McKenzie Free

One woman's quest for greater understanding through freedom of self expression.

Archive for the category “Dating on the Far Side of Forty”

“In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Alfred Tennyson

It’s spring and a time when both young and old men’s minds appear to turn to thoughts of…well…getting laid.  I wish it turned to thoughts of love but in my experience this doesn’t seem to be the case.  I think old Al was just trying to stay within the confines of polite society when he wrote that.

This period when men’s minds take this flight of fancy is very brief.  It appears to take place sometime between the end of hunting season and the beginning of trout stocking by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  But, if you stay alert, the signs are all around us.

Men who normally never look up from their cell phones look up and smile when you walk into a bar or restaurant.  Some may even say hello while in line with you at the coffee shop or grocery store.   And all of the sudden your online dating profile that hasn’t gotten a response from an authentic person (other than continual hits by online scammers easily weeded out by emails such as “Good Morning by Beauty, my Queen”) has some winks and greetings from living, breathing males.

Unfortunately, as appears true with all things in life, this too has its pros and cons.   Men and women’s brain really don’t function the same and if you look at the differences, especially those involved in dating and mating, it’s sometimes amazing the species manages to continue to procreate at all.

In my use of online dating sites I’ve noted one very important difference and that is: men only look at the pictures.   Women will look at the pictures and review the background of the photo looking for clues into the man’s lifestyle choices.  We will read the profile in detail (assuming they’ve written one, many men only fill in the number of spaces needed with Xs).  We will ask our friends for their opinion of what we’ve read and viewed.   We may be attracted to a man but we still want to know if he’s smart, kind, funny, a homebody or a nightowl. We want to know whether or not he’ll want to go dancing, hiking or to the theatre with us.

Men, on the other hand, look at the photos.  If they are attracted to you it doesn’t seem to matter if you have nothing at all in common, are as high maintenance as possible, or have been married ten times.   Those things can all be overlooked because they are focused on visual cues only.  If you don’t believe me check out “The Triggers of Sexual Desire: Men vs. Women”, Leon Seltzer, Psychology Today.  Neuroscience apparently has proven what some of us have always known.

So what this looks like on the receiving side of this male interest is an inbox full of emails from men who are very clearly, right from the beginning, not partner material.  Yet, when you point out to them that you have nothing in common, do not share similar tastes or lifestyles, they fail to see it.  They either get angry at your for not “giving them a chance”, or argue with you that “you won’t know until you try it”.

I would hope that at a certain age, and this writer is now (as much as I hate to admit it) over 60, you would “know before you try it”.  I know I will not be compatible with a man whose income is well below mine.  Not because I’m a money-grubbing hussy, but because I want a partner who can afford to enjoy the same lifestyle that I do.  It simply won’t work out when he can’t afford the dinner out, the movie or theatre ticket, or the vacation that I can afford and very much want to take.

I know I will not be able to date a smoker.  I’ve tried it before and I am way too allergic for this to work out no matter how much I may care for a person.

I know that if a man is old enough to date me and has never been married or lived with someone longer than five years…. he most likely won’t be able to relate to my life experiences.

I know that if a man is very serious and doesn’t get my (sometimes dark and morbid) sense of humor that we will not last.

So, I very much appreciate the “likes” on my photos; I’m grateful for the compliments; but I’m also happy to know that the first rivers and reservoirs are being stocked with trout this weekend!


The Dating Profile I’d LIKE TO Post but Never Will

59 year-old woman seeking partner in crime.

Life, and crime, are each more fun with a partner. Doesn’t have to be a romantic partner (Butch and Sundance, Thelma and Louise…) but if you can find someone that you can partner with in life and have great sex with too — what could be better?

