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When Love Poetry, a Sex Shop and Bloggers meet for Lunch

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A couple of weeks ago I got in invitation by the good people of Adam&Eve.com, a one time sponsor of this blog, to attend a love poetry workshop taught by local writer, Suzannah Weiss.  I debated if I should go, since poetry and me aren’t really a thing.  I dig poetry and all but I would hardly call myself a poet.  The idea of writing a love poem really left me at a loss.  Could I write a love poem about the despair of abject loneliness? Could I pen a sonnet about how much I hate dating in New York City, or the profound narcissism of my ex-husband?  It might work if they let me write about dick picks and magical vaginas, but then I noticed they were giving out gift bags and the deal was sealed.  How could I not go?  I had to get my gift bag of swag from a sex shop, just to see what they’d give me.

The morning of the event, I had a fiasco with one of my day jobs that I absolutely had to deal with so I arrived fashionably late to the love poetry-sex shop-soiree.  Once there, I felt a bit like the slacker who showed up tardy for class, but I was quickly forgiven.  Our teacher, Suzannah Weiss was kind and patient and even had me read a poem I had written on the spot.  I openly admitted I wrote it about my cat Schatzi, since I have no other inspiration in my life.  If you knew Schatzi, you’d write poems about her too.

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Nearly all of the other bloggers were women, and many of them cat owners so it turned into a flurry of cat photo sharing and stories about our feline companions..

I met a lovely woman who named her blog New York Cliche, because much like myself she was just owning her single, professional, artistic, cat-owning, independent woman persona. I also connected with a long-time Facebook friend fellow writer and general overall badass Yolanda Shoshana.

Then we finally got the goody bags…..and this is what they contained!

A sexy feather duster, you know for all of your sexy feather duster needs…

featherduster

 

A BDSM mask, although honestly I could use this on trips in rooms with too much light. It’s comfy, and thicker than most.

EyeMask

A tiny cock ring, and another vibrating cock ring type of device.  Free condoms – that’s usually a given as everyone should practice safe sex!

CockRings

A water based personal lubricant! – We could all use some more lube in our lives.  A silver bullet! BATTERY INCLUDED! – Most ladies know this is a very special thing indeed.

Lube

I admit I was hoping for a dildo, not because I wanted to use it, but because dildos are comedy gold.  They’re probably too expensive to give away to bloggers, and a bit forward.  “Here’s a fake penis for your enjoyment” is coming on a bit strong I guess. Overall I thought the entire experience was amazing!  I don’t think I’ll become a poet any time soon, or write a love sonnet to anyone besides my cat.  A woman working for a PR firm called me a journalist, which was sort of wonderful.  I also got to meet fellow New Yorkers who have also found their voice online.  Although I am not a huge consumer of sex toys or adult products I have heard wonderful things about www.Adam&Eve.com, so if you are in the market for some sexy stuff for Valentine’s Day or any day, check them out.

Here’s my Valentine’s Haiku (At least I think it’s a Haiku, again, I’m not a poet)

I don’t want dick pics

I’d like a piece of your soul

or just a kind word

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Dating Online: Advice for Men – Photos Revisited

I written about this topic before, but after a long hiatus from online dating, I’ve decided to revisit it.  It seems like men’s photos are getting worse, not better.  As I’ve said on the blog multiple times, If I was going to give men any advice on how to create a successful online dating profile it would be this.

Have a trusted female friend look over your profile before you publish it.

I could type that 100 times for emphasis, but I’ll restrain myself.  Don’t use your mom, or your sister, use a trusted female friend.  You want to use a woman who doesn’t see you as a a nonsexual being, so your relatives are out of the question.

Here are my top 10 tips for picking the right photo for your online dating profile.

Serial Killer

1. Don’t look like a serial killer – What does a serial killer look like?  It’s hard to say really.  It could be the outdated serial killer glasses, or the slicked down side part.  We just know it when we see it.  Show your friends, and simply ask – Do I look like a serial killer in any of these shots?  If the answer is yes, then don’t post them.

