Tag Archives: Dating Stories

Queen of All the Internet Dating

A few readers have asked me about my friend Kira, The Queen of All the Internet Dating. How’s she doing? Is she still dating? Did she end up with the Captain of the Football Team?

No, she did not. The Captain, it turned out, had issues.

I’m happy to report, though, that after another round on Plenty of Fish, Kira has found a good man. She’s in Hawaii with him right now, as a matter of fact. Poor thing. Hawaii, instead of Victoria in a January deluge.

I am really happy for Kira, but I have to admit that I miss her dating stories. By comparison, my experiences seem pretty tame. I guess there was Lawrence of the Five White Evils. But Kira could pull off that kind of date once a week. She had a knack for finding crazy characters like the Horny Baptist and the cat-breeding, recovering crack addict.  The closest I came was the guy who drove around with a blow-up cat.

And the selfies Kira would receive! Men she’d never even met would send her thoughtfully composed portraits of their penises. Regularly. In all my time dating, I didn’t get a single penis selfie. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did receive one, but it was charming. A man I knew visited Florence and while there, sent me an email titled “Naked Selfie.” He’d attached a photo of Michelangelo’s David.

These days, Kira and I have other things to discuss. For example, what to do with gifts from ex-boyfriends. Some things are easy to part with. But the expensive watch? The bracelet from Tiffany’s? These are a little more problematic. On the one hand, we don’t want these reminders of the men from our pasts. But on the other hand — Tiffany’s. I know. The best plan we’ve come up with so far is to trade bling. It’s a workable solution.

But I’m not sure about some of the other things she’s looking to unload. All I can say is that if you’re in the market for a pair of leopard-print restraints, call me.


Dating to My Own Algorithms

img_3051It’s funny how quickly life changes. For the last two years, I’ve paid virtually no attention to anything in the media about dating. Now, once again, I read and listen to everything with rapt attention.

Last week, my friend Helen handed me a newspaper clipping about mid-life dating. The most important tip? Dye your hair. This is significant as Helen has opted to grow older gracefully and has let her hair turn naturally grey. It looks beautiful on her. Recently, a second friend also opted to go grey. On her, the grey is handsome. But all along, I have been vehemently resistant to the idea.

Turns out, it was the right thing. Because, seriously, how could I be back out on the dating scene without dark, glossy locks. My hair stylist’s livelihood is safe with women like me. Not only am I vain, but also, at some point I’d like to have sex again. With someone who is not 87.

Just before Valentine’s Day, I listen to a CBC Radio special on online dating. A month ago, I wouldn’t have paid any attention. Now that I’m single, however, I listen to every word, even taking a few notes throughout the program.

Here’s the most interesting thing I learn: apparently the online dating market is now so enormous that it can support all kinds of niche sites. There are dating sites for seniors, for lesbians, and my particular favourite, a dating site for Jewish mothers who are looking for matches for their sons and daughters.

I am not making this up. There really is a site called The J Moms, a place where Jewish parents post profiles of themselves and make connections with other like-minded Jewish families. Once the Jewish mothers establish a relationship, they trade profiles of their offspring. Presumably the offspring are aware that this is all happening.

I’m trying to imagine a prospect more terrifying than having my mother involved in my dating life. I can’t really think of anything.

So, since I’m not prepared to have my mother act as a matchmaker, I’ll have to trust in my own abilities to find a suitable man. I’ve done it before. I’m pretty sure I can do it again. And I can take heart in knowing that the dating sites are devising ever more complicated algorithms to match me with the man of my dreams.

I can attest to the fact that these algorithms work. The first time Griff and I broke up, I signed up for Plenty of Fish and put together a new profile. It took the site exactly two days to find me my perfect match. I recognized the photo of Griff right away.

It was one I’d taken of him.

Of course, I was quite indignant to discover that he was already dating again. How dare he! He should have been at home drinking scotch and listening to “Ain’t No Sunshine when She’s Gone.” And he definitely shouldn’t have been using a picture I took of him!

Eventually I remembered that I was on the same site, probably using photos he took of me. After having refused to speak to him for more than a month, I contacted him and we ended up back together.

But that’s not going to happen this time. I am not getting back together with Griff and I am not getting back on a dating website anytime soon. I’m hopeful, though, that when I’m ready, those algorithms will match me up with a man who I can love, a man who shares my interests and values; hopefully he’ll also be taller than me and not a homicidal maniac.