Actually LOOK at my photos. I’m well-dressed, my hair looks good, if I’m wearing make-up it’s subtle and well done, I’m always smiling. I’m obviously going to make an effort to look my best at our first meeting and beyond. So it only makes sense I’m looking for a man who will do the same. Do I look like a woman is seeking a man with a filthy ball cap he never takes off, who wears grungy, frayed jeans to our first meeting and hasn’t trimmed his beard this year? Use your noggin!

Actually READ my profile. I’m smart, I’m funny, and I’m well educated. I’m going to expect you to be smart, funny and able to write a grammatically correct sentence, as well.

If you have more than one drink daily you are not a “social drinker”. Social drinkers have a beverage or two when out to dinner on Saturday night or when having friends over for a party or BBQ. Maybe they have a glass of wine or beer when they get home from work in the evening.

The same is true of pot. I’m not completely 420 unfriendly…and for anyone who has pain I say do whatever works for you…but if you have no medical reason and you’re hitting the bong at 10am I’m not the right woman for you.

Have two nickels to rub together. I prefer a man who pays on a date. That said…we can go Dutch if you don’t have that kind of money but at a minimum you have to be able to pay for your own dinner. It’s really not cool for you to sit and watch me eat my dinner while you sip on a glass of water because you can’t even afford a cup of coffee. I don’t have much, but a man has to have at least as much as me, ‘cause without that parity no partnership is possible.

Have a driver’s license and a car. I’m not hauling your ass around town for the duration of our relationship. I expect you to be able to come and pick me up for a date. I expect to actually GO OUT ON DATES. I love to walk in the park; ride bikes, hike, etc. Every once in a while I also want to go out for dinner, see a movie, go to the theatre, hit a comedy open mike night, something (anything) other than walking and talking or sitting and talking.

I didn’t post a profile on a dating site because I’m looking for someone to have sex with. Hundreds of men want to have sex with me. I’ve been pursued by men of every age who tell me how sexy I am and how much they want to make love to me. Wanting to bed me doesn’t make you special. It’s just pheromones. Get a grip on yourself. Think with your big head for a change instead of your little one. But if we do get past the dating and actually get to this point, please be able to perform. If you have problems performing you are surely aware of that before we get to this stage of the relationship so deal with it before we go there. Man up!

What I’m looking for is a partner. Merriam-Webster defines it as: A person with whom one shares an intimate relationship; one member of a couple; one of two or more persons who play together in a game against an opposing team. In this instance the opposing team is “life” with all it brings us. It comes with family, friends, good food, fun times and great sex but it also includes hard work, flooded kitchens, flat tires, mortgage payments, cancer, and many other frustrations and challenges. Like all roller coaster rides it’s more fun when you have someone you can cling to who’s screaming just as loudly as you are when the car hits the peak and begins plummeting toward the next turn.

I’m too old for online dating

I can’t believe I’m single again. I’m too old to date. However, there isn’t much call for 59 year-old mail order brides so unless I want to be forever without male companionship (a viable option I’m thinking about) I will have to date again. The thought of going on more first dates makes me cry harder than all the things I miss about my last love.

Feeling I must carry on, I once again turned on my online dating site. A man wrote to me. He was attractive, and if his write-up was even partially true, one in a million. The one catch for me was, he was only 5’ 6” tall. I usually only date men who are six foot or taller. Short fit men make me feel as though I might roll over in bed and squash them. I just don’t want to take the chance of an accidental death. It’s bad enough at this age worrying if the excitement of sex will give them a heart attack.

Last night I went out for a drink with my girlfriend who is much younger than me. I was telling her about this and she said it’s just a date, go ahead and email the short guy. So I show her his profile, and after a brief read, she explains to me that the reason he sounds like a man that’s too good to be true is because he’s a transsexual. Apparently he eludes to this in two different places in his profile which I missed while focusing on his small stature. So the reason he sounded completely wonderful was because he used to be woman. It had been like reading my own profile!

