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Online Dating: We just aren’t that into you

Photoboothedit

This is for everyone who tries online dating.  I’m going to write it from a woman’s perspective, but I’ve heard numerous stories from men about this very universal problem.

On the first or second date a lot of guys assume the following

  • I’m madly in love with him
  • I want to have sex with him as soon as possible
  • I have an overwhelming desire to make-out or touch him
  • I’ve somehow had this long-enduring crush on him and FINALLY got up the nerve to ask him out
  • I’m completely sold, my date is the man of my dreams
  • I think he is my next husband, or I’m already dreaming of our nuptials
  • I just called my mom to tell her about how excited I am about this date

None of this is true.  I’m sure there are some women who really do think that when they go on dates with men they’ve met online.  There are always crazy people out there, but honestly most of women that I’ve talked to about online dating feel the following:

  • He doesn’t look like a serial killer
  • He’s alright, I hope he looks like his photos
  • I guess I could go out with him you never know
  • He sorta looks OK
  • He has nice eyes
  • He isn’t allergic to cats and lives in Brooklyn

That’s about as deep as it goes.  HONESTLY.  And this is usually what goes through my mind before a first date with a guy I met online:

  • Don’t let this date stretch on forever
  • I can’t spend a lot of money
  • I hope he isn’t psycho
  • I’m not sure if I even want to go through with this
  • I don’t want to put too much effort into this because most of these dates dont’ work out
  • Please don’t stalk me after this date
  • Maybe it’ll work out and I’ll go on date #2 with this one.

I actually do try to keep things positive, but this isn’t my first time at the rodeo.  I keep my expectations nice and realistic.  So when I meet a man online and he decides to take things physical way too soon, I just hate him.  A hookup site such as Tinder or Adult Friend Finder might be quite different, but most people don’t regard dating websites in the same way. If they are just looking for casual sex, they usually indicate it on their profile, or they should.  Because I’ve never had strong feelings towards a first date, I usually assume they don’t have strong feelings towards me.  No one really knows if there is actual attraction or chemistry until they physically meet.

I have had guys grab my hands, or put their arms around me when I have no real attraction to them, and it just makes me uncomfortable and I’m never sure how to handle it.

Where does this misperception come from?  I’m not sure, but I think it’s people of both genders assuming online dating is like regular dating.  When you were 20 years old, the sight of the cute boy in your biology class could make you weak at the knees.  The two of you would chat a bit and eventually the guy would finally make his move and ask you out.  Within hours you were cuddling in the booth of a diner asking about his favorite food, and his nickname in high school.  Online dating is just not like that. It’s two total strangers who thought from a few questions and photos that they MIGHT be attracted to each other.  With online dating you don’t even get the sense of physical chemistry you might get when meeting a guy in a bar.  It’s just so inorganic and actually goes against our instincts in almost every way.

Sure we know beforehand that the guy isn’t allergic to cats, lives near us and also likes goofy comedies, but at the end of the day that information isn’t going to make us weak in the knees when we are around them.  I’ve equated the whole endeavor to a crap shoot.  Sometimes you get lucky after the first roll of the dice, but most of the times you are both out of luck.  So fear not if your date seems bored and you just want to go home 15 minutes into it.  It’s not you, it’s not necessarily your date, it’s just random luck.  So gentlemen of online dating – please see these dates for what they are – two strangers just trying their luck at a seemingly impossible task. This isn’t college and you aren’t the cute boy in Biology class, but it’s OK.  We can’t go back to that simpler time in our lives, we just have to keep rolling the dice and hope that we eventually hit the jackpot.

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Dating Online: Confessions of an Accidental Cougar

English: North Amerian Cougar

English: North Amerian Cougar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I call myself an Accidental Cougar, because it’s exactly what it feels like.  I didn’t seek this out.  I never thought I would become a 40-year-old woman trolling for younger men.  Although I think the term “Cougar” is inaccurate as in my case, I’m hardly predatory.  In fact, the young ones usually come to me.  I have been a wimp when it comes to dating since as long as I can remember.  Any time I’ve gone outside my comfort zone and tried to be aggressive with men, the results have been disastrous. I’m just not good at it.  So I guess I’m younger man bait, but not exactly a cougar.

Many younger men seek out a liaison or even a relationship with an older woman.  Most 22-year-old women might demand more time with their partners.  Whereas a more mature gal might actually desire significant personal space. Most women past 40 would also not rush into a major commitment right off the bat, or could prefer a more casual relationship.  A cougar would probably be more mellow, calm and less likely to flip out over something that might upset a younger cub.  Of course there are exceptions as there are plenty of immature women in their mid-forties and up and even-keeled emotionally grounded 23 -year-olds.  There really are no rules here, as people don’t necessarily grow emotionally as they age.  But the perception by many young men is: older women know what they want and are less of a hassle.  That’s at least what I’ve heard from any number of them.

Some younger men have issues with their mother, and openly seek a more maternal relationship with a partner.  While others view a more emotionally complex middle-aged woman as a greater conquest.  And of course, for some the appeal is the sexual experience of a woman who has been having sex, longer than they have been alive.

