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The last post I wrote about my first date in forever, how much we clicked and how much I enjoyed meeting her.  Since then, there’s been some good developments and a not-so-good development.

On the good developments, we had our first kiss the second time we got together and it was wonderful.  She’s a great kisser, and it had been so long since I’d really kissed someone that I floated home that night.  Did I mention it was wonderful?  The third time we got together, we shared another goodnight kiss that left me feeling all warm and tingly.  Yeah, yeah– maybe it’s not macho gushing about kissing, but I’ve made no secret how much I love kissing (…She’d Savor Smooching, 3 First Kisses).  I even lamented one time being bummed by the thought that if I got run over by a bus one day that my ex would be my Last Kiss.  Thankfully, that concern has been erased.

Our fourth get-together was cancelled because she was not feeling well, and unfortunately for the next ten days my insane schedule left few opportunities for us to see each other, and on those days she had prior commitments.  So our next date was going to be this Friday, and I was really looking forward to seeing her again.  I considered some options and wracked my brain for something particularly fun to do to make up for the time we’d spent apart.

Unfortunately, that’s where the not-so-good development comes in.  Over the course of a few emails back and forth we converse a bit about what we’re looking for in a relationship, and she tells me that we’re not really working out for her.  She’s looking for someone who can go and do many of the things she likes to go and do, but my time constraints make that difficult.  I work two jobs to support my kids and have visitation with them as often as I can.  Her kids are grown and on their own, and she’s fully enjoying the empty-nest phase of her life.

It totally bummed me out to hear but I could totally understand.  She’s a great woman and deserves to have a partner who can spend more time with her than I can.  I appreciated her honesty, and was glad she was bold enough to speak up about it sooner rather than later, and not just let linger, building up resentment along the way.  She said she still enjoyed my company and hoped that we could still get together as friends, and I was glad to hear that because I really liked chatting with her about a wide variety of things we both enjoyed talking about.  I proposed we still get together Friday, meeting at this cool Mexican restaurant that makes this incredible fresh guacamole right at your table, to share guac over margaritas, and she agreed.  You can never have too many friends, and she’s a friend who likes to go and do, which are particularly good to find in this stage of my life.

So what now?  I don’t know.  One worry I had about getting back into dating was concern about my time constraints, and that was the very thing that sank this relationship before it really got going.  She mentioned that dating me was like having a long-distance relationship, which seems like a pretty good analogy.  Maybe that sort of thing will be appealing to someone down the road, someone who might have similar time constraints as me.  At least we wouldn’t have the travel expense of a long-distance relationship!

At this point I think I’ll get back to checking in on OKCupid, maybe modify my profile a bit to emphasize my time-constraints to make it clear what I can and cannot offer at this stage in my life.  Sure, interest in my profile will likely shrink further, but it’s only fair to potential partners who run across me.

I’ll also keep trying to expand my social circles, find people who want to go and do stuff when I have the time to go and do.  And I’ll focus on my health, exercise and healthy eating.  Who knows what the future may bring?

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Not long ago I wrote a post about giving OKCupid (an online dating service) a try and being quite pleased with it compared to some of the other options out there, and I had a few comments from folks asking if I’d gotten any dates from there yet… which normally would have struck me as a little premature since I’d just signed up and created my profile just two weeks prior to writing about it.  But, to my extreme delight… the answer is, yes– I did indeed meet someone super-cool on OKCupid and made plans to meet!

OKC stars

Four or five days after I set up my profile I got notified by OKCupid that someone had given my profile 4-5 stars… and I didn’t even realize that you could give a profile stars!  I’d gotten a fair number of visitors since setting up my profile, but I suppose this is how someone kinda nudges you and says “hey, I kinda like what I see.”  Anyway, I went and checked out her profile, saw a picture of a lovely woman, and then began to read her profile.  It was surreal… so many things we had in common, she almost seemed too good to be true, but then I realized– I suppose this is what OKCupid is set up to do, match up people with similar interests.  My age, divorced, has kids, similar tastes in music and a love for live music, similar tastes in TV shows, movies, likes to go to festivals, the vibe from her profile felt so similar to mine, on and on… so I went ahead and gave her profile five stars back!