An excerpt from An Alphabet of Men

Now in Paperback!

img_4936The paperback version of An Alphabet of Men: Dating My Way from Adam to Zak is now available! I held the first copy of my book today — and I’m still deliriously excited about it! Even though I’ve seen my memoir about online dating for sale on Amazon, downloaded the book in Kindle form, even read my first five-star review, it was only today, as I held my book, that I truly felt like an author. And when I was asked, for the first time, to sign a copy? So cool! I’m sure that there are lots of long-time authors who see book-signing as an ordeal, a necessary evil of marketing. But not me. Today, I’m choosing to celebrate. I’m choosing delight!

If you’ve been waiting for the book to come out in paperback, it’s here now!


A is for Adam

fullsizeoutput_3b0I arrive a few minutes early to the coffee shop, feeling sick with anxiety. It’s pouring with rain outside and I’ve made a breathless sprint for shelter, mostly to preserve my hair, which I’ve painstakingly straightened. The clothes will dry. The make-up can be retouched. But the hair? Once it’s wet, all hope is lost. Really, I should have waited until May to start dating again.

I’ve spent hours agonizing over what to wear for this half-hour coffee date. I’ve decided on polished and professional, given that I’m meeting Adam after work, and so I’m wearing a cute blouse, a pencil skirt, and high-heeled boots. The plan is to look good in an effortless sort of way. Adam does not need to know about the agonizing. Nor does he need to know on this first date how truly vain I really am. I’m running my fingers through my still-dry locks when Adam walks in.

In person, he’s good looking, with a great smile, and a rugged build. He is not a tall man, but he has the most impressive set of biceps I’ve encountered in a while. He displays these biceps when he pulls up his sleeve to show me the tattoos on his arms: a Canadian flag, a set of stylized Hawaiian turtles, and a ’66 Mustang, just like the one in his garage. His arms are beautiful: in fact, he might be worth a second date just for his body. He’s funny too, and wealthy and adventurous. Really, what’s not to like?

I’m a little uncomfortable when he places his Porsche key fob on the table between us. It’s clear he wants me to notice it, to ask him about his car. I don’t. And then throughout the conversation, he drops multiple references to his wealth, describing his frequent holidays to Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean, places he escapes to when the island starts to feel too small for him. He even tells me how much he paid for the franchises he operates. He is under the impression that money is the way to a woman’s heart. And though I joke about being a trophy wife, the truth is that money just isn’t that important to me. The last man in my life had lots of money and at first I loved the way he showered me with gifts and drove me around in his expensive little convertible. But eventually, his preoccupation with accumulating more wealth became a source of tension between us.

Adam, of course, is unaware of this, and rattles on nervously, telling me about his expensive hobbies and many investments.

“So, yeah, that’s it, really. That’s me in a nutshell.” He looks uncomfortable. He’s fidgeting and having trouble keeping eye contact. I don’t know if it’s something about me that’s making him anxious or whether it’s just the whole first coffee date thing he’s struggling with. On paper, he’s a man with everything going for him. I’m not sure why he isn’t more relaxed and confident.

And I wonder how I’m coming across to him. I’m nervous too and seriously out of dating practice. I’ve forgotten how prepared I need to be, how ready I need to be to pick up the conversation. But even as I’m processing all this, I’m focussing on one key thing: he is not for me.

I know this with absolute certainty, and within fifteen minutes of meeting him. But I’m not disappointed. I’m relieved. It is so good to know that I haven’t lost my judgement, that I can trust my instincts, and trust I’m not going to end up in a relationship unless it’s just right.

And so in early March, I find myself penning my first Thanks but no thanks email:

Hi Adam,

Thank you so much for coffee today. I enjoyed your sense of humour and appreciated your honesty. And – I have to say – those are impressive biceps. Honestly, I’m surprised you’re still single. But I don’t think it’s going to work out for us. I’m an island girl, and I need someone who wants to be here, who isn’t trying to escape this place.

I wish you well, Adam.


Lawrence of the Five White Evils

img_3051One of my favourite stories is about Lawrence of the Five White Evils. Lawrence had a Zen-like aura, a laid-back, totally chill approach to life and to dating. At least that was what I had decided, based on his brief profile and the occasional messages he’d send, messages that would breeze into my inbox weeks apart.

“Hey! Sitting here sipping on some rosehip tea and breathing in the divine spirit of this amazing afternoon. Hope you’re having an equally sacred day.”

I’d get these messages after I’d rushed home from work, after I’d raced my three boys around from one after-school activity to the next, after I’d cooked dinner, cleaned the kitchen and put everyone to bed. It was hard to identify anything particularly sacred or divine in my day. But his messages kept floating in from time to time.

