I have discovered a new species of the middle-aged single male, and if my discovery wasn't so frightening, I'd be really excited to report my findings. Unfortunately, what I have to say isn't good news for all the middle-aged single women out there searching for a forever partner. This public service announcement isn't just for women though; it's for middle-aged single men as well, because my discovery impacts both sexes in a not so very good way.
I call my new discovery "Cinderfella" -- the middle-aged single man with an insatiable hunger for intense emotional and physical intimacy. Cinderfellas want passion! They want fireworks! They want to feel alive! They want to be rescued from their loneliness wastelands! And they want it all by the second or third date. We often think that only women want to be swept off their feet within minutes of meeting someone new, but I've discovered that this is not so -- there are men out there, a whole lot of them in fact, who desire intense and immediate feet-sweeping as well...
I have been a member of a popular online dating service for a little over a year now, and I have to say that, overall, I'm pleasantly surprised by the quality of men I've met online. While I haven't yet met "the one," I remain hopeful that eventually, I will. Yet despite my generally positive experiences, I have come across a few (hundred) profiles that completely baffle me in a these-men-clearly-were-not-raised-with-sisters-and-can't-possibly-have-any-female-friends sort of way. Like the man who thought that selecting the username "Undertaker" was a good idea, or the guy who shot his photos in a room that clearly screamed "locked residential facility." Or, the childless man who expressed his deep desire to meet a woman with young children (preferably boys). One of my all-time favorites though was the man who spent half his profile narrative writing about how he was still deeply in love with his ex-wife, but since she wouldn't take him back, he was forced to find love online (yay us!).
Some of these profiles represent random oddities, the one-in-a-hundred profile with an eyebrow-raising narrative or a few gasp-worthy photographs. These profiles can actually be a wonderful source of entertainment, particularly if wine is involved. But what I find somewhat troubling are some rather disturbing trends I've noted in many men's profiles who seem to be quite normal otherwise. I do empathize, really. Many of us are dating novices, jumping back into the dating pool after years (sometimes decades) of marriage and child-rearing. We're all winging it to a certain extent, unsure of what the other sex is looking for, or how to get their attention. But these gaffes are so obvious that I think it's time someone opens a dialogue and asks the important question: Why? No really, why?
So I have a question for everyone who is middle-aged, single and dating. Just when was it that sexting after the first date became the new normal? At what point in our cultural evolution did it become normative practice to send a text the night after a first date, with the words "nipple" and "naked" in it? I'd really like to know the answer to this question. I am just burning with curiosity as to how this new dating ritual became mainstream so quickly.
I'd really like to know what middle-aged person was actually the first one to say "Hey, I think this is a really good idea. I mean, we've already shared a few glasses of wine and an appetizer, so why not indulge in some dirty sex talk with a naked photo chaser exchanged on our smart phones via an insecure wireless transport?" And then once all these middle-aged men and women who are engaging in the practice of early-courtship-sexting answer me, I'd like to say this in response: "Stop it! Stop it right now! All of you! I mean it! Stop it!"
When I first re-entered the dating world a little over a year ago after taking a few decade hiatus to raise my son, I expected to update my "rules for the dating road" handbook. But what I didn't expect was for so many of my dates to turn a seemingly harmless morning-after-the-first-date texting banter session into a graphic sexual encounter. Yet at least twice this month alone I had really nice dates with seemingly nice mainstream, professional men that quickly went south when initially cutesie, fun, and banter-y texting rapidly evolved into full-blown erotica before the second date!
I've noticed that a side effect of dating in midlife, particularly post-kids, far too often involves shining a flashlight on all of my perceived personality deficits and physical flaws. When I'm not dating or in a relationship I tend to be just fine with the fact that I'm not a big party person, that I have no legitimate hobbies, that I'm not very outdoorsy (my favorite outdoor activity is coming back inside), that I've never run a marathon, or that my chin is too small. Yet get me out on a first or second date, and suddenly I find myself fretting about every little shortcoming. I really should socialize more, read more, paint more, hike more, ski more, run more, bungee jump more, and really, how much could a chin implant cost?
I'm not sure why, but for some reason dating seems to evoke feelings I thought I'd parted ways with in middle school; that in some indiscernible way, I just don't measure up, I'm less than, I'm "other than."
Last year when I first started online dating with the serious intention of snagging a boyfriend, I had a series of really great first dates, but no second ones. I found this rather unsettling and wondered whether there was something perhaps undesirable about me that was causing this trend. This was before I developed my "online dating/car shopping" comparison theory, where online dating can create a disincentive to settling down with one person, since there's always a newer, shinier model rolling onto the lot. So I called a good friend, whom I've known since high school, and who knows me better than almost anyone else in the world, and asked for her opinion. "Tell me the truth, it is me? Maybe it's me. What's wrong with me? I think it must be me. Is it me?" She assured me that it was most certainly not me, and that she'd had similar experiences with online dating.
Why does dating seem to elicit these middle-school-spawned feelings of being different, less than, or "other than," where unreasonable self-scrutiny so quickly evolves into the slippery slope of thinking if I just had, were, could, was, wasn't...then life would be just grand?
About 18 years ago when my son was just two years old I went out for a wonderful dinner with my father. That may not seem like something worth writing about, but it was my first dinner out without my son since he was born, and so for that reason alone, it was a really big deal.