2. Don’t look like a pretentious douche bag – What does that mean?  It depends on the person.  Are you standing in front of your flashy Porsche or McMansion in your photos?  Are contemplating the universe with the caption to match?  Are you holding a pipe while wearing a bow tie made out of pipe cleaners?  Looking like a prick is relative to the woman who is viewing your visage.  If you use terms like “visage” in your photo captions, you might look like a pretentious douche bag.

3. Don’t use several group photos – Some guys have nothing but group shots.  Don’t make a woman search through several photos playing – Where’s Waldo?

4. Don’t cut your head off – I’m going to assume you’re married or hideous.  Don’t give me bullshit about having an important job. I once had a date inside the United Nations, it wasn’t the greatest match but his job wasn’t exactly mundane.

5. Don’t use professionally shot modeling or acting photos – They look a bit forced.  You can use one or two but don’t have a slew of them.

6. Don’t limit yourself to one photo – Use at least three.  The more you show the more likely someone will respond.  If your only photo is  of yourself from a far distance, no potential date is going to have any idea what you look like.  Use a body shot, a crop of your face and one that’s from the waist up.  If you have more than three that’s great but three should be a good start.

7. Don’t use a landscape photo as your main profile picture – Again, I will assume you’re hiding something or married.  SHOW YOUR FACE!

8. Please don’t post a dick pic – I said please.  I’m begging you not to do it, unless of course it’s a hook-up site or a woman asks specifically to see your junk.  An unsolicited dick pic is bad enough, a dick pic as your profile photo is the absolute worst.

9. Don’t post a photo of yourself with an ex – Or really even a sister, a friend or any woman other than maybe your mom.  It’s confusing, and distracting.  I’m going to be trying to figure out who the woman is, rather than just focusing on you.  And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t use a photo of yourself next to your ex, with her face blacked out.

10. Limit or eliminate bathroom selfies – You’ve got a smoking hot bod.  You want to show it off.  Well come up with a more creative way than a self-portrait taken with your cell phone in the bathroom.  You could snap one of you working out, or on the beach.  I’ve probably seen 10,000 bathroom selfies at this point.  Just don’t do it.

BE HONEST – One of my favorite all time profiles was of a beautiful black man in his late thirties.  Half of his photos were in typical attire of oxfords, ties, jeans and slacks.  Every other photo was of the same man in full women’s drag complete with wig, makeup, lashes, and padding.  He openly admitted he was a cross dresser but was straight and interested in women.  I APPLAUD this man for making such a bold move.  Sure it might turn off a lot of women, but the perfect woman for him wouldn’t mind at all.  There were no secrets and I admired his courage for putting it all out there.

If you follow this basic advice I promise you’ll get more emails on your profile!!!  And again, when in doubt have a female friend give it the once over before you publish it!  You’d be surprised how much having a woman’s perspective could help you out.

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Dating in NYC: The Honest Sinner vs. The Phony Saint

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Disclaimer: To protect the identity of the men involved in this article – I am leaving out some specifics about them and these events. I will not disclose anything more about them publicly.  I don’t really want to get sued, or have anyone accuse me of slander…I didn’t write this to attack anyone – just as a cautionary tale.

Why do so many people deceive others when it comes to dating? I’ve heard countless stories about men and women who lie about their age, job, marital status, a previous divorce, a live-in partner, even children. People also hide their true intentions. They might act like they are looking for a serious relationship when they are really wanting no-strings attached sex. A man or woman might also pretend they want a casual relationship when he or she is secretly hoping for a committed one. I’m a huge advocate for truth. Honesty will get a person father than secrets and lies. I have two examples in my own personal life that illustrate this perfectly.

The Honest Sinner – An absolutely beautiful man who was over a decade younger than myself and someone I knew casually. When he approached me he was upfront.  He was looking for a casual sexual encounter, no strings, no expectations. Before our hook-up, he even sent me a text with the rules of engagement. It wasn’t exactly romantic, but I knew he wouldn’t try to coerce me into anything I didn’t want to do. I weighed my options, and considered I would take him up on his offer. It wasn’t just that I found him incredibly handsome, I also genuinely appreciated his candor. We ended up meeting, more than once, and the sex was great. I didn’t care if he was hooking up with anyone else, as I never really saw him as much of boyfriend material due to our age difference. I also knew he didn’t have a serious girlfriend so he wasn’t cheating on anyone. There was never any pretense. We didn’t go on dates, and neither one of us indicated that we wanted more out of the situation. I decided to cut it off when it wasn’t working for me anymore, but I actually grew to like him as a person. Sometimes these arrangements can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings and misery but in this example it worked out. His looks were definitely a factor of why I had a casual relationship with him, but his honesty is what sold it. Had he been sleazy or deceptive I wouldn’t have gone near him.

