Tag Archives: dating advice

Married Man Dating Marathon

Ack!

My fingernails are dirty. My apartment is coated in dog hair from the two crazy, NON-paper-trained dogs I’m fostering. I haven’t had a legitimate job since 1996. I don’t shave…anywhere. And I use the word fuck, like, every fucking minute. I’m clearly not appropriate for mainstream consumption. So it came as no surprise that “Jim” didn’t feel any “sexual chemistry” with me after our lovely lunch yesterday.

Let me start over. As you all know, dear readers, I’ve been doing some mad online dating. My recent membership on the cheating people site has brought me a digital landslide of attention and I’ve been juggling married dudes eager to take me…to lunch, to dinner, to bed. It was tough scheduling dates when I wasn’t even in town but now that I’m back from my adventure at Coachella, I’ve got illicit suitors lined up for days.

I met with “Bill” Saturday night, en route to see a friend’s band. I wouldn’t ordinarily “waste” a weekend evening on a stranger but, what the hell, I was already dressed up and out on the town!

We met for beers at 2A, convenient and cheap, though I wasn’t all too happy about a blind date in the daylight. “Bill” was pleasant enough and he was entertained when I regaled him with my previous evening’s swing club story. (I know, poor form to talk about other dates — or so says YourTango — but it was too hilarious not to share!) Apparently “Bill” has been living in some sort of bubble for the past few decades as he was completely unfamiliar with swing clubs. And swinging in general. When I finally asked if he’d ever heard of Plato’s Retreat, he nodded, still unsure. “So people go to these places to…have sex? In private rooms?” No, I told him, in front of each other. He didn’t understand.

We did enjoy each other’s company, even if it would never be a love connection. Or any other sort of connection. However, when my friend Sandra showed to accompany me to see my friend’s band, I felt somewhat relieved. “Bill” was my first real actual married man, if I am to believe the previous three and their purported statuses. (Stati?) He didn’t seem to be hell bent on actually having an affair. He appeared to just be looking for interesting company.

So that was Saturday. I took Sunday off from my dating frenzy because it was a holiday. And I was in New Jersey. (I’d make a crack about the lord resting on the seventh day but I’ve only just begun my married man marathon.)

On Monday I’d arranged to meet “Jim” for lunch. He chose a quiet little spot in the West Village with an outdoor garden in back and, since it was such a warm day, we decided to dine al fresco. Again, I wasn’t all too happy about a blind date by the light of day, but what else can you do at lunchtime? “Jim” was as tall in person as he’d said he was and somehow far more distinguished. His online photo made him appear a little awkward; there was nothing awkward about him as he sat across the table from me. We enjoyed lunch and a frank discussion about online dating, affairs and the complex process behind meeting someone and where it eventually might lead.

During our conversation there was a mention of his having dated models, not in an arrogant way, just matter of fact, and I made a mental note that perhaps I wasn’t quite polished enough for this man. His hands looked softer than mine and his nails were most definitely cleaner! But lunch was enjoyable. After we’d finished eating, we stood on the sidewalk outside the cafe. “Jim” took my hand and, shaking it gently, told me that it had been a pleasure meeting me but that he hadn’t felt any sexual chemistry. He delivered that news quite frankly, looking me straight in the eye. Oddly enough, I wasn’t at all insulted. It was so honest and polite I couldn’t be. But it was a bit sobering.

As I walked away I recalled, again, that all of my successful sexual encounters — or relationships, for that matter — had taken place with alcohol or drugs involved, so it wasn’t surprising that a lunch date in the glare of the noon sun hadn’t resulted in a quickie, or even the desire to meet again. I’m not sure I would’ve said the same thing about “Jim.” He was pretty handsome. And exceedingly tall. His preemptive dismissal of me alleviated any need for me to dismiss him. But I doubt we’d have been a good match.