I had spent the last two years covered in baby food, baby spit, baby vomit, baby excrement, and well, just about every kind of goo associated with babyhood. And despite loving being a mom, I spent most of my time feeling tired, dirty, fat(ish), slug(ish), and was just plain wiped out. Mostly, I didn't feel like myself, and I was yearning to feel whole again, to feel attractive, to feel like me. Since I was a single mom I had no one to remind me that I was still a human being under all those layers of goo. So my father, no doubt having pity on me, offered to take me out to dinner, without my son in tow, and I joyously and graciously accepted.
He even offered to watch my son while I showered! I couldn't remember the last time I'd showered alone, and actually could take the time to blow dry my hair (the back as well as the front), and put on makeup. I then did the unimaginable and dressed in real grown-up clothes - not one stitch of Spandex adorned by body.
Ever since the Internet was created, I've been using it to dig up all sorts of information on everyone I know. I can't help it; it's in my nature. Well, let's admit it, we've all Googled our friends and neighbors, and creeped on others' Facebook pages. But in my case, it's worse, and at times I have worried that perhaps I've crossed the line and might be in serious need of an intervention.
In my defense, I have used my cybersleuthing powers for good plenty of times. For instance, I have diagnosed numerous friends and family with all sorts of psychological and physical disorders (for their own good). And once I tracked down the email address of a Vietnamese gang member who stole my debit card and used it to set up a music download site (thank you Register.com and WHOIS.com), and then signed him up for every "verse of the day" website I could find (figured he could use some spiritual guidance).
I found cybersleuthing to be very handy when I started online dating. We all know the dangers of meeting someone on the Internet. We've heard story after story of people falling in love with a virtual mirage -- a handsome young man turns out to be a fat old guy living in his mother's basement, sitting in front of a computer with his shorts around his ankles. Or a beautiful young woman turns out to be a fat old guy living in in his mother's basement, sitting in front of a computer with his shorts around his ankles.
Since venturing into the world of online dating, I’ve perused hundreds (okay, maybe thousands) of online profiles.I find myself consistently baffled by what I find in many men’s online profiles. (Picture me scratching my head while cocking my head slightly to the side as I squint at my laptop screen). So, I’ve taken the liberty of writing a generic letter to all men who are searching for quality women online with the hope that they will clean up their collective acts, and then we can all get on with the business of finding our one true love.
Dear Mr. Online Dater,
Since you are trying to attract women, not men, I am baffled by the number of fish photos I see on your profile. I do not care, (nor do I believe most women care), that you caught a 16 inch smallmouth bass. Delete these photos, now.
A brief mention of your love of sports is fine, but again, you are attempting to appeal to women, not your buddies, thus boasting that you spend every single weekend watching sports, and selecting the username “Iluvdabears13,” “#1Hawksfan,” or “Cubbies4life,” sends the wrong message, plain and simple.
Also, posting 13 photos of the last White Sox game you attended without you in any of them doesn’t appeal to me, or most women I’d guess.
Number one rule of online dating: know your audience.I can’t say it any clearer than this:
Do not post any selfies looking into your bathroom mirror, period.
Seeing a man standing next to an open toilet, or even a toilet paper dispenser is an immediate turn off.
Take a selfie the way that everyone else in the world does, by selecting the reverse camera view on your smartphone, extending your arm, pointing and clicking.
I recently decided to join the ranks of millions of midlife online daters and joined the world of Match.com.I was more than a little excited (as well as somewhat nervous) about the prospect of finding someone to date (after more than a decade of self-imposed “I’m-busy-raising-my-son” dating hiatus). Before I could find my one true love though, I had to create my personal online profile. And because it’s been years since I really thought of myself in any objective way, describing myself in a manner that would 1) accurately represent who I really am, and 2) attract suitors, was no easy task.
On most online dating websites the profile consists of a series of practical questions, such as basic demographic information like age, marital status, education level, cultural background, religion and several questions that allow a narrative response where members get to expound on what their friends have told them about themselves.
So I poured myself a glass of wine, and settled in for what I thought was going to be about 5 or 10 minutes of tedium before I got to the juicy part—picking the man of my dreams.
Read the rest on Elephantjournal.com
When my son left for college this fall, I decided it was time to consider the possibility of dating again.I made this decision because I’m lonely (I know it’s very unfashionable to admit this); whenever I see cute couples walking down the street holding hands I find myself tempted to run them off the road with my car; and my most compelling reason, I don’t want to die alone.
I’d been so busy working full-time, raising my son as a single parent, and going to school that I just didn’t have time to give dating much serious consideration, but when I found myself alone after so many years of controlled chaos I realized that I had a choice—I could passively allow life to happen to me (i.e., gain 50 lbs. while laying on the couch watching BravoTV), or I could take proactive control of my life by grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns, and carefully and considerately, craft the life I want to live.
And since I am petrified that the inevitability posed by Nora Ephron’s character Harry to his new friend Sally, (When Harry Met Sally) may actually be my reality:
“Suppose nothing happens to you. Suppose you lived out your whole life and nothing happens, you never meet anybody, you never become anything, and finally you die in one of those New York [aka Chicago] deaths which nobody notices for two weeks until the smell drifts into the hallway,”
I decided to take the plunge that millions of other adults in midlife are taking, and I joined Match.com.
Read the rest here on Elephantjournal.com
Welcome to my Blog!
This is a blog for middle-aged women, like me, who want to live a life of increased authenticity, and greater well-being.