The Phony Saint – A moderately good-looking guy who I thought I might want to date seriously. He was closer to my age, had a good job and was extremely well-educated. He overall was a much better match for me on paper, and I was physically attracted to him. We seemed to get along well, but I barely knew him, so I honestly didn’t have strong feelings either way.

Things went South on our second date when I made the mistake of going back to his apartment. Within minutes he got extremely physical and I felt uncomfortable. His sexual energy made me feel like some sort of live action porn doll – and I just wanted it to stop. My instincts were correct when right before he actually tried to have sex with me, he called me Gillian instead of Juliet. As soon as I saw the condom, I shut everything down. Then I completely humiliated myself and burst into tears. It honestly was the first time I can remember, since maybe college, when I have had a total meltdown while on a date. I was mad at myself for letting things get this far, and I felt like a total idiot for crying. Deep down I knew something was incredibly inauthentic about him so I asked, “Do you do this all the time? Is this what you do with women?” He looked at me sheepishly and said, “Well yeah. I’m basically a child, I can’t have a serious relationship.”

This man had a professional job and was in his mid-thirties. He had also asked me out on a date, he wasn’t upfront about wanting just a hook-up. Unlike the Honest Sinner who kept all his correspondence sexual and to the point, The Phony Saint laid it on thick with multiple emails and texts as if he had some real interest in me. He even claimed to have looked me up online. When I point-blank asked him, “Which videos did you watch of me?” he responded, “Um, two. One of you getting interviewed on television and another one – I don’t remember.”  Now I don’t know how he couldn’t recall a short video he claimed to have watched just the day before, but I really didn’t care.  I knew he really didn’t really give a damn about me when he called me by the wrong name, and treated me like some sort of masturbation toy.

For the next extremely awkward hour, or so I apologized for crying while he begged me for various sex acts.  Even at the time I was unsure why I didn’t just walk out.  I got repeated inquiries from him to “jizz on my ass, stomach or tits”. He actually used the term “jizz” and seemed shocked that I had no interest. I might have honored his requests if I actually liked him, or if we had sex, but at that point it was just pathetic. I was just in shock that things had gone so badly so quickly and I wasn’t really sure what to do.  During all of this he danced around the room naked while speaking to me in a sing-song jokey way. I guess he was trying to cheer me up, but it just made him lose any remaining dignity. He then offered me leftover take out from his fridge.  When I say leftover takeout, I mean takeout that was at least a day old if not older.  I told him I didn’t want his “used food” and I refused to drink anything.   Any spark of sexual attraction I had towards him vanished, but I also calmed down and realized I was in no danger.  Things got even stranger when I realized he seemed to enjoy being chewed out by me. The Phony Saint just became a test subject to me of sorts. Thankfully I was completely sober, but my sobriety just meant I would remember every horrible detail of what was now, the worst date of my life.

So which man got what he wanted? The Honest Sinner got free sex from a consensual enthusiastic partner. The Phony Saint experienced an extremely embarrassing and sexually humiliating evening. If I could scrape that night from my brain I would, and yes it will make great material for my stand-up, but I have SO MUCH material already. HA!!!!!! I would have much rather had a lovely evening than another horror story to share onstage. Had he been honest from the beginning, I probably would have turned him down for sex as I get offers for that from total strangers all the time. The Honest Sinner was someone I knew already and that factored into my decision to hook-up with him. But even though I would have turned down the The Phony Saint, plenty of other women would have taken him up on the offer. He was good-looking, had a nice build, a great job and his own apartment – he had plenty of qualities that would get him laid in New York City.