I view the dating game as a totally different beast than I did when I was younger.  At 25, if an obvious player type hit me up, he would be instantly cast aside as a lecherous pig.  Now, I size him up – he might be a lecherous pig, but is he attractive?  Will I get bragging rights?  Can I show him off to my friends?  As I’ve often said many times on this blog, I would rather have an honest devil than a lying phony saint.  So I’ll take the admitted man whore for a few spins around the block, as long as I know everything’s above-board.  Afterward I will be sharing my exploits at the next girl’s brunch, or BBQ with my married friends.  Once you hit a certain age, it’s difficult to tell who’s the hunter, and who’s the prey.

It’s not to say that all younger men are nefarious lotharios, or good for nothing but sex.  A close friend of mine has had a long-term committed relationship with a man 16 years her junior now for nearly three years.   Another has been happily married to a man 14 years younger than her, for over a decade.  Age and maturity are relative.  At this point in my life, I feel like I almost don’t have an option anymore.  Most men in the 35-45 age range are one of four things: married, in a serious committed relationship, crushed from a breakup/divorce or confirmed bachelors.  It’s just so rare when I have an age-appropriate man even approach me.

Yesterday for my article about online dating profiles I had to re-start my defunct OKCupid account.  I wanted to search through as many names as possible to get the best sample.  I knew when I did this that OKCupid would treat my account as if it was brand new, and promote it heavily.  My inbox overflowed, I got over 87 emails in a 24 hour period.

Here is how the ages broke down.

  • (Ages 20-25)  17 or 19% of the Total
  • (Ages 26-30)  34 or 39% of the Total
  • (Ages 31-35)  14 or 16% of the Total
  • (Ages 36-40)  4 or 4.5% of the Total (10 minus 6 who didn’t live in NYC or were not single) 
  • (Ages 41-45)  5 or 5.7% of the Total (12 minus 7 who didn’t live in NYC or were not single)
  • (Ages 45-62)  6 or  6.9% of the Total (10 minus 4 who didn’t live in NYC or were not single)

The largest group of me to send me emails were 10-14 years younger than me, the second largest group was 15 years or younger than me.  The two groups totaled 51 men or 58% of the total amount of emails .  When I subtracted the men who didn’t live in NYC from the 36-45 age group I was left with only 11 men.  I removed the men who didn’t live in NYC from the older categories as they didn’t even live in NY state.  Some lived as far away as Italy, the UK and Spain.  I also omitted men who openly admitted to being married, or in a committed relationship.  There were some non-single men like this in the younger groups but their numbers weren’t significant to count.

I indicated on my profile that I’m seeking men ages 30-45, but that didn’t seem to stop 51 men from making a go for me.  So am I a predatory cougar?  It looks instead like a lot of younger men couldn’t care less about my age and are just as predatory and aggressive with me as they would be with women their own age.

The creepiest email of the day ironically came from a 36 year man who simply said.

“I would love to come over and videotape you”

He didn’t indicate what he wanted to video tape me doing.  Maybe I should have offered to clean my bathroom, or my cat’s litterbox – but then someone probably has a fetish for exactly that activity and the next thing I know I would be on a kitty litter cleaning porn site.

Admittedly, I look very young for my age.  Everyone in my family including both of my parents seem to have some magical youth gene.  Most people think I’m in my late twenties.  My youthful appearance might have skewed my results somewhat, but my age is very clearly indicated on my profile.  It seems most men don’t give a f*ck, at least not on a dating website.  If they are looking to have children or a long-term committed relationship the age difference might mean much more to them, but if they are trolling for ass online, age seems to matter very little.

The 35-45 age group of single men is still as elusive to me as a well-paying steady job with health insurance.  In theory such a thing exists, but I have no idea how to get it.

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Anthony Weiner – Sexual Predator, Carlos Danger or Crazed Narcissist?

Official portrait of United States Congressman...

Official portrait of United States Congressman (D-NY). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anthony Weiner, disgraced congressman is like the joke that keeps on giving.  If you don’t already know the details here are the basic facts.  In 2011 Weiner sent sexually explicit photos to several adult women who were not his wife.  At first Weiner denied the allegations, going so far as to say someone hacked his twitter account.  He also made the ridiculous claim that he wasn’t sure if a photo of his erect penis inside a pair of white underwear was his or not.  I think every grown man knows his penis intimately, so well that they could pick out of a large crowd of penises.  When Weiner finally admitted that he did indeed send the photos, he eventually resigned his seat in congress and issued several public apologies.  He even appeared in People magazine with his wife and infant son, with what seemed like a heartfelt admission of guilt and a vow to stop the behavior.

Now, a short two years later Weiner is the front-runner in the New York mayoral race.  A new woman has emerged with a series of sexually explicit sex messages and a story of a virtual affair that happened in the summer of 2012.  The story almost seems like a parody with Weiner using the alias, Carlos Danger in his correspondence. He even sent her yet another photograph of his penis.  The man must truly think his genitals are something special!  I’m sure his penis has its own moniker but we aren’t privy to that information yet!  The woman involved has remained anonymous and claims she was not compensated for her story.  We have no way of knowing if she is telling the truth, we only have the text messages which are quite hilarious and graphic in nature.

What really stuck me as completely crazy was the way the site The Dirty is handling this story.  The headline by Nik Richie reads “Anthony Weiner is a Sexual Predator Luring his Victims”   Richie makes the following quote.

