Monday, February 18, 2019

Dating Sites and Proximity Settings

Dating.  It's a tricky thing.  When I was younger and living in the glorious '80s, we had house telephones, but no internet, cellphones, or certainly dating apps.  

The closest thing we had to dating sites was receiving a handwritten note in class that read, "Check YES or NO, Do you like So-and-So?"

We girls would usually respond because, let's be honest, guys wanted to know we would say 'yes' before they'd ask us out.  Right girls?

By the time a guy and a girl finally talked in "person," a behind-the-scenes-matchmaking team had made sure there was at least compatibility.

Dating sites are supposed to work like that.  Instead of writing in a spiral notebook all about my dream guy while daydreaming in class, I now can fill out-(depending on the site) an extensive questionnaire, give my responses, search specific parameters and wait for the behind-the-scenes algorithm to do its thing.

One parameter that's troubled me is "proximity."  

Let me explain.  Where I grew up there were two HUGE high schools directly down the street from each other.  In students' eighth grade year their names were entered into a lottery, and wahlah, you were picked for one of the high schools.  It was weird because once high school rolled around and you boarded the bus, it felt like you were headed to your neighborhood school, but some students got off at one high school and others rode to the next school no more than 1/4 mile away.  We shared a football stadium, sports facilities, and buses. 

Your next door neighbor could literally go to a different high school than you.

It wasn't uncommon to have a boyfriend at the other school, because you'd see him each day when you got home, and while your homecoming mum might don the colors of the rival school, he was still the same guy from your neighborhood.

Contrastingly, when you got to high school, there were students from all of the district's other middle schools, and while your friends may be in close proximity to you at school, they could live several miles away, which made it difficult for your parents to drive you to/from dates to the mall with your "person," those awkward 9th and 10th grade years before you could drive.

Now, in 2019, I have access to dating sites that want to know how far away I'll date someone, and the answer is, "I don't know."  

I'm in a life stage with my children (grown but experiencing their "firsts" as young adults) that I can't and won't miss.  

Will I ever relocate for someone?  Maybe, but that isn't right now.  Because of this, I've set my "dating radius" to 25-40 miles, or whatever is the lowest a site will let me narrow my geographical preferences.

It's obvious that some of the "matches" I receive aren't filtered solely on my settings, because there are some nice guys who are MILES away, yet I swipe left.  Why?  My kids are more important right now than a potential match.  Period.

Could I lose my evenings talking to nice guys?  Yes!  I did it when I was a teenager much to the chagrin of my mother who had to ask me to get off the phone a lot.  As an adult, I have additional responsibilities and relationships I want to maintain.  My kids, my family, my friends, kind and wise neighbors.  I should maintain these.

The dating sites aren't happy with my decision to keep a close radius, and I get it.  

They want me to "pay" or "renew" or "stay engaged," so I don't throw my hands up in frustration and walk away. 

These sites are passive aggressively--in the most gentle way--telling me that I might be "too specific." 

When first confronted with this, I had self doubt.  

"Am I being too specific?" 

"Should I broaden my range?"

"Should I swipe right even though he lives over an hour away?"  

And the answers are no and maybe and I don't know.

For indecisiveness moments like this, I go to my tribe of elders: the Wise Neighbors, coworkers, my kids, and my gut intuition.

And they all say, don't do it.

It's a slippery slope saying "yes." 

 Could wider boundaries yield better results? 

 Maybe, but I'm just not in a place to uproot and move for a Mr. Happily Ever After, and I'm not in a place where I want to drive for hours round trip to meet someone. My time is too valuable.  Too fleeting.  I'm not in a place where I have time to Facetime or Skype or spend hours on the phone. 

I'm just not.

So, maybe I'm not in a place to date? 

Maybe my geographical boundaries are too specific to protect my heart?

Who knows.

Will I widen my search someday? Perhaps, but the two men I've fallen for so far in my 40-something years, I found just living my life.   

Will I love someone one day who could uproot me and feed my wanderlust to go anywhere?  

Time shall tell, but for now, the time I have is best spent in my little circle of the world.  Knowing what I know.  Loving who I love.  

I should trust that there is a great guy within my search parameters who isn't willing to compromise his 'must have' list either. 

And that is okay.  