OKCupid then said something like “well, you’ve shown interest in each other… why not send a message?”  Well, why not indeed?  So I sent her a message… and then a little chat window popped up from her– I didn’t even realize we could chat on here!  So we chatted a bit before I had to go, then she answered my message, and then we went back and forth with the messages a few times, then exchanged email addresses and cell phone numbers, moved over to emails and texts and pretty much were in daily contact until one Thursday evening when I thought… well, she obviously likes my profile and likes corresponding back and forth… I realized it would probably be pretty easy to just coast along like that for a while, but… why was I on OKCupid to begin with?  The answer:  to find someone who might be interested in me as more than just friends, so I decided to go ahead and ask if she’d like to go on a date and meet on the following Monday.

She was up for a date, but said she had plans Monday.  She’s a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, and she had tickets to go see a documentary called Springsteen & I that was showing at this cool dinner & movie venue called CinéBistro where you can order a yummy dinner (or appetizers) and adult beverages you enjoy while you watch a movie in their big comfy chairs.  However, she didn’t have anyone yet to go with, so she asked if I wanted to go?  Sounded fun to me, I offered to pay for dinner and we called it a date.

A date!  The notion thrilled and scared me both.  I mean, it had to have been nearly 20 years since I’d gone on an official “date,” and even then I couldn’t really recall any specifics as to when that might have been.  Prior to my ex and I getting together many years ago, I was the master of the “hang out/pseudo-date” and very rarely was so bold to flat-out call it a date.  Is it any surprise all too many of those encounters ended with me in the Friend Zone?  This time I wanted to make it clear– while a new friend who shared as many interests as we did would certainly be very welcome in my life, my first intention was more than that.

The whole weekend I felt like I was vibrating at a different frequency from everyone around me, and was pretty sure there must have been a goofy smile on my face constantly.  I must have been super-annoying to my friends.  The undercurrent of nervousness was pretty much overwhelmed by my excitement though, and when Monday rolled around I could hardly concentrate on work waiting for the time when I could drive out to meet her.

I pondered what to say or do when we first met.  How novel and new this all was– we’d had this great connection online, gotten to know each other in a lot of ways already before we even met.  I mean, it was sort of a blind date, but we weren’t entirely blind– we’d seen each other’s pictures, read each other’s profiles, checked out each other’s questions, and sent a bunch of emails back and forth.  She was like an odd mix of a good friend I had the hots for and a total stranger.  What do I do when we meet?  Hugs or handshakes?  Do I kiss her goodnight?

I quickly realized I could overthink myself into a total tizzy, so I just settled down and tried to just roll with it.

We met about 30 minutes before the show outside the movie place, and then went inside and chatted a bit before they seated us.  Any sense of nervousness melted away almost immediately and I felt totally at ease with her.  The friendship we’d built on common interests and emails made it completely comfortable.  We ordered Cobb Salads and beer, and then watched the movie.  It was a really good film– lots of humor, great musical performances, and it left me regretting never taking the opportunity to see a Bruce Springsteen show before.  He’s obviously a great performer and musician.

Afterwards, even though it was quite late she was amicable to going around the corner to a nearby restaurant/bar and grabbing another beer or two to talk some more.  The time flew by and it grew quite late, and we finally headed back out to our cars.  We talked about getting together again soon… and there was a brief moment where I thought she might want me to kiss her goodnight!  Was I reading that right?  I certainly wanted to kiss her, but I felt a moment of panic when I realized just how long it had been since my last “first kiss” and worried my game was so off, so rusty, that I was misreading the signs.  I went in for the safe hug instead… and drove off kicking myself just a little bit.