The moral of this story: When in doubt, just tell the truth – everyone will be much happier for it, and no one will end up dancing around the room naked begging a women to let him – jizz on her butt.  Also, never call a woman by the wrong name when you’re trying to seduce her – it’s just bad form.
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Dating After Divorce: The Emotional Predator

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ventral side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am adding the following disclaimer to all of my dating related blog posts.  I change details, and create composite characters when I write about dating archetypes such as “Mr. Houdini, Mr. Angry, etc.  I would hate it if someone wrote about a high energy blonde comedian negatively in a blog, so because of that I never include a person’s occupation or anything about their physical description.  I also change enough details that I doubt anyone I am referring to would even recognize themselves if they read one of my articles.   I have split one person into three, or taken several people and put them all into one example.  So simply put, I am very ethical on this blog. 

I think we all know this type all to well. Again, this one is universal, and post-divorce individuals are especially vulnerable to their charms. Really no one is really safe with an emotional predator, as the best are masters of manipulation and deception. They can be

An emotional predator will pick up on whatever weakness you have and exploit it. Their goal is usually to have a sexual encounter with you and they will do anything to reach that goal. They will lie about their past, their current living situation, their interests, goals, hobbies, whatever to transform into the person they think you would desire. The worst predators won’t stop at a one-night stand, they need to control and dominate their partner’s lives, and are truly insidious.They are highly skilled at figuring out what makes you tick and what will interest you on a deep level. They might use your insecurities or fears or play up on your strengths using flattery. I just dodged a bullet with someone I think may have been playing me, and playing me well.

I can think of someone from my not so distant past as an example.  He figured out that I was a brainy type, so instead of trying to impress me with flashier credits in his past he used more intellectual ones. He was charming, sweet and went out of his way to ask questions about my interests and ongoing projects, pretty much anything that was near and dear to my heart. He also mislead me about his intentions.  In doing so implying that he might be looking for more than a simple one-night stand.  What all of this amounted to was me allowing my guard down. But I am generally a hard nut to crack, as I have major trust issues and I am not 22. So I didn’t immediately succumb and agree to hook up with him, or go out with him. Instead I remained coy and uncertain and definitely gave him mixed signals.  Fast forward a length of time and he is curt, clipped and I discover that some of what he told me is blatantly false. What he was probably looking for was a meaningless fling, and even though people misunderstand me on this very topic, I am not against anyone having sexual encounters with virtual strangers. However I think both parties should know what they are getting into before they hook it up.  Implications of a longer term, more invested relationship should not be used in order to make the one night of passion happen. And when a person is showing interest in a deeper part of yourself, that can blur many expectations.  The funny thing is, had he been upfront about his intentions and what he wanted, he might have been far more successful in his pursuit of me.

In my case the example I use was a close call, as I was swooning over this man until I saw the other side of him. When that happened I simply cut him out of my mind like a dead tree branch, and added him to the list of many men who have been in that role before him. But I wasn’t so lucky in the time immediately after I left my husband. Blinded by grief I made some fairly huge mistakes when allowing people into my life. All it amounted to was more lack of trust, pain and anguish.

In some cases, emotional predators are just insecure conniving people who are self-serving and justify their actions as just a part of dating. But in others mental illness or addiction may play a role

Unfortunately for the rest of us some people are just so insecure that they fulfill that emptiness with sexual or emotional conquests.  They equate their personal value by how many people they can bed, manipulate or control.  An emotional predator is a person to avoid at all costs.  And the best way to do that is to take things slow, don’t rush into anything and try to see the forest for the trees.

  • How do they interact with others, including people of the gender they date – If they treat other potential partners badly it is a bad sign
  • Try to find out history or a back story about them, knowledge is power
  • If you are suspicious trust that instinct and don’t rush in.
  • When in doubt – Sleep on it.  Give yourself space and see what happens when you pull away

Sadly there is no fool-proof way of avoiding someone who will cause you great pain and emotional harm as some predator types are so damn convincing.  But if you have dealt with someone like this, take heart, as we all have.  In most cases, it is all about them and has nothing to do with you.  They played you and they will play other people in the future.  The good thing is they are rare as most people don’t view others as objects or toys.  But if you find yourself in these situations repeatedly, you might want to re-evaluate your dating style.  A true emotional predator knows how to pick his or her prey.  The balance is being vulnerable  enough to allow a new person into your life, while not being so open as to become someone’s next victim.