Even if the dating sites aren't happy about it.

Monday, February 11, 2019

How to Get A "Meet Me" on Plenty of Fish

Hello, World!

On a recent Sunday morning, I checked emails, and reached the end of the internet with the day's news when I got a computer-generated "Meet Me" about a guy who was outside of my geographical preference.  

When you're my age and looking at some dating app profiles, you can only see a tiny picture (note to self--buy a magnifying glass), so I clicked on his profile to see what he looked like, and when I did...

...I laughed by BUTT off in church.  

My laugh was so-loud-it-could-not-be-contained, and I got shushed by a little old lady because I was laughing during the announcements. 

(Yes, I was on a dating website during church 😇, but it was during the announcement portion of the service and I have horrible ADHD and forgot to get the weekly bulletin to follow along, so don't be too tisk-tisk, you churchy people.)

What made me laugh so hard?  

It wasn't his picture--nice looking guy.  It was his username!

The profile name for this individual was BoxedWineDeliveryGuy--every Two Buck Chuck drinking girl's dream!  

I wrote something generic like "Best Username EVER," and then he told me this story!

And his bio was even funnier!  Reading it was like going to a standup comedy club.  (BoxedWine swears that all the stuff he wrote really happened to him.)  

Humor!  The dating world needs more of it.  If you're funny, let people know!  Get creative with your username!  You may end up with some fun text exchanges with a funny guy who tells great stories.

You may meet someone who is a better person TODAY because he was "once fired for letting too many burnt chips go by at the Chip Factory where he worked, but ironically he works with different kinds of chips now."

Yes, that story is in his bio!  Single ladies, find BoxedWineDeliveryGuy on POF and read his bio.  It is comedic gold! 

Until next time!  Keep believing and looking and opening boxes as you are ready.  :)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Some Reasons Not To Swipe Right (Or Brutally Honest Reasons You Should Swipe Left)

I keep reading all of these dating bios about people who are seemingly perfect.  

I haven't ventured on the ladies' side to do proper recon, but I do know that I must be brutally honest or at least not have the same profile as a lot of women, because behind "great smile" (my number one compliment) from people who take the time to message me, the next one I get is "I loved reading your bio."

Well, I'm pretty transparent in my life.  I am what many consider to be an "over publisher" on Facebook, but I don't care.  I've been careful to not share too much in the cyber dating world because there are some crazy people out there, but when is too much too much?  When is not enough not enough?  

I have friends who are really private, and family members and other people I care about who are really private, and I respect their experiences with me.  

I don't get many "MOM!  Why did you post that?" messages from my kids anymore, so I'm either better with discretion, they've accepted they can't change me, or they are too hip to actually read what I post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.  😂

But Dating World, this is the list that I want people to read--a list that in the normal dating world would be disclosed over time.