Still, overall I thought the date went extremely well, and we texted each other when we got home saying how much we enjoyed meeting each other.  I was curious if some of the chemistry and flirtation that had been going on online would change a bit now that we’d met in person, but to my delight it did not.

We’ve gotten together twice since then, and we’ve discovered that it’s going to be a bit of a challenge finding time to spend together– she’s just as busy as I am and has a really full life of her own.  Which is fine– there’s no need to rush things, it’s been nice just getting to know each other bit by bit.

I will say that I’m now a big believer in OKCupid.  A program that can match me up with someone like her is alright in my book!

 

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I’ve written a couple times before about online dating (Online Chemistry, Research Paper), and while I’ve subscribed to a few dating sites, none of them have really led to any actual dates.  For one thing, most seem to demand a fee for service to actually interact with anyone more than just on a superficial level… which is fine, people are in business to make money.  And to be honest, I hadn’t really found anyone interesting enough who was also interested in me enough to make me want to pull the trigger and pull out my credit card to subscribe.  And so I had really stopped going to any of them for the past few months.

Recently two different podcasts I listen to brought up OK Cupid.  I’m not sure why I didn’t check into the site before — I seem to recall reading someone saying that it catered to a much younger crowd maybe? — but the folks I was listening to spoke very favorably about the site, so I took it as a sign maybe I should check them out.

I’m glad I did– I really like what I found there.  For one thing, there is no subscriber fee other than a “premium” version with a apparently a few more bells and whistles, additional search capacities, but the free side is still very functional and useful, letting you chat with whomever you want (provided they want to chat).  Much like the other sites, you set up a profile telling a little bit about yourself and what you’re looking for, load some pictures… but the part I really like about OKCupid are the questions it asks of you that drives its matching engine.  There’s a minimum amount of questions to answer to prime the matching engine — I think around 20 — but the questions are pretty basic stuff, yes/no or a few multiple choice, and then you get to choose which of the available choices are acceptable in your match, and then you get to rate how important the question is to you (ranked from Irrelevant to Mandatory).  There’s even a little text box where you can expand on your answer.

So you start with 20 or so… but there are thousands and thousands of questions to answer!  Some are silly, some are deep, some are dumb, but most are pretty fun.  I’ve answered over 300 questions so far and there are thousands more.  I could see spending all afternoon answering these questions.

OKC_Question

Here’s one I haven’t answered yet…  I think it’s a tough one.  I mean, first I thought about me — what do I want to do with my life?  I mean, I can think of goals, I can think of dreams… The question seems to suggest that a person is either driven or aimless, and I don’t personally feel I fall strictly into either slot but rather somewhere in between.  Who am I to judge someone else in that regard?  See, the questions are interesting!

Anyway, once you answer a bunch of questions, OKCupid’s matching engine figures out where you fall on various personality axes.  They even have a “personality” chart where you can either see how someone else compares to you along those axes, or how you line up among the average OKCupid user.  Here’s my chart and how I compare to the average:

OKC_Personality

On the one hand, this chart really flatters!  It says that I am (or rather, “might be” — hee, I like the legalese qualifier there), compared to the average, More Laid-Back, More Literary, More Cool, More Compassionate, More Kind… awww, shucks OKCupid you’re making me blush!  And it makes me wonder how in the world does a computer figure out how cool, compassionate or kind someone is from these questions.  See– interesting!

On the other hand though, the length of the bars from the average pushes me out to the margins, which could suggest it might be tough to find a good match out there.  Of course, questions and answers aren’t everything, and there’s a lot to be said for great profile essays and a willingness to chat to get to know each other better.

OKC_States Heat Map

I also got a cool email from OKCupid that sent out this Map of Love “heat map” — showing me the States with a higher density of matches.  As I have always suspected, my outlook on life tends to line up more with West Coasters and New Englanders… but it was nice to see Virginia at least in the right shade.  There just might be hope for me yet! 🙂

OKC_Countries

If I ever have the desire to look for love out of country, OKCupid was even kind enough to let me know where I should go, and where to avoid!