Dating in New York – Short Term Relationship Song

I know one of the comedians who made this video. I had nothing to do with it, but I wanted to share it because I find it extremely funny and dead on as far as dating in NYC is concerned. This is why I am so cautious about who I let “enter the kingdom” because these types of short term relationships kind of break my soul in half. So I avoid them like the plague…

Anyway the video is really funny! Check it out!  And I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🙂

Directed by Margaret Teich
Written by Boris Khaykin and Mara Herron

Weekend Sunrise Interview – Dating After Divorce in a City of Sluts

Below is a clip from an interview I did on Morning Sunrise, Australia‘s #1 Breakfast talk show.  It is their equivalent of the Today Show or so I am told.  They interviewed me based on my Huffington Blog post “Dating After Divorce in a City of Sluts”

The link to the article is here.  It was ridiculously popular having something like 7,000 people “like” it on Facebook and 1400 comments.  I am an unknown, unsigned comedian so the whole thing has been mind-blowing.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/juliet-jeske/dating-after-divorce-in-a_b_944133.html

So they didn’t tell me beforehand that they were going to even mention my ex-husband’s homosexuality.  That was a complete shock to me, they also veered from the script.  I have dealt with the press before so I wasn’t really shocked by that.  The saddest thing is that the interviewer actually says

“In your book”

When in reality it was just one article, no book.  Although I am currently trying to make that happen.  I have no idea how to do it, but I am looking into it.  If I end up getting published you know I am telling everyone on the planet.  🙂

My working title for my book is “Dating in a City of Sluts” or something like that.  I never thought I would write a book in a million years but since I have gotten so much overwhelming positive feedback to go for it, I thought I would give a shot!

Dating After Divorce – Do we really need Tough Love?

So since I have been divorced I have tried a number of methods to try to date again, including online dating and speed dating, I recently got the following via email…I won’t mention the company who sent it.  I have edited it for length, but the general premise is still there.

Ever gone on a date that you thought was AMAZING only to this day still wonder why the guy/girl never returned your call for a second date? Meet 10-25 singles at “Tough Love” speed dating, where in the event someone does NOT select you as a “match”, you’ll actually receive feedback as to why via a post-event email summary of each daters constructive and honest comments . At the end of the day, ‘perception is reality’ and ‘knowing is half the battle

There are just so many things wrong with this concept.  For starters, there are _always_problems with market research.  Anyone in marketing can tell you that only a certain percentage of people actually take the time to fill out any survey, and the people who do tend to be skewed to specific personality traits.  Feedback tends to come from customers with an ax to grind.  Customers with the tendency to bitch, moan and complain will be more than willing to fill out surveys or questionnaires to their heart’s content, satisfied customers rarely bother.

Then there is also the concept of people not really knowing what they want until they see it before them.  For instance when surveyed people may say they would hate bubblegum flavored cupcakes, but once given a taste they devour them.  The same goes with dating.  We have all known potential partners who looked great on paper for us, but the minute we met them there was no spark, no chemistry, no reason to pursue them further.  Does this make them inferior and in need of improvement?  Of course it doesn’t, it is just a fact of life.  In the same vein we have all met someone who should have been incompatible for us, and become instantly smitten.  Dating is a strange world full of contradictions and things that simply don’t make logical sense.   We are all like puzzle pieces, some of us fit well together and some of us don’t.

I can’t help but think that a “tough love” speed dating round complete with feedback might attract the very people who like dolling out punishment, and that in a session of brief three-minute dates only the worst criticism would come out.   Some feedback could be useful but most of it would be extremely harmful, lets say out of 15 people you get…

  • You have bad breath – Problem easily solved, so that could be helpful
  • Sloppy or unkempt appearance – Also easily solved
  • You are creepy/crazy – What is a person supposed to do about that?
  • You talk too much or too fast – One man’s chatterbox is music to another man’s ears
  • You don’t talk enough – Not everyone is an extrovert
  • You are too short, tall, thin, fat, old, young – Again it is all relative
  • You aren’t attractive – Imagine getting that feedback from 15 total strangers

Most people in this situation would probably remain vague, especially if they themselves are also being graded and judged.  Most of the cards would probably include things like…

  • He/She isn’t my type
  • No chemistry
  • Not what I am looking for

And that happens to everyone, as if you get 20 people in a room the chances of any one person meeting a person they are attracted to is slim.   So what is the point of this anyway?   Socially awkward people picking apart socially awkward people, my head spins at the thought of such a disaster.  And then the poor man or woman who paid money to try to help increase their chances in the dating world now leaves defeated and broken.  How could this possibly help them?    And imagine going to a speed dating round like this soon after a divorce, and getting negative feedback, as if you needed more rejection and grief.