While some might think “How awful,” my take-away was that this was precisely one of the reasons behind my dating marathon in the first place: This was practice and I was learning not to take rejection personally, something which, I’m embarrassed to admit, I haven’t been able to master in my previous five decades.  So though I won’t be seeing “Jim” again, I considered the date a success.

Going Negative?

Dating isn’t as easy once you hit 40. Or 50. Hell, nothing’s as easy. Accepting that you’re less than thrilled about being single — which is why we put ourselves through the dating process and subject ourselves to singles’ events — can feel like admitting a deficiency, something we should all be used to by now but that never gets any easier.

Chances are pretty good that anyone who is, let’s say, over 45 has been through the ringer. A few times. Whether that ringer is a failed marriage or just a failed relationship (or two…or three), it has probably hardened them in some way. We are a sum of our experiences and if there have been disappointments, it can be tough to separate our identities from those disappointments, to talk ourselves into feeling like winners when we feel more like losers. Eventually our failures can overwhelm us. Life, in general, may be weighing us down, of accumulating on us.

In addition to all the other crap that comes along with getting older, consider laying your ass on the line with a stranger — or a whole sequence of strangers — in search of elusive true love. It’s enough to make someone become a hermit. Or at least throw in the towel. But if you’re desperately resisting slipping into pessimism, if you’re one of the people bucking hermit-tude, and you’re dabbling in dating in your fourth or fifth decade, you’ve probably dragged along a good deal of baggage with you. I know it’s difficult to check that baggage. But if you don’t, you might be better off on your couch.

Many of the men I’ve met lately, either as potential dates or merely fellow singletons, have struck me as being somewhat sad sack. It isn’t a good look. I can’t say I blame them for being unable to put on a positive face. I’ve been finding it difficult to be positive myself.

One gentleman was an OkCupid date and we met for a beer. Somehow we started talking about his divorce and the conversation sort of spiraled downward. It’s tough to keep things happy and positive when you’re discussing custody battles or who’s to blame for the end of the relationship. I wound up wallowing a bit myself. Even when I attempted to lighten things up, the pall had already been cast. I eventually wrote to the guy and apologized for a not-so-great date and gently suggested that perhaps he wasn’t quite ready to enter the shark tank of dating quite yet. He never responded.

Another instance, another OkCupid dude: After chatting on the phone a while, he suggested that we meet at a wine bar. Never mind that it says right on my profile that I hate wine. I was willing to overlook his disregard as an indication of nervousness. But when we met, he hardly said a word. I do believe one of his utterances was along the lines of “I’m probably not exciting enough for you.” Even though that was, in fact, totally true and incredibly obvious, it didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy his company, there, in that moment. Why did he need to sabotage himself?

And then there’s the sad sack who just can’t seem to crack a smile. A recent acquaintance at a recent event seemed like a totally cool guy. For a few moments I managed to engage him in something that excited him. But he spent most of the evening with a long face. I don’t think he was miserable; he could’ve left at any point. He just looked…beaten down by life. It’s tough to explain. I think maybe he could’ve used a pep talk…or some sort of ego boost!

At least these men are putting themselves out there. They haven’t given up or abandoned their sense of optimism. They haven’t completely succumbed to staying at home…alone. However, sometimes they aren’t necessarily doing themselves a service. They certainly didn’t get a second date.

So what to do to avoid coming across like a sad sack? If you aren’t feeling particularly social, it might be a good idea to stay home, because the you you’ll be putting out there won’t be the best. If there’s something you aren’t comfortable with — your weight, your employment status, even your wardrobe — fix it before you enter the fray. Sharing your insecurities once you’ve established a relationship can be endearing; sounding less than confident on that initial encounter, not so much. Keep whatever conversations you start as upbeat as you’re capable of. Don’t discuss your divorce, your dreaded ex or your crappy day at the office — if you still have an office. No need to keep all the ugly stuff a secret; just do your best not to dwell on it.

Well those are a few gentle suggestions. I have plenty more to say about how to show up for a date or at an event, so stay tuned!