So I’m curious about other people’s experiences with OKCupid.  I’ve only been on two weeks but I really like what I’ve seen!

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My friend Molly pointed me to this great blog written by psychologist Kelly Flanagan and I felt like it most definitely deserved a spot here on My Ideal Woman.  Not only because it perfectly expresses what I’d want to tell my daughter once she gets a little bit older and interested in boys (and I might just print out a copy to give to her), but because the message is a powerful one not just to little girls but all the former little girls out there who find themselves tangled up with unappreciative guys.  I get angry when I hear about this sort of thing too, because it shouldn’t be a woman’s — or either person’s — job to keep your partner interested.  Trust in yourself that you are interesting, and that there are people out there who will find you endlessly interesting… and that you deserve nothing less.

Below is what he so beautifully wrote:

———————-

A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl
(About Her Future Husband)

Dear Cutie-Pie,

Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was “How to keep him interested.”

It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior.

And I got angry.

Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.” (more…)

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So the other day I was listening to the awesome podcast Why You Suck In Bed, Episode 73 “Cali Returns, Part 1.”  They had one of the original hosts, Cali Rose, back on for the night to talk about what she’d been up to, and along with the other original and current host Dr. Stacy, and new host Molly, it was a glorious romp through various sexual topics from the female perspective.

Dr. Stacy from the Why You Suck in Bed podcast

At one point the talk turned to nipple rings.  Dr. Stacy doesn’t have nipple rings and was asking the other two about them; Cali used to have nipple rings, and Molly currently has nipple rings.  Then came this exchange, which piqued my attention:

Dr. Stacy: Do you ladies not agree that the nipples are the most neglected body parts during sex?

Molly: YES!  It’s like you’ve got to force the guy to fucking suck on them.

Doctor Stacy:  It’s like “remember these??”

Molly went on to add another benefit of nipple rings is as a way to get guys to notice and pay attention to the nipples.

I have to admit to being flabbergasted.  What kind of lame guys are these women sleeping with that are ignoring their nipples?!  Women’s breasts are awesome, how can you neglect them when you’ve got a woman offering her body to you?  I mean, sure — there are all sorts of wonderful lady parts to devour that you can get a bit overwhelmed by the yummy choices, but c’mon– the nipples and breasts are cake! (more…)

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I was pretty stoked the other day when I saw on Facebook that The National  had booked Of Monsters and Men to play November 26th.  I mentioned recently that Florence + The Machine is one of the bands that I most want to see perform live right now; Of Monsters and Men was another one.  I’m so in love with their song “Little Talks” — the music, the vocals, the lyrics.  The lead singer’s got a beautiful voice that’s similar to Bjork but without trying too hard to be weird.  The other singer looks like a gnome.  I love that they have someone who plays accordian and people who play horns.  It’s just a total package of awesome.  Here’s a video of them performing it live:

Anyway, I went ahead and bought two tickets.  I don’t know who I’ll be taking with me yet but I’ve got time to hopefully find someone. 

I’M SO STOKED!!

Ahem.

Anyway… then this past Monday I get an email newsletter from the local rock station telling me about this big promotion they’re giving away called The Ultimate Ticket.  You and a friend get to go to Voodoo Experience featuring Green Day, Jack White, AWOLNATION, Silversun Pickups and MORE in New Orleans October 26th-28th.  As if a trip to New Orleans wasn’t sweet enough, but when I checked out Voodoo Experience  there’s like a zillion bands playing.

And if that wasn’t enough, the winner also gets tickets to every show at The National for a year– in the sweet VIP section!  I suspect that might make for pretty good date bait, eh?