Actually, this wouldn’t have been the first time I dated a transsexual. The first time there was no indication other than the lack of attraction on my part.   I remember after meeting him telling my friends he had a butt like a woman’s. I told him we could hang out as friends and it would never be anything more. It was much later after some nights out dancing that he told me the truth about his transition. I have no problem with anyone’s choices of sexuality. I just have no attraction either.  We have remained friends, and judging by his troubles with dating, it’s no different after transition than it is before.

Alas, I digress. The point here is I’m too old to be dating online anymore and not being able to read this profile correctly proved it to me. I can’t keep up with the new slang phrases that are supposed to alert me to what men really want. It’s like learning a foreign language.  I once thought I had it all figured out but this experience makes me realize the world has changed too much for me to keep up with it.

Sadly, there are a lot of things I truly enjoy about male companionship, including sexual intimacy. I realize I’m spending a lot more time in my yard this year: chopping, pruning, digging, planting, spreading mulch. Apparently I’m taking my sexual frustrations out on my landscape. It makes me wonder anew about my mother who never dated or remarried after my father died in his mid-fifties. Her garden plot was enormous and flowers bloomed everywhere on her property.   Sure wish she was here now so we could laugh about this together. And, since I’ll obviously be doing a lot more gardening these days, I could use some of her green thumb tips, as well.

The Universe at Play

I’ve met a man.  I know, that’s how all my stories begin, but this time it’s different.  I met a man online, as I’ve done many, many times before.  He lives on four acres on the other side of the pass, 300 miles away, 12 miles outside of a town with a population of 9,000.  I live in the valley in Weird Town with a metropolitan area population of approximately 220,000, which after life in DC, London and NYC often seems far too small.

There was nothing about this man’s pictures or profile that told me he had much potential to be the life partner I was looking for.  In fact, we began talking only because when he flirted with me I critiqued some of his pictures of dead fish and told him if he wanted to attract women…pictures of dead animals weren’t the best way.  I never expected to hear from him again but, rather than taking offense, he thanked me for giving him a woman’s perspective.  Self- assured enough to withstand a little criticism was my only thought.

We began corresponding regularly, and we talked on the phone a few times, and then one day he said he would like to stop by and meet me for dinner on his way back from a clamming trip up north.  (I didn’t realize until much later that this wasn’t “on his way” but actually 3 hours out of his way!)  When I drove to the restaurant to meet him that Monday afternoon I went to meet a friend with no sense that this could ever turn into anything more.  After all, what would our options be, perhaps a remake of Green Acres?

I felt I already knew him somewhat from our email and phone conversations and thought him to be a decent human being with strong character and values.  I also love meeting all kinds of people and the more different their lives are from mine, the more intriguing I find them.  So off I went in the hope we would strike up a lasting friendship and I’d have a pen pal for life.

We met in the lobby of a restaurant, him in his sweats from his clamming trip, and me in my heels and make-up and from the moment we sat down our eyes were magnets for each other.  He not only listened to what I said, but he actually “heard” everything I said.  Not only that, but he heard everything I didn’t say.  Later he would write me when he returned home, I could see in your face and the way you moved you are strong person but yet I could feel the wanting to be fragile on the inside, the wanting to be held close, to be pampered like a lady should be, to share your heart and your feelings with another”.  When I read that line was the moment that I knew I had finally met a man capable of understanding me.

It’s remarkable to me that just a couple of months ago I said to a different man “I want to be with a man that thinks I’m amazing.  I do not want to be the woman you sleep with until you meet the one you think is amazing.”  Only a short time later I find myself lucky enough to be with a man who knows exactly what he wants, owns his emotions and shares them freely.  A man who is capable of looking me square in the eye and saying, “You’re an amazing woman!”

Last month I was asking myself “Who are these women men obsess over and write poetry about”.  This month I am a woman a man writes poetry to.  Once again, my theory regarding living life to the fullest, not pre-judging people, never turning down an opportunity to meet a new person or learn something new, has proven itself.

