Playing for Keeps

The dating sites I use make finding “matches” deceptively simple. Swipe right if I like a photo; swipe left if I don’t.  If the guy swipes right on me, “Boom!” (one of them actually says “boom”), then there is a match.  We may or may not start communicating. If not, then, well, you just keep swiping.

Last night, at dinner with a few of my high school BFFs, I offered up my phone so they could participate in some vicarious swiping.  They did what I do, which is carefully evaluate each one, then make a firm decision before moving on to the next photo.  This went on for a minute or two.  But, then, the daughter of one my friends and our waitress, wanted in on the action.

Her method was far different from ours.  She leaned over the table, and swiped rapid-fire through the photos, swiping left on nearly every single one.  While I calmly witnessed the hijacking of my love life, my friends were visibly (and audibly) upset.  “What are you DO-ing?”  “Stop. stop. stop.”  “What’s she DOING?”  “NO NO NO NO!”

Two entirely different perspectives.  My friends were looking at these men as Potential.  Our young conspirator knew what I know; there will always be more photos.  This struck me with a mixture of both hope and sadness. Hope, because, there’s always that “maybe…”. Sadness, I think, for the same reason.  The maybes, more often than not, remain only maybes.  And I’m playing for keeps.

Which leads me to my list of maybes.

  1. The Belgian texted me and asked if… a) I’ve found my Prince Charming and b) if I remembered him.  I only answered the second question.  He asked me to join him for a drink, “no pressure,” and I said yes.  He ended up canceling. Several days later, he asked if I was busy the next weekend.  I didn’t answer this time.
  2. After telling Patch Guy I couldn’t see him again, we reconnected over our shared anticipation (ok, yes, obsession) for the new Jason Isbell album.  He invited me to join him and his friends tailgating outside a Jimmy Buffet concert.  I went for a bit, and had fun.  But being friends with men is tricky business.
  3. Success Guy is traveling for the summer, and sends me texts and photos here and there.  A possible maybe.
  4. RV Guy is off in the “sticks in Georgia,” and is doing some serious wandering. I think that’s all he is really serious about.
  5. The new guy, Sports Dad.  Unlike most of the men I meet, Sports Dad is cautious. In person, he’s a low talker (yup, a Seinfeld reference).  In his texting, he’s more animated and clearly interested.  But, he does little to move that interest into reality.  He’s smart and finds me funny (both essential ingredients), so I’m doing my best to squash my impatience and see where it goes.  Another maybe.

This week’s songs are dedicated to Betsy, my partner in crime, mainly misdemeanors.  I was lucky enough to have her join me in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry to see Jason, Amanda and John Prine.  They, for sure, were playing for keeps.

To Text or Not to Text.  That is the Question.

I hate waiting.  This is why I have a love/hate relationship with texting.  With friends, the rules with texting are simple:

  1. I send a text.  I get one back.
  2. I receive a text.  I text back.

Early in my dating career (yes, I think I’ve put enough time in), I breezily texted guys with reckless abandon.  A text would appear, and I would answer it.  “Whoa!  You answered right away?”  My guy friends told me that made me look desperate.


Now, I have learned to strategically wait, because we all know I’m out running marathons or better yet, doing yoga (men love chicks who do yoga), saving whales and other equally amazing activities.  Clearly, I don’t have time to text while I’m straddling a Humpback Whale.

So, when I lay on my bed and watch Netflix at night, what do I do then?

I try to answer a text within what I guess is an acceptable time frame.  NOTE:  there is A LOT of guessing going on in this process.  Unlike in Friend-land, response times in the dating world often vary considerably, from immediate (suspicious), to 5-15 minutes (good and evidently normal), to hours, days, even weeks.

This is always a topic for post-game analysis with my roommate/little sister/dating coach/comedian/friend/confidante.  We try to decode not only the time it takes to respond, but the response itself.   Is he into the chase?  Am I coming on too strong?  Is he busy, uninterested, or just a bad texter?   It’s all so confusing. And at 52, I wonder, aren’t we old enough to not have to do this anymore?

Which leads me to one of my best friends, who I’ll call PB (a nod to the Peanut Butter t-shirt she was wearing when we met in seventh grade). PB got on for a short stint, but decided she’s not into dating right now. Since she had some time left on her subscription, she is going to conduct an experiment:  message guys with whatever crosses her mind, no matter how crazy or outrageous it would make her appear.

This inspires me.  I decide to send a text to let One Guy know that I was disappointed that our communication recently fell off.  He called me back and we talked it out.  Like grownups.

Thanks PB.

Good Night and Good Luck

A friend noted that I hadn’t written in a while, and that she always knows when I like someone because I stop writing.  Damn, she was right.  So tonight, I’m determined to be brave, and to admit, yes, I was beginning to like Someone, and well, here’s how that turned out…

The last few months have been a string of highs and lows.  After the Canadian, I took myself off the dating sites and found myself spending time (fill in the blank here) with a few old friends.  When we were together, it was fun and sexy and cool.  When we weren’t, my phone taunted me with its silence.  Both Blank Guy 1 and Blank Guy 2 clearly saw me as more of an “option” than a priority. Man, is my ego getting a workout. I wish I could report that I ended both in a blaze of crazy badass bitchy glory, but, the truth is, both simply faded to black.  Just like my lifeless phone.