Anyway, it sounded so good I set up alarms on my phone all week to make sure I turned on the radio and listened for my shot to win.  And Monday I heard the call-out, dialed and dialed and dialed… and I won on the first day!  No, I didn’t actually win The Ultimate Ticket– I qualified to win.  Once each day last week they qualified a person to be entered into a drawing to win The Ultimate Ticket.  The promotion is being sponsored by a local car company, and you can drop your name into a hat there at the car dealership, and I think they’re drawing some names from there to add to the mix.  I’m not sure how many people will ultimately qualify– I’m guessing it will be somewhere between 10 and 20 people — but then those people get some sort of prize (we’ll be getting a call this week to tell us what the prize is), and we get to go to “a big shindig” the radio station is holding, and they’ll pick the grand prize winner there.  I figure I’ve got a 5-10% chance of winning the big prize, which is much better odds than winning the lotto, right?

So… I’ve got two tickets to a “big shindig” held by the local rock station to go to, tickets to Of Monsters and Men, and the possibility of tickets to a big music festival in New Orleans… and no dates for any of ’em– yet.  Not a bad problem to have I suppose, though the trick is to find someone willing to both go out with a 45 year old man and also want to go see a new rock show and go to a rock station party?  If I’m lucky enough to win the trip to New Orleans it’ll be nice to have the problem of finding someone to go with me there 🙂

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Sometimes it boggles my mind to think about modern dating. The last time I was in dating mode was roughly 1995 or so. A lot has really changed since then, not least of which is the technology we have now.  Back then the internet was around but it was clunky and not really used for social networking too much.  Certainly no Facebook or online dating sites.  Cell phones were expensive and generally terrible reception, and there was no texting.  No sexting, no Skyping.  No smartphones that could take flirty pictures and send them to people instantly.  While I’ve certainly kept up with the times and the technology to some degree, I’m a babe in the woods incorporating it into sex and love.

For instance, there’s that commercial where that slimy guy goes on a date and is trying out various lines on the girl, and she keeps busting his lies by checking his Facebook right on the spot on her smartphone —obviously it’s a bit exaggerated, but Facebook (and blogging) offer ways for people to get to know each other quite quickly.  While there are downsides to this—obviously, you lose out some on the mystery and fun of the getting-to-know-you phase – but the upsides strike me as pretty significant.  For one thing, honesty is something that’s reinforced and rewarded.  Sure, you can cook up an online persona that’s different than your own and trick people into thinking you’re something that you’re not, but if you’re actually interested in interacting with people face to face, falsehoods and deceits are going to be discovered.  It’s just way too easy now to bust people in lies.  So while being honest might reduce the number of people who find you interesting on the surface and leave your inbox or chat screen quiet, the people who do find you interesting and connect with you are actually going to find you interesting for real.  For people who don’t have a lot of time to waste flailing around an ocean of Mr. or Ms. Wrongs looking for the Right, that seems quite helpful.

Take Facebook for instance.  My life is so ridiculously busy that I rarely have time to set aside for regular human interaction outside of work and kids.  But thank god for Facebook—it lets me keep in touch with the family and friends who mean a lot to me, and keep me connected and involved, even if it’s just pushing a “like” button or firing off a funny comment.  I imagine whenever I might actually have a woman in my life I’ll be able to carve out some actual face time for her, but the majority of time we’re going to be busy with our separate lives.  I suspect Facebook will help us stay connected and in touch during the times we are apart, and that seems pretty cool.

I’m guessing my smartphone will help do similar things, firing off quick texts just to let each other know they’re on our minds even if we don’t have time for a phone call.  Sending funny – or sexy – pics.  And I’ve read about having virtual dates via Skype which sound intriguing for when you can’t be together face to face.

I know so much about dating in 2012 is going to be really weird from my 1995 frame-of-reference, but I’m pretty excited to experience it!  So have any of you recently gotten back into dating and have had to get acclimated in how technology has impacted love and sex?

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