Dating in NYC: Sexless and the City


Cosmopolitan (Photo credit: penguinbush)

Critics scrutinized the popular HBO series Sex and the City for the unrealistic extravagant lifestyles of its female protagonists.   My biggest complaint with the series, and the myth it still perpetuates, is that I don’t know many single women who have that much sex.  I have lived in New York now for nearly 12 years.  Single for over three years, my existence has been mostly a solitary one.  I only bring up SATC because despite the fact that it went off the air several years ago, it still casts a shadow of the archetype for urban living.  In Lena Dunham‘s dreadful (I don’t care how many awards it wins) Girls one character is completely obsessed with Carrie Bradshaw‘s dream of designer labels, expensive shoes, ridiculously expensive addresses, multiple cocktail brunches and a bevy of sexual partners.   The CW is currently in production of Candance Bushnell’s prequel to SATC The Carrie Diaries.   No matter how fantastical or mythical, this twisted metropolitan fairy tale won’t die.

Other than my low-income, I am close to the living embodiment of the characters on SATC.  I don’t aspire to trendy addresses or designer labels, but shouldn’t I at least have a complicated and active sex life?  Don’t men of all socioeconomic classes need to get their groove on?  Where are all the single straight guys?  Where are all the single gal brunches filled with sordid tales of the size male genitalia, unusual sexual requests and liaisons with wealthy business men who tip us after the fact.

The last time I had brunch with a friend we found ourselves surrounded by families with small children.  No eavesdropping parent would be concerned, as instead of swapping X-rated stories, we both kvetched about how difficult it was to date in this city.  I don’t understand why it is so difficult for me, or any of my friends.  Most of the single women I know are gorgeous, talented, accomplished and fiercely intelligent.  We aren’t searching for Mr. Perfect, but we also don’t like putting up with terrible behavior.    I cannot write from a man’s perspective, but I know many woman have gone through the following:

  • Have a date stand them up or cancel at the last second
  • Have a man lie about being single
  • A date will expect sex only on his terms when he wants it.
  • Never follow through on a date but try to keep us strung along via email or text msg.
  • Flip out and have a breakdown on second or third date
  • Become obsessed with ripping on or tearing apart an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife
  • Become sexually dysfunctional due to a porn addiction
  • Dates with men who are so socially awkward, any conversation is difficult if not impossible
  • Expect sex immediately after meeting you

I haven’t lived all of these examples but I have heard so many stories from female friends it is stunning when any date works out.  I have learned to no longer think beyond the first date or any date. No matter how well I think it went, I may never hear from the man again for reasons that I will never know or understand.

I have completely thrown out the rule book and lowered all of my expectations as I now joke this has been my de-evolution in the dating world.  I started out quite ambitious, when I first left my husband I thought I might actually want to get married again but I quickly changed my tune.  I have gone from the following

  • Fall in Love, get married, start a family or become step-parent to children from a previous relationship
  • Fall in Love, be in a long-term committed relationship if children are part of it great, if not then OK
  • Be in a long-term relationship, not necessarily with a huge commitment
  • Date the same person for an extended period of time
  • Go on more than two or three dates with the same person

I dropped “Fall in Love” quickly into my search.  I am not kidding or joking that I have been in the last category now for nearly three years.  Something happens fairly early on in each budding relationship to muck everything up.   Most of the time it is clear after the first date that it just isn’t a good match.  I have also found a lot of men in my age group, extremely damaged from a past breakup.  Then there are the life-long bachelors, the man-children, the commitment phobic Lotharios.  I honestly wouldn’t mind these men much if they were just more honest about their intentions.  Too often they blur the lines of playing the part of the would-be boyfriend while never really wanting to commit.   When I try to play the casual dating game, I usually screw everything up.  I am simply not used to the rules.   I get told a lot that I am “too nice”.  Some incorrectly think I want some huge major commitment right off the bat.  Coldness seems counter-intuitive towards someone I am trying to get to know better, yet my effusiveness comes across as clingy and desperate.

My friends who seem to have the most active sex lives are polyamorous. That is, people who openly have relationships with more than one partner.  Their lifestyle is a puzzle to me, and I don’t quite understand it, but it seems to work for them.   I guess New York is an all or nothing town.   How did we get here?  And what happened to normal dating?  I refuse to be treated like a doormat by anyone, and I don’t wish to have multiple partners.  I don’t say this necessarily for moral reasons, I simply don’t have the time or inclination to juggle more than one person.

So instead of high priced cocktails and wild affairs, I’ll drink my coffee and go home to my cat.  Maybe I’ll watch the fairy tales about $1600 shoes and a new boyfriend every night.  That is fantasy land, and my life is something all together different.