Then one day, he invited me out for coffee. Actually he suggested herbal tea.

“Hey! I’m going to be out in your neck of the woods tomorrow afternoon. Not sure if you’re around, but it would be great to meet you. Is there a quiet coffee shop somewhere out that way where we could grab a pot of tea?”

Normally, I didn’t meet a guy for coffee unless we’d been chatting regularly and I had a pretty good sense of who he was. I hardly knew anything about Lawrence except that he was deeply interested in holistic healing and was heading out soon to attend a month-long spiritual retreat. But there was something so laid back, so flaky, so harmless about Lawrence, that against my better judgment, I agreed to meet him.

He strolled into the coffee shop completely serene and completely oblivious, it seemed, to the fact that he’d already kept me waiting for ten minutes. I was already feeling deeply not serene. “Hey!” he drawled, a beatific smile spreading across his face. He dropped his lanky body down into an armchair across from me and gazed over at my latte. “You’ve got a drink already. I’ll just be a sec while I get some tea.”

I watched him head to the counter to order. He was dressed in all natural, probably organic, and very rumpled clothes, and he was wearing Birkenstocks. Now I love my Birkenstocks. Don’t get me wrong. But I had the distinct impression that he might only own earthy looking sandals. “He’s heading off on a spiritual retreat,” I reminded myself. “You’re just having coffee. Nobody says you have to marry the guy.”   (This last part, by the way, was one of my dating mantras: it’s just coffee; nobody says you have to marry the guy. I found that it was a very effective way to talk myself down and avoid bolting half way through a meeting).

As I watched Lawrence return to our corner of the coffee shop, a pot of tea and mug in hand, I took a deep breath, recovering from my pique at his tardiness. I smiled my most charming smile and said, “So tell me about your retreat. It sounds fascinating.”

Yep. I’ve got the bright and shiny coffee-date thing down cold.

So Lawrence told me about his retreat and his commitment to yoga and how he was meditating an hour every morning. I smiled and nodded, adding a brief comment here and there, well aware that retreats and hour-long daily yoga sessions were not ever going to be a part of my single-mother reality and wondering why I had agreed to meet a man who was clearly so unsuitable for me.

Taking my polite nods and comments as encouragement, Lawrence moved on from meditation to whole foods. It took me a while to notice that his serenity was, almost imperceptibly turning to quiet conviction. But as I reached for my latte, I saw his eyes narrow. “Most people do not understand at all about The Five White Evils,” he said, looking at my drink meaningfully. I felt myself sit up a little straighter, my dating hackles activated. I’m not really one for calling anything evil. Especially with those implied capital letters. His voice gained power, at first in a way that was a little embarrassing. “They don’t know how dangerous it is to consume milk,” he declared. As I put my latte back on the table, he continued. “Milk is poison,” he stated, his eyes bulging just a little.

Drawing away from him, I smiled gently and said in my calmest voice, “Everything in moderation, right?”

I don’t think he even heard me. “And white sugar,” he declared, “is even worse.” Now a vein on his neck was bulging and his voice was reaching an alarming volume. At this point, I’d pulled as far away from him as I could and was holding on to the arms of my chair. “People don’t understand the danger of consuming salt!” The quiet conviction was fast approaching hysterical fanaticism.

And I was pushing myself out of my chair, smiling in a way that I hoped would assure him that this whole conversation was really cool with me, but that I’d suddenly remembered a pressing prior engagement.

He didn’t seem to notice. “And white flour!” He was shouting now.

I’ve always regretted that I didn’t have the courage to stick around to find out what the Fifth White Evil was. Rice? Cauliflower? Cocaine? It’s been nagging at me for years.

So that was Lawrence, and if there is any wisdom for you to take away from my crazy coffee date, it’s this: screen your dates carefully, people! Screen your dates and always have a rock-solid excuse for why you can’t possibly see somebody a second time.

About two years after I met Lawrence of the Five White Evils for that ill-fated latte, he tracked me down through my work and sent me another breezy email. I promise you, I am not making any of this up.

“Hey! Sorry not to get back to you sooner, but I really had fun meeting you and wondered if you’d like to get together for another cup of tea?”

Two years later?

When I showed the message to my girlfriend, who had heard the story about Lawrence of the Five White Evils, she laughed, and then gave me some excellent advice: “Tell him you’re married and are expecting twins.”

Sometimes I’m all for a little White lie.