I decided to abandon ship altogether, and quit the dating scene.  Three days later, I abandon my resolve and I’m back online analyzing the significance of the endless variety of profile pictures.  There are pictures of men posing with tigers (is this a thing?), a poorly executed photoshop experiment where a guy pasted his super tiny head on an enormous bikini-clad body builder, and one of my favorites, a guy posing in his fatigues, surrounded by a dozen topless babes dressed like Santa’s elves.  Amidst all this craziness, I did manage to go on a few dates.

First, there’s Success Guy.  An accomplished businessman, he also paints, writes and is driven by the need to mentor and inspire others to live a good life.  I kind of feel like a potential project when I’m with him.  Next, there is RV Guy.  He’s 5 years younger, selling his house, and is about to jump into his brand new Airstream and cruise wherever the road takes him. When he gave me a tour, I quipped that I should go straight to the dealer and buy my own Airstream van.  “Or you can just come with me.”  Hmmmmm.

Finally, there’s the Someone.  I liked him right away.  He was easy to talk to, cussed as much as I did, and when we went to say our goodbyes at our first meeting, I pointed out that I was slightly taller.  His response: “Who gives a fuck.”   The next day, he asked me to join him for a stroll around Dunedin and to watch the sunset, and I happily said yes.  When I left him last night, I was swooning.

Today, I received a good luck with everything text.  Ouch.

This time, I’m choosing to believe that there must be a Silver Lining.


Loose the Weight

“Straight truth time – loose the weight.”

This was the last text I got from the Canadian.  I’m guessing his unsolicited advice was to lose weight.  I blocked his number.

After he returned to Canada, our conversation veered into the scintillating topic of Real Estate Investing.  While not as sexy as well, sex, I was interested in discovering his methods as an investor. He recommended a book to read, and later he texted to see how far I had gotten through the book.  I told him I was taking the author’s advice and thinking about what my specific goals were – that I was looking to generate enough income to travel.   I went on to admit that I had imagined traveling with a partner, but that was looking less and less likely.

That’s when he felt the need to comment on my weight.  Stunned, angry, hurt, and incredulous.  I took the high road and told him that was uncool, and that he may be turned off by my “weight,” but I felt pretty good about the way I looked for my age.  (Actually, I told him I felt sexy and beautiful – I felt the need to make a powerful statement).  Deep down, all I could think of was “motherfucker.”

So, what did I do?  I shared the screenshot with some of my girlfriends.  If there is one subject that men should NEVER ever say to a woman, it’s this one.  I mean, this is March on Washington shit.  Here are just a few of the reactions:

  1. Is he fucking serious?
  2. He is a douche
  3. Super dick
  4. Rude as fuck
  5. 3 Water gun emojis
  6. Shithead emoji
  7. Asshole!

I’m 52 and a size 10 on good days; a 12 on not so good days.  I try to take care of myself, but, yes, I fall short.  There were many, many years that my body served as the prime target for my self-hatred; I’ve learned to not only accept, but embrace my imperfections as uniquely mine.  It’s taken me a lifetime to become comfortable in my own skin.  Now, with one text, I’m resisting the temptation to distrust any other man who wants to be with me.

I’ll let Christine Kane do the rest of the talking for me.  This song is dedicated to every woman who has been shamed into feeling less than because they don’t live up to someone else’s idea of who they should be.   They can kiss my lovely dimpled ass.


Who’s Canadian?

After getting past the holidays and barely surviving a freakishly long cold, the beginning of the year started, not with hope, but with the slow, drawn out demise of any potential relationships I may have had.

The Belgian informed me that I couldn’t give something that I didn’t have myself.  Really?  We’re whipping out the cliches now?  He followed up by asking why I dated so many men and why didn’t I just make a decision.  I told him, decisively, that I wasn’t interested in a committed relationship.  Oregon Guy simply stopped communicating.  Stretchy Pants and I tried to get together a few times, but my nasty cold prevented it.  He’s safely back in California, and I’m, well, over my cold at least.

Am I too picky?  Am I afraid?  I could pick myself apart for decades if I wanted to, but the truth is I simply haven’t found the guy for me.  Plain and simple.  Have I met some nice, interesting, fun men?  Yes, definitely.  But, so far, no butterflies.

Until now.  Gulp.

He’s Canadian.  This reminds me of one of my favorite This American Life episodes… “Who’s Canadian?”  (In the show I discover Captain Kirk is Canadian, and I, like one of the narrators on the show, find this disturbing).   We connect online, and he informs me that I had passed his litmus test.  I wasn’t aware of his criteria.  However, since his ex-wife is Swedish, I deduce (correctly) that he has a thing for Scandinavian women.