My source is solid. She really thought Anthony Weiner and her were in love, they spoke on the phone daily multiple times a day for 6 months. Anthony Weiner played with her emotions and mind. Most calls were phone sex. He promised her many things including a condo in Chicago (1235 S. Prairie Ave) where they were planning to meet up to have sex. Anthony Weiner has a shoe fetish, particularly heels.

Calling Weiner a sexual predator is a farce.  It actually trivializes real sexual assault, intimidation and harassment.  The woman in question is 22 years old.  She is an adult and although she is incredibly naive she is not a child.  Weiner was not her employer or teacher and had no direct control over her life.  It wasn’t as if her job or grades depended on her playing ball with his advances.  She also knew he was a married man with a then pregnant wife.  It is hard for me to view a woman who knowingly engages in this type of behavior with a married man as a victim.  The whole thing reminds me of the Tiger Woods scandal when one of his mistresses held a tear filled press conference along the lines of “I thought I was his only mistress”  I guess the sobbing woman just conveniently forgot about his wife.

At 22 years old, Weiner’s virtual mistress is probably a college graduate. Most likely she has dealt with more than one lecherous college professor, a creepy employer or faced some type of sexual intimidation.  I’m sure she had a strong crush on Weiner and found the attention he gave her exciting.   From the texts I have read there is certainly a lot of sex talk but not a lot of fondness.  We don’t know what they said over the phone and more information could come out, but I think this young woman mistook lust and sex for love.   I wish I could have a cup of coffee with her and share some of my dating horror stories or the many I have heard from readers of this blog.  She is not a victim, just a foolish woman who made a few stupid choices.  Since she is anonymous, her life will go on and she might even face much worse men in her future.  The real victim here is Weiner’s wife and young son.

Weiner’s wife will have to live this down, and his son is not only going to have to grow up with an incredibly unfortunate surname but also be subjected to teasing about his father’s behavior.   His wife will also have to question every single word that comes out of her husband’s mouth.  I also lived in denial for years in my marriage and if I could go back in time I would grab myself by both shoulders and yell – GET OUT NOW!

Again the story almost reads like a joke.  A man named Weiner, showing his weiner to the world under the name of Carlos Danger – AFTER he lost his job, damaged his career and publicly humiliated his family – engaging in the exact same behavior.  You honestly couldn’t make it up.  Will the people of New York elect him as mayor?  Who knows?  If he wins the jokes will continue and I suspect the scandals will as well. If he got caught once and kept doing it – I kind of doubt this will be the last time we hear from Carlos Danger and his mighty, mighty penis.

Celebrity Crowd Funding: Brother, Can you Spare a Dime for a Millionaire?

English: Zach Braff at the Vanity Fair party c...

English: Zach Braff at the Vanity Fair party celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are walking down the streets of New York and you see a famous celebrity.  Your heartbeat speeds up as it’s someone you like and admire.  You don’t want to bother him, but his last movie is one of your favorites, despite yourself you go up to him, extended your hand and say, “I really love your work.” a broad smile flashes across his face and he returns with, “Could you spare a few bucks for me then?  I need it to help me finance my next picture.  He reaches into his bag and hands you a brochure complete with all the details. “For $25 I’ll give you a pre-screening invite.  If you give me $100 I’ll throw in a DVD. For a $1000 we’ll include your name in the credits and you can go to one of many after-parties, for $10,000, and I know that’s a lot, you’ll get a small part in the movie! Whadda think?”   As strange as that scenario seems, it’s a new reality.

Crowd funding is a relatively new innovation brought to us by the internet.  Anyone can create a fund-raising campaign by themselves for just about any cause: a sick friend, help with a new small business, playground equipment for a school and just about every type of artistic endeavor.  Theater companies and bands especially rely on these sites to help raise cash.  In return for their monetary gift a donor might get tickets to a show, a t-shirt, backstage access or some other type of premium.

Recently celebrities have joined the crowd-funding bandwagon to help fund their own pet projects.  Zach Braff took to the internet and asked fans to help him raise the money himself, so he could retain creative control.  He ended up surpassing his original goal, eventually raising over $3 million on the website Kickstarter.  After his fundraising ended, he accepted a few additional millions from traditional investors.  So whether they gave him $1 million or $4 million they are sill going to want to have some influence.  The last film he wrote, directed and starred in, Garden State had a budget of $2.5 million but went on to gross $35,825,316 in box office sales.  With a film that successful under his belt, did he really need to resort to begging the public for money?  He is also not a poor man with a net worth estimated at $22 million.

And now Adam Carolla, with an estimated net worth of $15 million, is hoping he will be just as successful raising $1 million for his latest project on  fundanything.com.   His last film, The Hammer, although critically well received grossed only of $442,638 in box office with a $850,000 budget according to imdb.com.  It would definitely be harder to get financing for a film if your last one lost money, regardless of film reviews.

Another thing that makes me a little annoyed by this is that Carolla and Braff are not only multi-millionaires with contacts and relationships in Hollywood we could only dream of having, they are also members of the one demographic with the easiest time getting their stories on-screen – white males.   Women and minorities have a much harder time getting hired as writers, actors, and directors, much less getting movies produced.  It’s not exactly as if Braff and Carolla are trying to tell the life story of an obscure black poet, migrant farm workers, or the women’s suffrage movement.

