Tag Archives: Online Dating

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.

 

How to Sign Up for eHarmony by Accident

img_2839A sensible woman would give herself plenty of time to heal from her previous relationship before beginning to date again. But that whole sensible, measured, patient thing is just so hard for me.

Which is how I end up, kind of by accident, signing onto a dating website far too soon. I don’t mean to. I am under the impression that I can fill out the personality profile, find out some cool information about myself, and then wait a while before actually signing up.

Apparently that’s not how this website works.

The minute I hit “submit” on the personality quiz, the site starts generating matches for me. Within minutes, nine men can see my incomplete profile. This, of course, sends me into a complete panic. First of all, I have no intention of signing up just yet. I am not ready!

And second, I don’t have any fabulous profile pictures to post.

Can you tell I’m a Pisces?

Here I am, once again, swimming off in opposite directions. The wise Sally would have refrained from taking the personality quiz simply because it was connected to a dating site. The wise Sally wouldn’t have been anywhere near a dating site. The wise Sally would have spent the evening writing in her journal, soaking in a bubble bath and reflecting on her growth.

The impulsive Sally, however, has different plans.

After I stop panicking, I realize that there is an easy solution: I’ll just hide my profile until I’m ready to date again. I spend an hour poking around on the site before I come to the horrifying conclusion that I cannot hide here. And worse, I am starting to get messages.

Another hour and I know I need back up.

“Kira, I need your help.” The minute the Queen of All the Internet Dating answers the phone, I start talking.

“I accidentally signed up for eHarmony tonight and I don’t know how anything works. It is way different than Plenty of Fish!”

“Accidentally?” she laughs.

“It’s a long story. But you need to explain to me how to hide my profile.”

“On eHarmony? That, my friend, is a nearly impossible task.”

I groan. “Can you at least explain this place to me? What am I supposed to do after someone sends me questions? I answered them, but it looks like he’s sent more and I don’t know how to access them.”

“No, no, no,” she says. “After you answer his questions, you’re supposed to send him some questions. And, really, most people do that right away.”

“Oh no! I answered his questions an hour ago. I didn’t send him any back. Maybe I should send him a message and apologize.”

“No! You’d have to request personal communication and you don’t want to do that too soon.”

“This is so complicated! And what am I supposed to do with the ‘icebreakers’? I don’t understand what any of these things mean. Someone sent me one. And Kira, you should see him. I mean, he might be a lovely guy, but I have to be honest, I can’t imagine ever dating somebody so unkempt. You should see his hair. I can’t even describe how bad his hair is. It’s just the very worst comb-over you’ve ever seen.”

“Yeah,” Kira sighed, the weight of her dating years in her voice. “You know, the thing about a lot of men is that they just don’t get the concept of ‘League.’

“I’m not following…”

“You know. League. As in you and I are so not in the same league.”

“Ha! You should see that hair. It’s unbelievable.”

“Oh, honey. You don’t know what I’ve seen.”

“I know. I’m sorry. And I need your help! What am I supposed to with these guys? I don’t want to be mean. I sent ‘Bad Hair Man’ a smile. You know, polite. Not interested, thanks.”

“Oh no! This is not good! Sally, a smile is like a wink. It says ‘I like the look of you.’ Do not send any more smiles!”

“I am so bad at this!

“You’ll figure it out,” Kira laughs.

“And here’s one more question. Are these guys all using their real names? It’s so different than Plenty of Fish that way. It was always a laugh getting messages from The Chick Whisperer and Sexy Cougar Hunter. It’s not as much fun to get a message from Bob.”

“Yeah. It’s different. Most people use their own names.”

“Did you, when you started?”

“Uh. No.” Kira sounds a little uncomfortable.

“So what kind of a name did you use?” I am so bummed already that I can’t be Serendipity or Delicious.

Kira pauses before she answers me. “I don’t really know how to tell you this. When I first signed up, I was Sally.”

Now it’s my turn to pause. “What?”

“Yeah. Sorry. I didn’t want to use my own name and I kind of wanted to channel your good dating energy.”

I’m laughing by now. “So what you’re telling me is that I will be the second Sally from our little town to show up on this site in two years! What a coincidence!”

Kira is laughing too. “On the bright side, I’ll be able to screen all your dates.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, we’re two professional women in our forties. We both live out this way and have kids. We’re both petite brunettes. Chances are that you will get paired up with some of the same guys I dated when I was there.”

“I’m trying to see how that is good.”

“There were some good guys. Just not right for me. You know what they say about one man’s junk.”

“No! Stop!” We’re both in hysterics.

“Listen,” Kira says. “My advice is just to keep a really low profile. Stay off the website. Don’t respond to anyone just yet. Unless they’re really cute of course.”

 

An excerpt from An Alphabet of Men

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!

 

Dating Mr. Wrong

img_2839It’s hard to find the right man when you keep dating all the wrong ones. But choosing Mr. Wrong was my specialty. In fact, if I can claim any expertise in the dating realm, it’s in how to consistently choose men who are completely unsuitable.

You’d think that a single, suburban soccer mom would be out on the dating websites looking for a single, suburban soccer dad, somebody like me, with parenting responsibilities, a garage full of camping gear, and at least a passing familiarity with Sponge Bob Square Pants.

But you’d be wrong.

This suburban soccer mom almost exclusively dated men without children; men whose garages were filled with sports cars and motorcycles, who spent their weekends golfing or sailing, and who were planning vacations decidedly more exotic than a week tenting at Rathtrevor Beach.

In retrospect, it seems painfully obvious that my strategy was misguided — okay, maybe delusional is a better word. But at the time, I honestly didn’t see it. Over and over, I’d find myself drawn to the adventurers, the playboys, the ones who promised fun, fun, fun! The single dads? I didn’t even consider them. Too boring.

I’ve been thinking about this over the last couple of weeks, when we’ve had everyone here for Christmas and hosted one family event after another. I’m so glad I finally came to my senses, stopped running away from the single dads, and found myself a man who is fun and adventurous, but who also values family as much as I do. As we cooked together, spent time with the kids, and kicked back and relaxed when the kids were away, I kept thinking, “Yep. This is exactly who I was waiting for.”

The Harley-riding, para-gliding, world-traveling playboys? Definitely alluring. But in the end, not what I really wanted.

I sort of wish I’d figured that out that after five dates, and not after fifty.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Sally