What I think might work better for anyone out there who is repeatedly going out on dates and can’t figure out why no one seems interested is this–sit down with trusted friends, people who care about you and aren’t making a buck off your misery, and ask your friends and loved ones what they think might help.  Because even the most socially awkward can and will find others who will fit them like a glove.   Your dating problems might be as simple as popping a breath mint, or combing your hair, and you don’t need scorecards from strangers or a “thick skin” to figure that out.

And don’t we all know a couple that is composed of two socially awkward, eccentric or even extremely odd partners?  Maybe instead of improvement or feedback, all they needed was to find another oddball that matched them to a tee.   Sometimes all someone needs to find is another person who really loves their version of being human.  Dating after a divorce is difficult and we all get creative, but personally I would avoid anything as potentially scarring as this.

Dating after Divorce – The Fairy Tale is Over

Photo of cinderella fairy tale in Efteling

Photo of cinderella fairy tale in Efteling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So that might seem like a overly negative title to a blog entry…”The Fairy Tale is Over”.   But as I tell my mother almost every time we speak.

“Mom, dating is just a different game when you are divorced and over 35″

I left my husband because after a total of nine years together, seven of which were as a married couple, he came out as a homosexual.  I really had no choice but to end the marriage, and one of the worst things since leaving him has been what feels like a life sentence of being alone.  Again, I know that sounds bleak, but dating in New York is difficult, dating in New York after being divorced and over the prime years of your life is next to impossible.

The real differences that I see are in my friends that are about a decade or so younger than myself.  Many of which are now getting engaged, married or moving in together.  They have that youthful giddiness and excitement that is rare in people past a certain age.  Not to say that being 38 is old, because it is not, but it isn’t the same as being 28.  My friends who are approaching marriage all believe that they will beat the odds.  They look at their partners with that look of pure love and adoration in which all of their problems will be solved through this perfect mate.  Both men and women get like this and it is a sweet thing to see.   But the same quality is rare in those of us who have lived a little bit longer, and had what we thought was the relationship to last forever, crumble before our eyes.

Even though I don’t look my age, I openly admit that I am 38 to anyone who cares to know.  I know as a performer I should try to keep this secret, but since my career consists mainly of performing in bars, I don’t really worry about the public knowing the year of my birth.  It’s not like I am losing jobs because of my age, as I am not getting much of anything offered to me to begin with.  And I look at it this way; I have lived a life, I am not a young kid and I don’t hide it.

My problem with dating, is that at first I had the expectation that it would be just like when I was in my twenties.  Men would be more excited and enthusiastic about wanting to date me, they would have higher expectations about the relationship and once committed it might last at least a few months.  But what I have found is men that are too wrapped up in their own divorce dramas, too busy raising children from a previous marriage, too involved in their jobs, or just too jaded to feel vulnerable enough to commit to another person.   I can only speak of my own experience, but I hear the same thing from men about divorced single mothers, or divorced women.

And then of course there are those that I have written about before on this blog.  The men and women who are just not the committed relationship partner type, and never will be.   They are in their early forties and have never lived with a partner much less been married or engaged.  For multiple reasons such as, personal preference, demanding jobs, lifestyle habits, personality problems, or simply the love of being single they will never marry or commit to one partner for any length of time.  Then there are all of those age appropriate men that are married or in a committed long-term relationship and aren’t going to be single any time soon, if ever again.