  • I fall in love easily.
  • I don't really like talking on the phone
  • I am not a great cook, and I measure everything "just so" when I do cook.  I can burn packaged tortillas with ease and set off a smoke detector if I'm not careful.
  • I don't venture out much with dining out, but I'm willing to try new things.
  • I believe in love at first sight, or the need for a "spark."
  • I care a lot about what certain people think of me and not at all about what other people think.
  • It BOTHERS me when I make people mad.
  • I hate getting in trouble.
  • I can be extremely stubborn.
  • I don't like washing my clothes until I'm down to my last pair of underwear.
  • I'll rewash clothes because they're wrinkled instead of ironing them.
  • Sometimes I'll put dirty dishes in the dishwasher if I don't want to empty the clean load.
  • I was a teen mom, so I'm "situationally old" for my age of 46.  
  • I'll be a grandmother at 46--my name is gonna be Sassy.
  • I can fall asleep easily but wake up often at night.
  • I am prone to worrying about stuff that hasn't happened. My Wise Neighbors remind me to live in the moment.
  • I have skeletons in my closet.  The kind of skeletons that friends and coworkers make me tell people at parties to see if my story can "top theirs."
  • I love my job but sometimes it consumes me.
  • I keep a clean house but have many junk drawers.
  • There are probably no fewer than forty-six pens in my purse.
  • My daughter said to me one time that there were so many water bottles in my car that I was like the little girl from the movie SIGNS.  
  • My vehicle is messy.  When I clean it out I always resolve to "never let it get like that again," but it happens. Again.  Every. Time.
  • I love Jesus but when I stub my toe, I'm gonna say a bad word.
  • I'd rather build a house or work on a community service project than "go to church" on a Sunday right now in my life and I'm okay with that.
  • I take a little leap to get into bed just in case there really are childhood monsters.  
  • I think flowers are a waste of money, but I have saved the first thing that anyone I've dated has bought me.  (Yes, I have an empty Dr. Pepper bottle stashed away because I'm a hopeless romantic.)
  • I went through a MESSY divorce. I'm better, but I never want to experience pain like that again.
  • I have an arbitrary "goal" to be married by the time I'm 50.
  • I can't dance.  Like I suck at it, and I don't think I will ever learn how.  I'm the friend to take to a club/bar who will "watch the stuff" while everyone hits the dance floor.  I'm your Willard from FOOTLOOSE.
  • I can binge-watch TV shows like nobody else's business.
  • I hate exercising. Hate it.  It's a necessary evil and I thank God that I have a good metabolism.
  • I'm super pale and a firm-believer in sunscreen before fun activities.
  • There are things in my pantry that expired a long time ago.
  • When I go to the grocery store I often buy things I don't need because I forgot to check the supply level at home.  This is why I currently have SEVEN jars of peanut butter.  Needing to make some no-bake cookies?  I'm your girl for free peanut butter.
  • I don't mind cleaning (thanks to the magic of Flylady) but vacuuming stairs totally blows.  It used to be a chore I delegated to my kids when they lived at home.
  • I own FOURTEEN denim jackets and would buy more if I found one I liked. I am NOT Marie Kondoing my denim jackets.  They ALL spark joy.   
  • I roll my eyes.
  • I am blunt.  My kids told me that.
I am probably a million other things that should make you say no and swipe left, but those things that are swipe-rightable?  They are there too.  And its harder for me to tell you those things because?   

That's the thing.  Are we too hard on ourselves?  Are we our own worst critic?  If WE don't love ourselves how can we be prepared to let others love us?

My Wise Neighbors told me the other day that they hope that one day I'll see myself the way others see me.  They had to bring me tissues because what they said hit home.  Maybe I need to look inward and turn this list of "Reasons Not" into "Reasons To."

What do you think?  Are we too hard on ourselves?  Did growing up to be "humble and kind" hurt our insides?  My MIND understands what Wise Neighbors told me, but my HEART doesn't believe them.  Just yet.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Never Scorn a Woman Online. She Will Get Revenge...

I have a full-time job.  Today, I was busy.  No time for lunch.  No time to check personal emails or messages or update my friends about yesterday's online dating stories.

Driving home, I plugged in my phone--battery life was on "low power mode," and I started getting notifications galore.  When I came to a "safe and complete stop," I checked my phone.  I had some dating app "likes." 

Confession.  I don't like to deliver bad news. So....

I'm struggling with how to respond to "online guys" who aren't my type.
  • Some have the most beautifully written profiles, but I don't find the writer attractive.
  • Some guys ARE attractive, but their profile prose doesn't exist, is arrogant, too bawdy, too sexual...lots of reasons why their exteriors are more lovely than their hearts/souls/interiors.
  • Some like the wrong college team.  Sorry.  I bleed burnt orange.
  • Some guys simply don't smile or have not met my "non-negotiable" requirements.
So...the struggle.

Do I not respond or "ghost" guys that I'll never date?  That seems rude.

Do I say "no thank you?"  Awkward turtle.

Or, do I come up with a pleasant "thanks, but no thanks" response?  That's my current plan.

"Thanks for the __________.  Have a great week!"  Insert "compliment, nice note, smile, heart, etc."  

Today I did that.  The guy to whom I responded was outside my age parameter, not attractive to me, and lived too far away.  (I'm just not interested in long-distance romance or dating someone considerably older than me.)

I sent my boiler-plate "nice message," and he replied.  

And that's where this gets INTERESTING and scandalous and "After School TV Special"ish. 

A new character entered the story!  I'll call her the "Scorned Woman."  I immediately knew when I got a "Meet Me" alert that this profile name was BOLD.