Of course people can spend their hard-earned dollars however they want, and there is nothing wrong with what Caroll and Braff are doing here.  They have every right to use whatever means necessary to get their projects up and running.  I just don’t understand why anyone would give them money.  A popular incentive is to get a chance to meet the celebrity at an after-party or other promotion.  It might sound exciting, but as a person who has met a lot of celebrities over the years – I’d save my money.

Plenty of directors have completely self-financed their own projects.  Sure it’s risky and maybe they might have to cut back on a few luxuries, but even if their films bomb, they don’t end up bankrupt.  A lot of people make career risks from time to time, but most of us would never dream of asking our friends and neighbors for help.  We usually only ask for help after a disaster or devastating illness.

Instead of donations, would it be unheard of to sell shares in a movie’s profits?  Small investors wouldn’t expect any artistic control, they could still be a part of a project they really love and they might get something in return besides free tickets to a movie they would have paid to see anyway.  Wouldn’t it even make good marketing sense to have thousands of ambassadors around the country begging their friends to see the latest film they have a direct stake in?  It might be an accounting nightmare, but it could be a publicity bonanza. 7/10/13 A couple of different readers have point out that apparently profit sharing in this way is currently not legal.  I have known a few small companies that have done exactly what I am describing, but it’s not available for something like this.  

Maybe this is the new normal, and soon dozens of small independent films will use this method of fundraising.  After all our media is already saturated with celebrity obsession.  Once a person is famous they shouldn’t have to risk, or take chances when they could just ask their fans to help them out.  In return the fans get a tiny speck of the drug that is elusive and inviting – fame.

Divorce: When One Half Wants Out

Divorce Cakes a_005

Divorce Cakes a_005 (Photo credit: DrJohnBullas)

Someone told me a story about a woman who refused to admit that her marriage was over.  It was before the “no fault” divorce laws in New York state.  She decided to legally contest her husband‘s petition of divorce.  The woman felt that her husband had no right to leave her.   In her mind shhe had been a good and loyal wife, and he had no right to end the marriage.  She was also Catholic and believed that divorce was immoral and a sin against God.  A few years later, after spending a small fortune on legal fees and lawyers a judge agreed with her.  The court denied her husband’s petition for divorce.  Even though they were physically separated and no longer a couple they remained legally married.  Desperate, her husband moved to New Jersey with his new girlfriend and started the process all over again.  They couple is now divorced.  As much as my heart goes out to the woman, she should have just let him go.

A failed marriage is kind of like our own personal fairy tale but with a horrible twisted bad ending – one we never would have expected.  Most marriages end when one half of a partnership wants out, not with both sides sitting down and coming to a mutually agreed upon separation.  Sure, those amicable divorces are out there, and some couples have literally tried everything to make their marriages work before they decide to end things.  But since I started writing about divorce I have gotten an avalanche of stories from readers about their own divorce related battles.  In most situations, one side simply wants out of the marriage while the other spouse fights desperately to keep things together.  In some cases the spouse who wants to remain married is simply crushed by the split.  It might take two people to get married, but it only takes one to force a divorce.  Not every marriage falls apart due to constant fighting, any number of things can lead to a divorce:

  • Rampant infidelity – sex with multiple partners over the course of the marriage behind their spouses back
  • Falling in love with a new partner
  • Midlife crisis – suddenly they want to completely rebuild their life – including their spouse
  • Substance abuse – spouse refuses to seek treatment
  • Untreated mental illness – spouse refuses to seek treatment
  • Massive deception – leading secret life
  • Fraud – married for a green card, inheritance, money, etc.
  • Closeted homosexual – married to have “normal” life

What is tragic is that I have met so many men and women who are not accepting that it’s over.  What they tend to say repeatedly are things like:

  • I don’t want to give up on this marriage
  • I grew up in a broken home and I vowed to never let this happen to me
  • I thought if I just worked hard enough that I could avoid divorce
  • How can he/she do this to our family? – It’s not fair

Relationships involve two people, and no one can control the behavior of another human being.  If your spouse wants out, there is not much you can do about it.  We all think if we just sacrifice enough, give up more and more of our happiness we can make it work.  I put up with an emotionally distant man in a celibate marriage because I refused to give up on my vows.  I believed in the sanctity in marriage and believed with all my heart that if I loved him enough and gave up my own hopes and dreams for his, that we would be together forever.  Somehow along the way I missed the point that the marriage was not the source of my happiness.  Just being with another human being does not always give the greatest fulfillment or joy.  I know this now because four years after leaving my husband I am much better off emotionally than I was for the last few years of my marriage.  Unwittingly we buy into the hype that romantic love is the greatest thing in the world to achieve, when I would argue it’s not.

Life isn’t fair for many of us.  Time and time again I have heard stories of one partner horribly betrayed by another.  We didn’t sign up for this.  We didn’t stand in front of our families and vow to give up on our version of a happy ending.  One of the most difficult realities to face as an adult is the willingness to admit we are powerless in certain situations.  No matter how hard we work, we cannot fix something that cannot be mended.