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Dating Online – Mr. Online ONLY

English: Cybersex

English: Cybersex (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The longer I have been single, the more I have come to realize that logic has about as much to do with dating as subtly has to do with holiday window displays.   Human beings just don’t act rationally.  Online dating has made this abundantly clear.

Mr. Online Only

  • Age – Any Age
  • Never married, divorced, anything goes
  • You NEVER actually meet them, so their whole profile could be a farce.

Mr. Online ONLY is exactly as his name describes.  For whatever reason, these gentlemen prefer to chat online, and will NEVER meet up with you.  They will instead:

  • Make a million excuses
  • Cancel right before the date
  • Stand you up
  • Arrive at the meeting place but not approach you, only later tell you that they showed up and got scared
  • Invent accidents, emergency situations etc. to excuse their behavior.

What causes this type of behavior?  I don’t really know but I have some ideas….

  • Suppressed homosexuality
  • Fear of rejection
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Unresolved issues with another relationship
  • Emotionally cheating on their spouse or girlfriend
  • An ego trip of keeping correspondence with several women at a time
  • Agoraphobia
  • Deep rooted insecurities
  • False representation – Their entire online identity is a ruse.

They will NEVER actually meet up, or physically see you.  What they would rather have is a fantasy they can play out in their mind as they type away. The first sign that you are dealing with an Online Only type: They avoid making time to see you, yet they want to maintain constant correspondence with you online. They push for emotional intimacy without any physical contact.  You might find it sweet or endearing, but in most cases the physical contact is never going to happen.  The online relationship is all they can handle.  If you insist on meeting up and some of these men will become defensive and even hostile.  Others will continually dodge the question, constantly making excuses.

You will never know

  • Is their profile information accurate?
  • Is the photo even of them?
  • Are they in a committed relationship or married and is this just one big game for them?

A recent article in New York magazine  discusses how some men have grown so used to virtual “relationships” with women in porn, that they become sexually dysfunctional when with the real thing.  A sad situation indeed.  Many Mr. Online’s will want to have cyber sex with you either over the phone, or through email or instant messaging.  Because they will never see you, this is the most you are going to get from a man like this.  Not exactly satisfying and you have no way of knowing what is actually happening on his end of the computer.  Is he showing your emails or messages to his friends for a laugh?  Is he publishing them somewhere on a blog?  Is he with another woman while talking to you online?  Since you don’t know, it is probably a bad idea to get into a situation like this.

I once had correspondence with a man I could tell was emailing several women at the same time.  I figured it out when he couldn’t seem to keep track of details or things I had written.  Finally I could tell he wasn’t actually reading the emails I sent him, at least not in full.  The whole endeavor was rather pathetic since my emails were so brief.  Even a full-page email is a few minutes worth of reading.  In his case I suspect, he maintained correspondence with multiple women to feed his inflated and fragile ego.  Once I figured this out, he became a bit of a joke to me.  Luckily that relationship never went any further than mildly flirtatious chats online.

What to do if you encounter someone like this online?  See the signs quickly and don’t take the bait.  There is a reason they refuse to ever meet you.  Their entire identity might be a complete fabrication. Cut them some slack but if the problem persists for an excessive amount of time, cut them loose.

Women also pull this trick, and it is often an actual scam.  The women will contact men, lead them on through promises of love and devotion, maybe even engage in some cyber sex only to eventually beg for money to come for a visit.  The man sends her the cash, and then waits like a fool at the airport for his dream girl who never arrives.  Some of these scams are so elaborate that the photo is of a model or even a stock photo, and the person on the other end of the emails is a man located in another country.   They call this one the lonely hearts scam.

Why would anyone put up with this for months in some cases years?  Virtual relationships aren’t entirely real.  A person we are chatting to online can’t hurt us in the same way a physical lover might.  At least that’s what we tell ourselves.  One viewing of the television show or film Catfish will show much heartache and pain when lovers discover their online romances were complete fabrications. Somehow we want to believe so strongly that a stranger on the other end of a computer is deeply in love with us and our perfect match.  The online version is a mirage, a fairy tale we tell ourselves.

I get about an email a day or several a week from men out-of-state, some from different countries.  I have gotten emails from Pakistan, Morocco, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland and on and on.  Why?  What woman would think starting correspondence with a man in another country would be a good idea?  After my divorce I trust little of what comes out of a strange man’s mouth, and sadly I check as much as I possibly can online.   How lonely does a person have to get to think that some man in a far off country, they have never met,  is the only man for them?  Rub the fairy dust out of your eyes and see reality.  There are available men and women everywhere.  Anyone trying to talk to you from a foreign country is probably up to no good.   Green card, scams, kidnapping…..whatever.  RUN!  If a man doesn’t want to see your lovely face, then he is not that man for you.  A virtual relationship is no substitute for a real one, don’t settle for a man online when you can have a man in real-time.  You’re much better off with the flawed and imperfect real man than a perfectly fictitious virtual one.

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