So given this, I have had to readjust my expectations of dating.  It is an extremely difficult adjustment for me but now when trying to date I have come to expect the following

  • Expect to see the person less, than I would like.
  • Expect the relationship to fall apart with very little warning – It seems the older people get, the quicker they will abandon a relationship they don’t think is working.  At least that has been my observation from my own experience and my friends.
  • Realize that a potential partner might be overwhelmed with caring for children, so much so that I don’t get the attention I used to getting in a relationship
  • Have to help the partner deal with their own sense of loss from a divorce
  • Help the partner deal with anger or an ongoing war with their former spouse or girlfriend.
  • Learn not to rely on a partner for as much emotional support as I was used to in my marriage
  • Expect more guarded, and wounded people in the dating pool

With all of these obstacles it just comes down to a position of how much can a person deal with, and what is worth it for the bigger picture.  So a new guy may not call me every day, but is that so horrible?  And I may only get to see him once a week or even less, but as I am a busy person myself, do I need to see them more?  I have to take every man on a case by case basis, what is tolerable and what is unacceptable.

And honestly when I look around at my circle of friends I tend to see this pattern over and over again.  The younger couples have the excitement I remember from my early to mid-twenties.  While the older couples seem more practical and subdued, they also seem to date less.

It is as if as a divorced person we don’t believe in fairy tales anymore because our own fairy tale for whatever reason was destroyed.  So a partner may not consume our lives and hearts and minds as they did when we were younger.  I no longer expect a man to fall “head over heels” in love with me anymore.  And I don’t know if I necessarily want that anyway, because at one point in my life it is how I felt about my husband.  And that enthusiasm is exactly what blinded me to reality that he kept so carefully guarded.

I know there are exceptions, and some people really do get amazing romances the second or third or even forth time around.  I haven’t seen a lot of evidence that it is going to happen for me and I am not expecting it anymore.  But I can’t completely give up hope, at least I am not looking at the situation with rose-colored glasses.   And as I say all the time

Dating in your late thirties after a divorce is just a different game”

I just have to learn how to play it.

Dating Online – The man with no photos

So this one is as old as online dating itself, the man with no photos on his profile.  I have a firm warning on my profile that I basically don’t take a profile without photos seriously.  Nor should any woman.  The reason?  Well there are many but the main reason is that most men that are on online dating websites that won’t show their face are either married or involved with someone and looking to cheat.   Why wouldn’t they show their face?  It makes little sense.  So many people are on online dating sites now, that if a married man blatantly had a profile seeking another woman, chances are that friends or co-workers  of his wife or girlfriend might stumble upon his profile.  Openly putting yourself out there on a dating website when married is a very dangerous thing to do.  But take the photos off, change a few details about your occupation, change your age,  where you live and bingo, you have no created a new identity.  Maybe a woman who is naive enough to think that some unseen man has nothing to hide will fall for the ruse.   Most men use their occupation as the reason why they can’t show their face.  All of these are specific examples that I have gotten sometimes multiple times…

  • My job is very high-profile, it would be embarrassing for me to be on here –
  • It could potentially hurt my firm’s reputation if I am seen on a dating website – REALLY?  If they only knew how MANY people are on websites like Match.com at this point, there is hardly any shame in it anymore.  Or that somehow a business deal will go south because a potential client saw you on a dating website and decided you were unstable or something?  Well then what are they doing on the site in the first place?
  • I am a psychologist and it could make my relationship with my patients strained. – Do you think your patients are secretly in love with you or something?  What kind of piece of work writes that?

I have been on dates with people who I met online who have VERY high-profile jobs in their fields.  I won’t comment further, to protect others privacy  but the high-profile job excuse is poppycock.

One man tried to send me photos privately.   And I still have no idea what that was supposed to prove?  OK so I see what he looks like, but again he isn’t willing to expose himself on the site itself, so NO DICE!  I sent him a polite, sorry this doesn’t cut it email and he went off on me in an angry tirade full of venom and vitriol.  I know I can come across as too blunt in written form, but I think I dodged a major bullet with that psycho!  Not only was he probably married, but he had some anger issues!

I am sure that there are women doing the exact same thing on dating websites.  Although since men tend to be more visually orientated than women, I wonder how effective the no photo approach would work.  They probably pull the same tactic, of I will send you photos privately.  It is hard to believe that people would fall for that, but loneliness can really pull a person down into despair, after a while any glimmer of hope starts to look promising.

