessly, madly in love. So, he walked away, knowing it was for your own good.

Or.... assuming you're both generally good people who don't live in a Nicholas Sparks novel - maybe he just isn't into you.

Instead of getting hung up on the resumè, maybe focus on the person. Did you even have a conversation? Was it any good? If there's no spark, maybe his appeal begins and ends on paper. If you build someone up in your mind, you might think the conversation is wonderful - until you give it a second look.

Maybe you never got to an actual conversation. Maybe he ignored your email, and you're wondering why. Well - maybe he just isn't right for you. He may have picked up on some subtle differences between the two of you that he knows are deal-breakers. Have some faith he might know what's best. I mean, if you can't trust your soul-mate, who can you trust?!

Just like an actual resumè, a person's dating profile is a snapshot. It's the basics. It's a good place to start, but it will take a few interviews and maybe even a trial period before you know how good the fit really is.

So if he walks away, maybe rather than blaming - yourself or him - you should be thankful you were spared the wrong one. Sometimes the universe will help us dodge a bullet, even when we insist on standing in the line of fire.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mr. Crazy Pants

Remember last spring, when a guy recognized me at the gym and I freaked out a little and hid all my dating profiles?

He messaged me last night.

He opened by asking me about my "emotional hang up." While I was busy screen-shotting the message to share with Baking Suit, and trying not to respond angrily, he sent another message that prompted Baking Suit to ask, "Is he high?!"

I wanted to respond that I have no emotional hang ups. Then I thought, that's not entirely accurate. We all have some sort of hang up, and mine could very well be emotional.

Then I was going to respond that turning him down in the past isn't related to my emotional hang ups. I just don't like him.

At first, it was that I wasn't interested. We have almost nothing in common, he's quite a bit older than me, and I don't like his profile (grammar, spelling, content, etc.)

When he approached me at the gym, my disinterest elevated to dislike. Why would I want to spend time with someone who purposely made me uncomfortable?

I knew that responding was a bad idea. It would only lead to a discussion I didn't want, and a debate I couldn't win. Sometimes it just makes sense to let someone think that it's you, not them, and move on.

While I was still pondering, he sent his second message, which was so confusing, I had no idea how to respond.

So I didn't. I'm hopeful he'll just go away. Or I'll block him.

I already changed gyms.