He suggested we go kayaking, and I’m overjoyed when it starts raining and I’m spared from having to decide if I’m brave enough to display my 52 year old thighs on a first date.  We settle on Plan B, the same Tiki Bar where I misbehaved with the Belgian a few months back.

A self-described artist and former ski bum, he’s here visiting family and looking for a potential real estate project.  He has small children back in Canada, and they are with him half of the time, so he explains he’s not able to  commit to a long term thing.  I find this, his beautiful blue eyes and his scruffy blond hair, all equally appealing.

After telling each other tales of our past, the date moves from the Tiki Bar back to my place where he cooks me dinner.

Yup, butterflies for sure.


Episode 65, “Who’s Canadian?”



Red and White and Stretchy

It’s a new year and I’m back in the saddle. This was a date I had right before Christmas.

He was from Venice, California, had longish blond hair and his profile divulged that road trips were his art form.  As a fellow wanderer, I thought it would be a fun way to spend the evening.  Since this was a last minute decision to meet, he admitted he’d been out all day and didn’t have time to go get “dolled” up.

As it happens, he managed to stumble upon my neighborhood, and suggested we meet at a local bar.  After hanging with some of my people earlier in the evening, I dashed off to meet him.

As soon as I walked through the door I ran into someone I knew.  After distractedly talking to my friend for a few minutes, I walked into the next room to find him perched at the bar.  Right away, I noticed his impressive blond hair and his red and white stretchy pants. I couldn’t figure out if they were holiday pajama pants or something else, but I decided to turn my attention to him and avoid my desire to concentrate on his funky pants.

After our initial hello’s, we settled in to a booth to get away from the buzz at the bar.  I started my interrogation.  Are you from California originally?  (No). What made you move there?  (Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California”).  What kind of toothpaste do you use (Tom’s).  I’m not sure why I’m amused by toothpaste choices, but for some reason, I ask this question often.

We got along famously, laughed a lot and enjoyed each other’s company. When I started to get tired (dating over 50 apparently means dating until 10pm), I told him I needed to get going.

“I think you’re pretty cool, and I haven’t even kissed you yet.”  This sounded like a challenge to me, so I felt the need to defend my honor.  “Well, I’m a really good kisser.  Just saying.”

Fast forward to the scene of us saying goodbye on the street corner.  We kissed.  “What do you do, just go around torturing men?”

And that’s when I realized why men shouldn’t wear stretchy pants…

P.S.  A friend of mine dubbed online dating as “rent a human.”   Admittedly at first it felt like I was shopping for men.  But, now, after doing it a while, I view it as serendipitously as meeting guys any other way.  I’ve made a few good friends, shared adventures, and have even eased the aching in my heart.  Onward.

This is dedicated to Stretchy Pants Guy.  I hope to meet again someday.


Disasters, Drummers and Dudes

A little background. I started seeing my former husband when I was 19 years old. We were friends, then it progressed into something more. At one point, he broke it off, only to come back a few months later. We moved in together for a few glorious months, and then he was off to graduate school in another state. I had to drop out of school because of a lack of money, so it seemed logical that I would simply move in with him. It was a disaster. I moved to Norway to stay with my mom, only to come back to be together with him again. After that, we stayed together, eventually marrying, having children, and living lives not necessarily together, but in parallel.

So, when I found myself divorced after 26 years with the same person, I didn’t know how to ask a guy in Starbucks for the time, let alone figure out how to get myself a date. What’s a 46 year-old newly single woman to do? Frequent bars late into the night by myself? Naturally. What followed was a series of guys not unlike Drummer Man, who not only just wanted sex, but also refused to even kiss me.

Eventually, I caught on that the bar scene may not be the place to meet my future soul mate. So, online I went, and before I knew it, I was sending steamy emails to a guy I referred to as, wait for it, Email Man. This went on for a year (a year! What was I thinking?). I finally met him when he was in town on business, and quickly discovered the difference between a perceived chemistry online versus chemistry in person. In other words, there wasn’t any.

Fast-forward six years and as we all know, I’m online dating again. This time around, I’m wiser, have a flatter stomach, and no longer panic at the prospect of meeting someone new. I’ve progressed from not-so-nice guys to guys that are so nice that I’m not sure what to actually do with them.

Which leads me to the activities from this week.

I saw the Belgian twice. We clearly don’t communicate well with words, but we do much better with body language.

Patch Guy surprised me and took me to one of my favorite places, the Tampa Theatre, to watch Elf. Even though we both claimed to not be into the Christmas thing, we both left the theatre feeling just a tiny bit festive. I like Patch Guy.

And then, Oregon Guy. He wanted to talk on the phone, which I normally dislike, but I figured I needed to get over myself. We talked for over an hour, and made plans to meet Saturday night. Unfortunately, when Saturday rolled around, I was feeling under the weather due to an overdose of an herbal something or another, and I cut the date short and asked him to take me home. He was kind and polite, and asked what I thought about us. I told him the truth. The same thing I told the Belgian.

I don’t know.

This week’s song is dedicated to my young friend who has an old soul and loves Joni Mitchell.  Merry Christmas.