It’s awful and the pain is real and devastating, but just because that our original dream didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean we can’t find a new one.  If your partner wants out and you have tried everything to make it work – let them go.  They might have a change of heart and realize their mistake, but do you really want someone who left you in the first place?  No one is perfect.  There is no single human being on this planet who can complete another.  Even if they are the parent to your children, and even if you thought your life would work out differently.  As hard as it is when our marriages fall apart, we have to forget about the life we envisioned married to our spouse.   We have to instead learn to cherish and love our new reality.  It will get better, every day, week, month and year…just hang in there. 🙂

Dating in NYC: Sorry stranger, I’m Not Meeting you for Breakfast

Egg Sandwich 5of7

Egg Sandwich 5of7 (Photo credit: Food Thinkers)

I have only been single for four years in New York but it seems like forty.  So far in my dating escapades I’ve been stood up, watched as my dates have had meltdowns, broken out into tears, ramble on about an ex, tell me they want to date one of my friends, insult me to my face and expect sex immediately.  I have had a few wonderful dates – only to never hear from the guys again for reasons I will never understand.  What can I say?  It’s been fun.

Lately the trend is a man who I have written about before on this blog – The Coward.  A coward will ask me out only to never actually make the date happen.  It run into cowards more often than actual dates now.  I would say for every date I actually go on, I get about 8-10 men who ask me out, but never follow through.  I tell them when I am free and the claim they are busy.  This goes back and forth a few times until I give up.  The newest ploy  is an invitation to a mid-week breakfast date.  I have gotten such an offer a few times, yet I have never taken such enticing bait.  A typical proposal goes like this,

Well I would love to see you but things are really bad at work for the next couple of weeks.  You seem awesome though, and I really love your pictures.  Do you really play the ukulele?  How about we meet for breakfast sometime next week.   That’s the best I can do.

Even if I had a normal 9-5 job.  It’s not as if New York City is a calm and tranquil place in the morning, and virtually no one has an easy commute.  So what would I have to do?  Get up at 5AM, get ready by 6AM to meet you some place at 7AM so I can rush get a cup of coffee and make it to my place of business by 8:00?  For that to work we would need to work pretty much in the same neighborhood, which is unlikely in a city with five boroughs and 8 million people.

Lets say I don’t have a 9-5 job.  So I am still going to have to get up at 5AM get ready.  Get on a crowded train to meet you near your workplace, where we fight to get a table, then rush to get a plate of eggs.  You go to work, and I go home.  Wow that sounds like fun!  I really don’t get enough time on a rush hour train from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Or maybe you work in Brooklyn, but in an area that is going to cause me to take the Q train into Manhattan then transfer to an L to then walk several blocks in Williamsburg to meet you for that same plate of eggs and make the trek home.

I seriously want to ask these men.  Has anyone ever done this before?  Has it ever occurred to you why most dates are in the evening and on the weekends?  Do you think your God’s gift to women that I will crawl on hot coals to share a brief time in your presence only to have you decide I live too far away, have a weird job, and I am just not worth the effort.  And lets not get BRUNCH confused with BREAKFAST.  You didn’t ask me for a leisurely weekend morning activity in the East village filled with Mimosas, Bloody Marys and vanilla bean french toast.  Brunch is a morning after a drunken night New York tradition!   You asked me to breakfast – a meal many restaurants don’t even serve because why should they?  No one but tourists goes out for breakfast, unless it is a local place in a residential area of the city, and there is a 90% chance you don’t work on an area with cute little bistros on every corner.  Maybe by breakfast you meant a latte in an impossibly packed Starbucks in midtown, the neighborhood where every Starbucks is ALWAYS IMPOSSIBLY PACKED!

The weekday breakfast date is telling me one thing – I am not worth the effort.  I get it, as we are just strangers and the likelihood that this is going to be some match made in heaven is slim.  So I understand not wanting to jeopardize your job for the sake of a bad date.  Something tells me though you are still finding time to go out drinking with your buddies, and occasionally hooking up with random women.  You keep an OKCupid profile up more to tell yourself that deep down you really are looking for something with more substance.  I get it.  But you are probably going to end up liking one of the random women you hook up with, and you obviously couldn’t care less about some online blonde.  So instead of insulting me with a “breakfast date” just get off of the site and stop wasting my time.  Breakfast is normally the awkward meal you might feel obligated to have AFTER a date, not before!

Dating in NYC – Damaged Goods

Damaged buildings

Damaged buildings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think I might be beginning to snap.   Not actually have an emotional break down, I am healthier than I have been in years.  I am just so tired of living in New York, but I love New York.  My entire being has become conformed to this strange reality of subway commuting, 3 am evenings, manic intensity and creativity overflowing in every direction.  How could I go back to a more mundane existence?   Not that there is anything wrong with a mundane existence.  There are days I downright envy it.  I have waking dreams of just falling into friend’s photos on Facebook and melding into their lives.

My friends have diapers, school schedules and mortgages to worry about while  I am struggling to keep a float.  It’s like I am watching everyone else grow up around me.  Proud parents showing off their babies with stories of first words and tears.  Why can’t I seem to get anything together?  Why do I snap and run at the slightest provocation?  Have I been burned so badly that the sight of the first sign of flame causes me to bolt?  Why am I surrounded by so many stuck in a permanent state of adolescence?  Those who refuse to live beyond their 19-year-old ambitions.