It was "ILuv2CheatOnYou."  I was intrigued.  I would NEVER date someone with that as their dating handle, but curiosity.  There were several photos, and it didn't click just yet.

The "About Me" part made me lean in....  

The person writing this wasn't a dude looking for some action.  It was a profile created to warn women about the guy who JUST MESSAGED ME.

The truth is stranger than fiction!  

I'll let the pictures explain, but I was intrigued.  And shocked.  And sad.  How hurt was the woman who had been swindled by this man; how guarded was her heart, yet she had lived and learned and perhaps recovered?  

She was a bad-a** vigilante!  A modern-day cartoon hero trying to defeat a villain.   

She was wearing a white hat warning people about the black-hatted cowboy doing his normal thing--swindling women.

I blocked the guy, and again, he was too old and not my type, so I didn't fall prey to him, but WHAT IS THIS CRAZY WORLD?

I immediately realized--another blog post fell into my lap, yet I was a melancholy.  

How can someone find a "good guy" in 2019?  How do people who fall for catfishers or swindlers or not-right-for-me guys or gals learn to trust truly?  Dating is truly a dance of deception.  Let me explain.

Life is a metaphor-- a series of locked boxes.  You learn to unlock boxes one at a time while dating.
  • Sometimes people want you to unlock a box more quickly than they are ready--don't pry the lock.  
  • Sometimes YOU will be asked to unlock a box before you are ready.  Don't.  You own the key to your heart, your mind, your thoughts, and your spirit.  
  • Sometimes there are MANY boxes and choices and it's overwhelming.  
  • Sometimes you open a box to find it empty.  
  • Sometimes there are no more boxes. 
I had a wonderful person ask me once, "What if I open a box and there isn't anything there?"  I replied, "Then that's an opportunity to fill it with something new." 

I truly believe that's possible.  It just has to be true.

May your dating experience(s) bring you more joy than sorrow; more trust than distrust; more laughter than pain.  

Hang in there Dating World.  Don't fall victim to pessimism.  You have to trust that the right person is out there.  It may take forever to find him/her, but don't. give. up.

And if someone breaks your heart, you can always warn others.  A virtual high-five to the Woman Scorned Vigilante who "rescued me" today.  She rocks.

What do you think readers?  Is my suitor and "I Love to Cheat" the same guy?  And, discuss.  

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Catfishing One Person's Attempt to Swindle Me!

Catfish.  They're "junk fish" and "bottom feeders," so a lot of people won't eat them, but I LOVE catfish.  Give me some ketchup, a little Tabasco mixed in, a side of french fries, I'll eat catfish all day long.  But, "catfish" in the dating world is no good.

At lunch today I had a message that someone from OKCupid had "liked me."  I clicked on it--and there he was a man in uniform, and he was attractive.

I thought it was weird that he was so "Army", but I scrolled through his page.  He had posed with puppies, he had some tats, and he was "close by" and within my search parameters.

I guess OKCupid has some freaky thing that tells people when you're online, because he messaged me, and dang, he was laying on the charm.  I'm not that great at receiving compliments, so I resorted to my "Ah, that's nice.  Thank you, and have a great day." message and left the app.

But he came back with an "I'm serious. You're pretty" line--or something like that.  I, a big fan of self-depreciating humor, wrote, "I bet its time to get your eyes checked..probably need a new prescription for glasses."

He just kept going, flattering comment upon comment, and I said, "I bet you're catfishing me."  His reply?  "WTF.  Catfishing?"

Okay, Sparky.  I see how you're gonna play, I catfished the catfisher.   But, before I tell you how we ended things, here were my red flags.