None of us know what the future will bring. I certainly never imagined as I got out of the car to meet this man that a short time later I would have someone to share my every thought with; someone who I enjoy talking to, someone who I enjoy sitting quietly with.  Every day truly is a new beginning and there is hope around every corner.  I don’t know exactly what the future holds for us….but I am certain it will find us facing each new day together.

The other thing I’m certain of is that our new age way of meeting, all of these dating sites (which I’m not knocking because without them I would never have found this man who lives 300 miles away from me) are meant to be only the conduit…not an end to themselves.  You can’t order up a life partner off a menu.  You can look at pictures and read profiles all day long, but if you don’t actually go out and meet people in person, nothing will come of it.  So, yes, I have spent seven years, met more men and drank more tea at Starbucks than the average woman, but I believe the willingness to give those men a chance has finally paid off.

My Love’s First Poem to Me

I will give you love when you shed a tear.
I will give you kindness to show my love.
I will give you warmth when you are cold.
I will give you strength when you are weak.
I will give you happiness each day of your life.
I will give you understanding when you’re blue.
I will give you my shoulder to cry on when sadness comes.
I will give you my arm to walk beside me as we travel this life.
I will give you my hand to hold to give you hope.
I will give you comfort when bad news arrives.
I will give you me for the rest of your life.

The Dance

It began one night with a simple dance. His movements were slow, lingering, and sensual. He was not leading, she was not following, yet they heard the same beat and moved together as one swaying to the gentle rhythm.

Later that evening he sent her a text: “You can come sit on my face any time.”

“What kind of text is that for a poet to send to a woman?” she responded.

And then the real dance began…he said…she said…he said…she said.

They met again and she told him stories of those who had loved her and those who had brought her pain: the rapes of her past, her mother’s laughter, her brother’s insanity, her beautiful and strong women friends. He shared stories of past lovers, his relationship with God and belief in the reality of the Holy Spirit, his drive to create music and poetry, and how his muse visited him. They shared thoughts and they shared meals and she felt there was beauty in their dance each step bringing them closer to knowledge of each other.

For days he ran his fingers slowly down her body stopping here and there to take pleasure in the firm mounds of flesh and soft valleys making her shiver with contentment. She gave herself to him freely and gloried in his touch. When he was hard she climbed on top and rode the waves of sensation without fear or shame until all of her orifices exploded in delight. When he was soft she fondled his body kissing the curve of his neck and stroking his long, thin legs that led to that beautiful ass that she couldn’t keep her hands off in bed or on the dance floor.

At times she was completely filled with lust for him and at others joyful in his gentleness. He fed her strawberries in bed and she tenderly licked their sticky juice off his fingers in the same way she had licked her own sweet juices from them earlier at his request. And, finally, she fulfilled his original entreaty and sat on his face as he licked and sucked until she came, filling his mouth with the sweet taste he craved, offering up a bit of her soul to him believing it could never diminish her.

And they danced. Oh how they danced. Onlookers awed by their chemistry and jealous of the connection they perceived between them.

Then one night, as quickly as their dance began, he no longer heard the music and he turned and abruptly walked away.

McKenzie James

June 17, 2011

Str8 Talk

by McKenzie James

Recently I got a message on an online dating site from an attractive man with the profile name “str8t_rod”.  I thought his meant his hobby was racing street rods.  Not something I’m into, but then I’m not the type of person that thinks couples need to share all the same hobbies, so I emailed him back and we began to chat.  The conversation moved quickly from “How are you doing today?” to “I’d love to caress your sensuous curves and run my hand down …”

I was taken aback but this fast dash to inappropriate sex chat so I went back to review his profile and see if there was something in there that would have clued me in to his real intent.  I’m sure my readers, who are most likely not as dyslexic as I am, and who probably paid more attention in pre-school while being taught phonetics, are already laughing, have easily recognized my mistake.  He wasn’t talking about a “street rod”; he was talking about a “straight rod”!  This is a particularly embarrassing mistake for a woman who’s already written an article about how to read online dating profiles.