A few of my friends who got divorced around the same time I did are already getting re-married.  I can’t even go out with the same person for more than two or three times.  I was a serial monogamist but now I just drift around, scared to get too close to anyone.  And I am constantly hunted by the predatory types.  New York is never at a shortage of people who would love to get to know you really well for an evening and nothing more. I have given up on the notion of children, completely abandoned the idea of a second marriage.  I just want to hang out with someone on a semi-regular basis.  I couldn’t really handle a polyamorous lifestyle and I dread sleeping with more perfect strangers.  I want off this ride.

Is it different somewhere else?  I think its worse here but I have gotten emails from people all over the country who confirm my fears that things aren’t much better elsewhere.  Yet I see happy couples all the time here.  All I can think of is “How did they manage that?”

When I first got divorced I fell back on my usual habits.  I would do my borderline co-dependent, nurturing routine – which was too much and I freaked out pretty much every guy I tried to date.  Now I am hesitant, somewhat cold and distant.  I don’t ask a lot of questions, or get too personal because I figure I’ll never hear from the person again anyway.  Why bother opening myself up to more disappointment.  Months ago, one young man from another city who tried to seduce me looked almost astonished at the detached way I dealt with him.  He was so excited, and I was so matter of fact.  Yet none of this matters, I tell myself, they will find an excuse.  Too clingy or too self-involved -they can always find someone new.

Then I go out with perfectly nice men who I feel absolutely nothing for, other than the fact that they seem like decent people.  I don’t know what is wrong with me.  The fissures and scars that are still deep down in my bones won’t seem to heal.   And the words echo through my skull that I have heard so many times.

“Well you had an EASY divorce, at least your husband was gay”

Yeah, the primary relationship in my life, the one man I would have given my life for…was a fraud.  Not exactly an “easy” divorce.

Dating in New York: A Reformed Man Whore

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42-17843858 (Photo credit: kedai-lelaki)

A good friend of mine recently confided in me his frustration with his man whore lifestyle.  It seems he was now back with his on and off again girlfriend of several years.  I don’t want to reveal his identity so I will leave out a lot of specifics.  After a little back and forth he basically said,  “I really have to get over being a man-whore, I am trying to work things out.”

To which I replied, “Look you aren’t 25 years old, there is only so long you are going to be able to pull off the man whore thing.  You don’t make a ton of money, you aren’t drop dead gorgeous and even if you were, your looks will fade anyway.  Don’t be an idiot.  Try to make this work.  You don’t know until you have lived without it, how painful it is to live without love.  You guys obviously care for each other or you wouldn’t end up back together all the time.  For me it has been over three years, and it feels like I am slowly dying.”

Sex is easy.  Love is hard.  Part of the reason I don’t really get into the hook-up culture is that for most women having casual sexual affairs is like shooting fish in a barrel.  It is simply too easy.  If I want no-strings attached sex from a man I can get it, any night of the week.  The sex might be dull, and the partners unexceptional, but if I just want sex, it is never a problem.  Sexual dynamics have never been equal for men and women.  There are some rare men that are so physically beautiful, charming or wealthy that they have a high success rate with the opposite sex but for the vast majority of men, the hook-up game is much more difficult.

But even when getting sex is easy, it doesn’t always work out.  My last hook-up was a total comedy routine.  It should have been fine.  The man aggressively pursued me at a bar.  He was much younger, didn’t live in New York City and once I relented we both had clear cut expectations.  But he also didn’t realize he was allergic to cats…and since I live with two gorgeous felines…it was all over before it really began.  So much for my New York wild single life.  I tried to warn him before we got here…anyway.

Every time I try these scenarios, I am left wanting more.  It feels kind of like eating a cookie when I am really famished for a meal.  The decadent treat might temporarily satisfy but it does nothing for my deeper hunger.  Plus none of us can survive on a diet of just sweets.   As I tried to point out to my friend, his man whore lifestyle is only sustainable for so many years.  An aging millionaire rock star can still get a 25-year-old when he is in his sixties, a wealthy banker might have a trophy wife and a bevy of mistresses on the side.  For most of us, we get old, we don’t look as hot and we don’t have the economic resources to attract as many partners.  Before we know it we are at the age where we might end up permanently alone.  As I told my friend in my usual overly blunt way,

“Look dude do you want to end up with the kind of woman who would date a poor musician who screwed around for most of his life?  Or do you want to be a man and work at a relationship with a woman who you love, and who loves you.  She doesn’t care that you are don’t make a lot of money, she loves you anyway as you are now…don’t be an idiot.”

Fear of being alone shouldn’t be the primary factor in any relationship, but like I pointed out these two actually do have a strong emotional connection.   My friend is just being neurotic that somehow he might be happier if he is chasing every woman in New York City.  He knows it isn’t true, but being self-destructive leaves him torn between what is good for him, and what feels good in the moment.