One no-photo man recently contacted me and because I was in a slightly angrier than usual mood, I sent him a blunt reply basically saying that no woman would take him seriously without photos.  He posted photos within the hour of opening my email!  He wasn’t my type, so I didn’t feel like I missed the boat on that one after scolding him for not showing his mug.

And when in doubt, even if you meet someone online with photos and you buy their story about being single or divorced IMMEDIATELY google their full name when you get home, and if they claim they are divorced google their name and the word wife.  You would be surprised how much information is readily available on the internet at no cost whatsoever.  In one case, I googled a man’s name found his ex-wife’s profile on Facebook and found her listed as single.  That made me feel a million times better, but if it had said married, he would have never heard from me again.  You really can never be too careful, the nature of online dating makes it far too easy for men and women who want to cheat.

Dating After Divorce – The Shiny Penny Syndrome

English: Large amount of pennies

English: Large amount of pennies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A friend of mine and long-term resident of New York complained to me a few years ago about a dating problem she called “The Shiny Penny Syndrome”.  A shiny penny is any of the brilliant, talented, gorgeous and single dwellers of Gotham.  The problem arises when someone trying to date one person but can’t help but be distracted by all of the other “shiny pennies” that seem within reach.  In a city full of humanity, there are always new humans to try out.  At the time my friend was sharing her struggles trying to date I thought to myself.

“I am so glad that I’m married” 

About a year later I was divorced, and instead of a bright shiny new copper penny, I felt like a beat-up, scuffed up and used up 1 cent coin.   I was damaged goods entering a field of less flawed, complicated and younger currency.

The current dating culture, both online and around town feeds into this the shiny penny phenomena.  People meet in bars and go home with virtual strangers, only to meet up again, or disappear forever, whatever they please.  Some men and women do this for years before they finally decide to settle down.  And then what?  If they have been super ultra casual with partners for years, it is going to be a real challenge to suddenly become super ultra committed.  A relationship, takes work, time, energy and focus.  But many with demanding jobs or lifestyles don’t want to waste the time nurturing and tending to a new partner’s needs.  So they constantly start from scratch with hybrids of pseudo-dating, friends with benefits or trying to date but rarely actually seeing their partner.  They don’t see themselves as the problem but rather that their partner is simply not the best they could get.

  • What if someone better comes along?
  • What if someone younger, prettier, stronger, richer, nicer, funnier, shorter, taller…etc.
  • What if I could find someone who lived closer?
  • What if I could find someone with the exact same interests as myself? 
  • What if the next person could help me out in my career?
  • What if I could find someone my parents or friends would like?

Because of the nature of becoming completely anonymous and so effortlessly getting lost in the sea of humanity, people have a tendency to behave badly and get away with it.  It is true of both genders and all sexual orientations.  Meet someone outside your work and social group, and the minute you stop dating them, they can so easily vanish never to be heard from again.  Which in some aspects is good, but in others it just encourages the cruelest and nastiest of behavior.   And when everyone is their own island, it is difficult to find out a person’s reputation before getting involved with them.   So those with the most deceptive or shallow dating habits can go through lovers with little consequence.  And from what I have heard from people all over the world, the Shiny Penny Syndrome is not just relegated to big cities like New York  but has become a universal problem.

For people newly divorced the sea of shiny pennies is especially difficult to navigate.  Divorce can be entirely devastating to one or both spouses.  Going from a long-term relationship with the same partner and then feeling like you have to compete in a shallow and disposable dating environment is a rude wake-up call.  So what is to be done about this?

I have found that fellow divorced people tend to make the best fit for myself and my other friends who have been divorced.  Another person who has gone through a divorce is usually much less judgmental of the scars, dents and damage that my not-so-shiny penny has been through.  And a divorced person has at least tried to have a committed long-term relationship.  Marriages end for all sorts of reasons, and in many cases there is little one partner can do to keep it together.   I don’t exclusively seek out divorced men, but I do know that generally speaking they are likely to be more empathetic to my situation.

I am not searching for the brightest shiniest penny on the planet, I just want the penny that fits well with my own.   And I know there is no such thing as a perfect match or partner.  I will just continue to look beyond the perfection seekers and find a fellow copper coin that has been through that has had a little wear and tear like myself.