Looking back I realize that even if I’d read it correctly I might still have responded thinking he was just a guy name “Rod” who wanted everyone to know he isn’t gay.  Alas, his name is Paul!

Some women may have been shocked by this interchange and put off from online dating altogether but McKenzie is not faint of heart.  I simply laughed and wrote it off as another experience worth blogging about.

The Long Good-Byes

In my experience breaking up isn’t as hard to do as the song suggests.  The actual break-up is usually short and sweet.  The hard part is the much longer good-bye that takes place inside your own head for months, sometimes years, after the relationship ends.  The things you were too polite to say; the things you wish you’d said but you know they couldn’t hear, and; the questions you wish you’d asked but knew they wouldn’t answer honestly.

NOTE:  Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Dear Garei (pronounced Gary),

                I know you think spelling your name strangely makes you unique and interesting but really it just makes people think your parents were stupid.  No, I don’t think smoking pot and drinking daily is a normal pastime for a middle-aged male unless he’s a total loser.   It’s called addiction.  Did you really think a woman would continue to respect a man who couldn’t make it home from the bar without stopping for more beer at the grocery store and then had to ask her to come in with him because he didn’t have any money to pay for it himself?

 Dear Geoffrey,

I told you the first day we met that I had no problems dating a recovering alcoholic but that if you ever took another drink the only word you’d hear from me again was good-bye.  Did you think I was kidding?

Dear Frank,

                You have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to such an extent that you can’t fit anything, or anyone, new into your daily routine.   Astronauts go to the moon with less planning than it takes you to go to Hawaii for a week.   Just for the record, having sex between 3 and 6 in the afternoon won’t fit most working women’s schedules even if that is the only time of the day when your “mojo” is working.  Plus, it was just plain stingy of you not to share your blueberries with a woman you were willing to share your bed with.

 Dear Paul,

I can’t believe you didn’t even call to apologize after the woman you failed to mention you were living with chased me across the yard and tried to pummel me.  I was pleased to note as I drove away that she had redirected her aim toward the true villain of the affair.

Dear Samuel,    

               Exactly how long had you been sleeping with the woman you told me you’d “just met”?

 Dear Bruce,

I vacillated for months between wondering if you were the cruelest man I ever dated, or simply the craziest, until one day a good friend reminded me that the two are not mutually exclusive.

Dear Larry,

               Please stop calling me.  No, I’m not mad.  Sadly I never cared enough to get mad.  The truth is you simply bore me.

 Dear Steven,

You’d pull me towards you and as soon as I got close you’d push me away.  I still can’t decide if it amused your ego or if you really were that confused.  Regardless, it was suppose to be a relationship – not a swing set.

Dear Geezzz,

                We haven’t broken up yet.  We’ve barely begun to see each other.  But you did say you’d like to see your name on my BLOG. 

               When you do break up with me I suspect you’ll do it using very few words in the same strong, responsible, calm way you take care of everything else.

McKenzie James

October 6, 2011

Update, Spring 2015…Wrong, wrong, wrong, oh I was so wrong about GEEZZZ. He actually broke up with me three times (I know, I know, fool me once…) and each time by simply just walking out the door and never contacting me again. Funny how one can age and yet remain so gullible in some areas. Third time was a charm though:). I finally got it through my head he had no feelings for me at all.

Fix Me Up!

This town is devoid of interesting, single men between the ages of 45 and 60.  It’s not just a complaint, it’s a fact.  So when my girlfriend down the street told me her former brother-in-law who she was really fond of had recently moved back from Hawaii and asked if I would like to go out with him, I said “sure, fix me up!”

I was still game to give it a try even after she told me he had a handle-bar mustache which I find completely offensive.  I figured, what the heck, if he’s a good guy we can work on the facial hair issue sometime down the road.  And, I didn’t even flinch when she told me his name was “Lester”.  A person has no control over what his parent’s name him, right?  I could always call him “Les”.