I have had to condition myself to live without a partner in my life, and it has been extremely difficult for me.  Even before my marriage I was always a serial monogamist.   Casually dating multiple partners feels like another game entirely and one that I am not very good at playing.  I have dreadful dating skills.  I am nervous, insecure, blather on and reveal way too much.  Avoiding discussing my divorce is especially difficult since my marriage was such a huge part of my adult life.  I simply don’t have the skill set, I was just half of a couple for too long.   I can live by myself and be perfectly happy, but I don’t want to live like this forever.

I honestly hope my would be reformed man whore heeds my advice.  From my perspective he is incredibly lucky to have a woman who will keep trying to make something work with him.  Chasing the next best thing could lead him down a dead-end path with no way out.

Dating Online: The Liar – A Hall of Famer!

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I am launching a new category on this blog: The Hall of Fame.   Anyone I place in the online dating Hall of Fame will be a person who expresses the most extreme traits of an already established archetype.  To protect this man’s identity  for the purposes of this article I will simply call him, “The Pretty Boy”.

It started out innocently enough.  Tired of my inbox filling up with 22-25 year olds trolling for cougars, and geriatric men who lie about their age, I did a quick match search.  My query was simple, men who live in New York City ages 32-47.  After scrolling through dozens of profiles I ended up emailing exactly two men.  One was an extremely attractive man, almost too pretty for my taste.  Most of his photos were professionally done, and he had one shot of himself holding a guitar in front of a large crowd of what looked like several thousand people.  The caption read “I was a rock star…about 10 years ago”

This photo was the first red flag. I questioned why he would put something like that on his profile.  I also wondered if this man might be promiscuous; as the lifestyle of most professional musicians isn’t exactly one of steadfast fidelity.  My roommate looked at his photos and said immediately.

“He is probably gay, he is way too pretty to be straight”

I disagreed as I have met many pretty straight men.  I was more concerned with, “How could a man this good-looking really have much of a problem getting a date, especially if he was a rock star at some point in his life?”

I have come across many extremely attractive people on dating websites.  However this man was model good-looking.  He was gorgeous, and that is rare on dating sites.  I wasn’t really interested as I am really attracted to bookish nerdy guys or artistic types; but, his profile was so over the top I felt compelled to contact him.

I sent him a brief one sentence asking him for a “drink or something”, to which Pretty Boy responded.

When you said ‘or something’ did you mean sky diving?  Or a book reading? Something a bit more exciting?”

I found his response rather annoying.  Here I was a total stranger sticking my neck out to ask him out and he is scolding me for not being bold enough in my request.  So I responded…

“No actually I meant just coffee.  I would hate to ruin an experience like sky diving with a total stranger, not to mention it is rather expensive.  If we went to a book reading we wouldn’t get a chance to talk much and well…you are a total stranger so it is better to actually get to know you”

And then the first shoe dropped and I get this response.

“Well I would love to meet for coffee but I actually live in Los Angeles but I will be moving to New York soon…so that is why I have New York on my profile.  I will be in town on Dec. 10th if you want to hang.”

I wish I could say this is the first time I found an inaccurate profile, but unfortunately a lot of guys lie about living in New York.  I guess we New York gals have a bit of a reputation for being fabulous.  I have no idea.  I should have just walked away; but, for reasons I don’t understand, I shot back

“Hey man if you live in LA you should say you live in LA.  And if you are moving here soon, maybe you should focus on moving here before you try to date anyone.  If that is what you are looking for, I am not sure.  Anyway good luck to you, New York is a really difficult city to date in.  I wrote an article about it, trust me it is hell.”

And because I thought this would be the end of the conversation I sent him a link to my #1 hit as it were, “Dating After Divorce in a City of Sluts.”  I have no idea why I did this.  I had never done it before.  I guess I meant it as a nice parting gesture.  I was just trying to give him my perspective on dating in this city. I just forgot how opinionated and worked up people got about that article.

About twenty minutes later I get this long rambling response written mostly in text speech with the letter “u” substituting for the word “you” and some of the worst grammar and spelling I have ever seen in my life.  I would have just ignored it but his tone set me off.  The line that pushed me over the edge “I disagree with the very notion of writing about it in the first place.”

Plenty of people disagree with me, and I don’t mind a healthy debate.  However telling me I shouldn’t write about any subject was incredibly disrespectful and insulting.  It was also incredibly difficult to respect his opinion since he couldn’t write in complete sentences, spell simple words or even make his opinions clear.  My writing is not perfect, but his writing was simply abominable.

I will paraphrase as our correspondence got somewhat heated and long-winded.  My first tactic was to  defend my article.

“Look you may not agree with me, but I have every right to write about whatever I want.  This is my personal experience so you may disagree with my point of view, but I wrote it from the heart.  I got hundreds of new followers on twitter, it was shared thousands of times on the internet, and I even did interviews based on the article.  So you may not agree with me but a lot of people did.  I am not bashing men as this is a universal problem.   As I stated in the article: women, men and people of every sexual orientation and gender identification deal with this predicament”

His next response is when things really got weird.  As he took my attempt at defending my piece as me bragging about my accomplishments.  His response was to try to out-brag me…again paraphrasing for length.