  • This perfect soldier--is an Army Ranger, deployed in Texas.  (A simple Google search will show you that Rangers aren't based in Texas.)
  • He told me he was "deployed to Djibouti on peace keeping mission."  WELL...then I knew for sure.  
  • While written in English, there were many syntax and grammar mistakes.  It wasn't written by someone who spoke "Standard American English."  No colloquial Texas slang thrown in.  
  • A close relative of mine is in the military, and basic Operational Security--you never tell anyone where you are while deployed, and certainly not a random stranger.  We learned that at Boot Camp.  We learned that before deployment.  Never tell people where you are.  Ever.  
  • I asked Army Ranger due what his MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was--no reply.  I got a "Why so many questions?" retort.  Classic deflection.
  • "What base are you assigned to in the States," I asked.  No reply, but my Catfisher did get send me address for a shady house in Gordonville, Texas.  I'm not a detective, but a simple search of the County's Appraisal District call tell you everything you need to know.  There is no house at that address, and when there was one a few years ago, it was a rundown trailer house--peach in color.  Not the house that an Army Ranger would live in.
  • Biggest red flag?  The soldier in the "catfished photos" is clearly Caucasian,  but his online persona said his name was 'Tyrone.'  Now, I'm all for innovative names, but the only 'Tyrone' I've ever met was African American.  Again, a simple Google search--no Tyrone's with this guy's last name, AND cross referencing to the Appraisal District, definitely not.
So, I thought, "let's turn up the heat on this dating pan and watch this "frog" get cooked."

I asked him to send me a picture or call me right away!  My lunch friends were DYING!  Poor Tyrone didn't want to talk to me--"busy with Army stuff"--but he continued to profess his undying love, and it was too much.  My lunch table friends decided I needed to tell him outlandish stuff.  Mr. Army Ranger had a lot of "Tyrone" pics but wasn't interested in sending me any real-time photos.

New approach.

Whatever he told me, I'd agree with him then change my mind;  I'd want the opposite or propose a new idea instead, and Tyrone would go along as he was "desperate to make me happy" because I was the love of his life.

I finally told 'Tyrone', "I wasn't interested in a long-distance relationship since my father is in the FBI (not true) and doesn't want me to date any more soldiers (never dated a soldier).

My reply BROKE Tyrone's heart.  He was retiring from the Army in three months, AND he would come back right now for "R&R" if I wanted him to return--we didn't get to the money part, but I'm SURE I would next be asked to get him an airline ticket.

WHO FALLS FOR THIS STUFF?  I'll tell you who.  A lot of people--men and women alike.    The victims are lonely, they want to be loved, and they are willing to listen to a Casanova string together musical sentences with all the right buzz words.

Ladies, know your self worth.  Don't be fooled by an attractive guy who has puppies or a uniform.  Protect your online identity, your heart ,and your self worth AND pocketbook.

Suggestions for safety:
  • NEVER give out your real phone number.  Stay within the app chatting, or get a voice over IP number.  There are plenty of apps that you can chat through that have the functionality of texting.
  • Perform a "Reverse Image Search" right away if the guy seems too good to be true, or even if he doesn't.  Search social media. 
  • Never give out your vitals.  Name, phone number, DOB, credit card or bank account information.
  • There are services that will perform searches for you.  Here's one. I don't get any money for suggesting them.    Just telling you these are out there if you don't have time to sleuth for your self.
Stay safe!  Until next time. Happy fishing!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

If Your Profile Pic Walked Into a Bar...

Okay, I've learned from these sites that they aren't all created equally--future post; however, what I want to talk about today is FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 

Consider your main profile picture your "first impression."

This vacuous, online dating world, feels like a short story that isn't grounded or rooted in a place, so as I tell students with whom I'm trying to improve their writing, "Give me a location.  We need walls, a floor, a setting."  Ground your story.

In the same way, online dating needs a real-world equivalent.

I can honestly say I've never "bar hopped" to try to meet someone--teenage mom problems--but I want my story to have a setting, so this is what I'm thinking....

If this Profile Picture (see picture below) walked into a bar, would I talk to him?  The answer is NO, I'd call the cops or ask the bouncer to handle.  WHY would someone think this is okay????  I'm guessing he wants a hookup.

 Ladies, this is the pic where I had to decide "Meet Me" or not.  If I checked "yes" then I could read more about this person, but again, grounding this in a bar-like, public setting..  This man may be the nicest person. He may be lovely, and I'm not even concerned about his body style.   A man with a six-pack-of-abs isn't on my non-negotiable list at all. 

My concern is that his prospect's first picture is a shallow, bathroom selfie!

If the dating site was for a nudist colony or someone who was in to "sauna dates," then maybe I would get it.

So, if a Profile Pic walked into a bar...