“Look I have sold millions of records, I have been on TV, was voted one of the most beautiful people in the world and I have been married for 15 years I am just on a hiatus and I have four children”

Well this is news now isn’t it?  He hadn’t indicated on his profile that he was MARRIED, nor that he had FOUR CHILDREN!  I was floored, and kept reading. He may have not realized the verb tenses he used but the words “have been married for 15 years” implied he is still married.  Also the use of the word “hiatus” made me feel he was not even legally separated much less divorced. He went on,

“And because of all of this, I have had a lot of experience with women…all over the world”

And I started doing the math in my head.  So if he is 38 and married for 15 years, and is probably still married…if he was screwing a bunch of women 10 years ago when he was in a band, then he was cheating on his wife.  Wow, this man was a catch.

“And so what about your article who cares?  I also know I am attractive.  Why?  Because thousands of people have told me so.  Including millions of readers in a certain popular magazine that called me one of the most beautiful people in the world.”

At this point I started cackling.  Yes this man was attractive, but obviously he had put a lot of his self-worth into what he looked like as I had not brought up his physical appearance.  I realized he misunderstood my defense of my article.  I wasn’t actually trying to brag, just point out that yes my piece was controversial but plenty of people loved it.  Now it seemed he was hoping that I would rue the day that I had snubbed him.  After all he was one of America’s Most Beautiful people, a fact he mentioned twice in his rant. If he only knew how many other pompous beautiful men I have turned down over the years.  I finally ended this madness and wrote.

“Well if you are so famous and attractive, then why have you resorted to online dating to try to meet women?”

And then I blocked him from contacting me.  I was kind of insulting myself  and everyone else on dating website when I wrote that.  I didn’t mean to diss everyone on a dating website as plenty of people find love online.  I just thought it was funny that this man who kept bragging about how he was so beautiful, had appeared on television and sold millions of records was trying to find a date on a free dating website.

I WILL NOT reveal this man’s identity on this blog but after a fairly quick google search I found out he had what looked like one big hit and a couple minor hits about a decade ago.  I didn’t recognize him or his musical partner, nor had I ever heard any of their music.  It was bland light pop and I am sure they had a loyal following for a brief time.

I have been on and off OKCupid now for over two years and I have never found a profile that proved to be so blatantly fraudulent.  He had no mention of children, still being married or living in a totally different city.  He tried to defend his actions by saying he was only looking for “friends and activity partners”.  That was the only honest thing he had written, but  I can’t imagine his wife would be overjoyed if she found his profile.  This was the ultimate liar, and from the looks of his ranting a fairly insecure liar.  Perhaps he should try to find some groupies who might still be starstruck.  He will learn soon enough, most New York women won’t give a damn that a popular magazine called him a beautiful person.  If he wants casual sexual encounters he will have no problem getting them, he just shouldn’t pretend he would rather go skydiving instead.  Had he been honest from the start, he would have saved us both a lot of trouble.

So Hurricane Sandy made you fat…

Hurricane Sandy Flooding Avenue C 2012

Hurricane Sandy Flooding Avenue C 2012 (Photo credit: david_shankbone)

I have read a bunch of articles on the web lately about New Yorkers who gained weight while stuck at home with no power.  The boredom of life without social media, cable television or even light to read a book took its toll.  Sitting and staring at your cat, eating junk food and going without fresh vegetables and fruit for a week doesn’t result in a svelte figure.  Many of us found out the hard way that non-perishable in bright shiny bags and colorful boxes is not good for us.  It didn’t help that many of us were scared to go out in streets that no light for days.  Now we feel guilt when we find ourselves complaining about how our jeans don’t fit while some area residents have literally lost everything they own.

Well here is a simple solution.  What burns calories and relieves you of the guilt of bitching about an added five pounds?

STORM CLEANUP

Even though it has been over a week since Hurricane Sandy smashed into this area and wreaked havoc for all of us, areas like Staten Island, The Rockaways, Breezy Point Queens, Long Island and much of New Jersey have a long road to recovery.  Instead of hitting the gym and fighting to get time on a monotonous machine, pack a healthy lunch, grab a friend or a group of friends and find a place to volunteer.  You will meet new people, share your Sandy horror stories, help fellow residents and lose weight!

Picking up garbage all day long, helping load supplies in disaster areas, even walking up and down stairs burns calories.  I volunteered down at Coney Island USA and was given the job of organizing donated supplies.  I probably walked up and down those stairs 100 times in a day.  Plus I walked one mile from the last stop on the F train to get there.  I have no idea how many calories I burned, or what my heart rate was but my body certainly felt it the next day.  I had worked muscles I hadn’t felt in years.  It was one way of varying my workout routine.

If you want to kill two birds with one stone so to speak and zip up those skinny jeans here is how you can do it.

theawl.com  This site contains information on multiple locations around the area that all need help

New York Cares – Lists places around the area that need specific hurricane relief volunteers

Volunteer Match.org – Specific opportunities for Hurricane Sandy clean-up and support

UJA Association – Specific places and events where you can volunteer

NJ.com – An article listing specifics for volunteers in the Garden State.

Coney Island USA – A non-for profit hit hard by Hurricane Sandy home to a museum about the area and the freakshow.  If they can’t use you, there is an organized relief effort for the entire area, that is only a few blocks away at 29th Street and Neptune Ave.

And of course there are always:

United Way

American Red Cross