  • Guys wearing hats and sunglasses may get a nod, but I'd want to see their eyes while talking to them.
  • Guys with dogs?  I'm saying, "hello!"  I don't care if YOU are ugly.  You have a dog who loves you, and you love your dog enough to bring him/her to a public place.
  • Guys wearing camo?  Absolutely.  
  • Guys wearing camo and bringing their dead fish, string of ducks or dear carcass into the bar?  Ick.
  • Guys wearing a uniform--I'm a sucker for a uniform--sure!  I'll talk to you.
  • Guys bringing a guitar?  YES!
  • Muscle shirt guys?  Maybe.  Depends on the bar.
  • Heavily tatted?  Absolutely.  I don't care, and I actually like the stories tattoos tell--it reminds me of church stained glass, which was used to share The Gospel to people could not read.
  • But...guys wearing a towel or underwear walking into a bar?  TOO INTIMATE!  KINDA CREEPY.  Save it for your house, with your woman AFTER you know her, and she says "yes."
If the bar scene doesn't do it for you, then substitute, "If my profile picture walked into a job interview..."  or "If my profile picture walked into a grocery store..."  See where I'm going?  Ewww.

Guys you are supposed to put your best out there.  Sadly, semi-naked selfies aren't the best. Ladies, don't settle for some underwear or a towel.  Say yes to WELL-DRESSED MEN!  Or women if that floats your boat.

Until next time.  Looking for my Permanent Mr. Wonderful.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

My "Non-Negotiables" for Online Dating

So....I never wanted to be here.  I married my high school sweetheart, and although marriage was hard, I wanted a happily ever after. I thought he would be the only man I'd ever love.

Sadly, after almost twenty-seven years of marriage, it ended; it was painful--the untethering of years of shared experiences and intimacy.  I'm now in my mid-40s, so I've literally been married almost my entire life-since my teenaged, shotgun wedding.

After my divorce this perfect guy fell out of the sky, and he taught me that I could love again, that life would go on, but sadly, we wanted different things, so here I am.  I consider him a friend and I'm thankful for him in many ways.

My kids suggested online dating after Mr. Wonderful and I broke up, and since where I work isn't conducive to meeting people, and I'm not someone who wants to bar-hop, I said, "Okay."  And, DANG.  I've learned a lot.

My non-negotiable list for online dating going forward:
  1. A prospect's profile picture must include his eyes (no mirrored sunglasses), and I have to see his hair/lack of hair (no all-hat pictures).  If the first picture is sunglasses and hat, and I'm on a dating platform that only let's me see one picture before I have to make a decision, I'm "swiping left."  The eyes are a window to the soul, and I'm just you have hair or not?
  2. If ANY of his pictures include a shirtless "selfie," I'm out, no matter how chiseled or attractive he may be in other pics.  He can bow up in the gym with a shirt on...that's fine, but no half-dressed selfies, please.
  3. I WILL reverse search his photo via Google.  If the picture isn't him or is suspect, he is gonna be blocked.  (Catfishing is wrong unless its in an actual pond.)
  4. If he asks me a question that makes me uncomfortable or is creepy, he is going to be blocked.  (If I have to go to Urban Dictionary to figure out what you're asking, I'm probably not your person.)
  5. If I'm honest about my character or beliefs and he says, "I bet I can change your mind," swiping left unless it is about something trivial.  
  6. If I think, "He's super cute if I could change just this one thing," I'm gonna pass.  Maybe he needs new glasses, or his Jimmy Neutron haircut is a bit too metro for me.  That's okay, but it's not my place to like someone if only he would fix X or Y or Z about himself.  (I wouldn't want someone to do that to me, so I won't do that to him.)
  7. Lastly, if I know him in the "real world" (professionally, personally, or casually), online dating isn't something we are gonna do.  Talk to me face to face.
Folks, I feel like I'm gonna be blogging for a LONG time; however, you're welcome to read about my "cautionary tales."  If I date someone who seems promising, I'm respecting his privacy as he requests it, and he will know in advance about this blog.  My life isn't an open book, but I wish I had a girlfriend who could tell me what she's experienced so far.

I'm not here to man bash.  I LOVE guys, and I'm thankful they aren't like women.  I'm just an average girl, a hopeless romantic who falls in love too easily and is looking for a happily-ever-after.  

Join me.  We will laugh, gasp, maybe cry, and cheer each other on during this wild adventure seeking a fairy tale ending.  :)