So he called and we talked on the phone.  He sounded relatively normal, other than the fact that he couldn’t make a plan, so I took the reins and said, “Let’s meet for dinner”.  He couldn’t figure out where to go, so I said, “Let’s go to P.F. Changs”.  He wanted to pick me up and since he was a friend of a friend, and not an online connection, I gave him my address and we set an evening and a time.

The evening came and I was looking gorgeous as always and waiting for my date to arrive at my door.  When he did I looked out the window and what did I see?  A short, bald man with a handle-bar mustache wearing stained chinos at least two sizes too big for him cinched at the waist with a belt.  Don’t be shallow, I told myself as I opened the door, she said he’s a great guy.

After the initial introductions and a little “how’s your friend Joanie doing?” we’re on our way to the restaurant.  He hardly spoke at all in the car.  Luckily, the restaurant was only five minutes away.

There was a long wait so we asked to be seated in the bar.  The waiter brought the menus and we began to take a look.  Then he leaned over and asked me, “What do the numbers mean in front of the items?”  I thought, finally a bit of a sense of humor, but then I realized he was asking a serious question.  “That’s the price of the item,” I told him.  Okay…things were going downhill fast.  Fifty years old and he’d never seen a restaurant menu where the prices were in front, rather than behind the entrée names?

So, we order, and still he doesn’t have much to say.  In an attempt to draw him out, I think…what do men like to talk about?   Someone had just recently been teaching me to target shoot so I asked him, “Do you shoot?”   “Oh yeah,” he replied, “I’d never hesitate to kill someone that’s why they loved me when I was a prison guard.”  Once again, completely straight faced and totally serious!  Now, I was getting worried.  I was married for nineteen years to a Marine who served three tours in Vietnam and I know he killed people when he had to, obviously it was a war, but I NEVER heard him speak of it and certainly not in an off the cuff manner that suggested people’s lives don’t really matter.  The evening had crossed a line from boring and not my type to a little bit scary.

Silence again, so I made an attempt to change the subject to something lighter, “What did you do for fun in Hawaii.” I asked him.  I was expecting him to tell me about the sun and the surf or exploring the islands but instead he replied, “Gambled and hung out at strip clubs.”  OH MY!!!!  If this had not been a friend of a friend this would have been the cue for me to excuse myself to the ladies room and never come back.  Instead, I sat through the rest of the meal relatively quietly and let the man take me home after which I left my friend a voice mail that I’m sure you can imagine for yourself!

The best part of the story is the next day Joanie responded to my voice mail and called to let me know she had heard from Lester and he had told her I really wasn’t his type.  “Of course not”, I told her, “I don’t dance naked around a pole in public!”

Needless to say…should you ever know a guy, an old friend or someone new in town who’s looking to date…please…DON’T FIX ME UP!

McKenzie James

July 27, 2011

The Initial Coffee Meet – An Online Dating Necessity

First, let me tell you that I don’t drink coffee.  I have never been able to stand the taste of it.  I don’t even like a little mocha flavoring in my chocolate cake.  It ruins the entire thing for me.  But, I’ve learned the hard way that the initial coffee meet is the only way to go for online dating.

When I first got divorced and moved back to town I tried good, old  How else are you expected to meet men when you’re not in your twenties anymore?  No one I knew appeared to know one, single man they felt was socially acceptable.  So, I signed up.  I wrote a unique and witty profile.  I posted numerous clear, recent photos of me smiling and having fun with friends and family.  And then I waited for the men to find me.  And find me they did.

Oh, how depressing it is the first time you see the long list of photos of the men in your age group who might be interested in you.  I’m sure among them are mostly nice, loving, decent men.  But, multiple images of pot-bellied, ball cap-wearing, unsmiling men holding large dead fish, cans of beer, or stupidly another woman’s hand doesn’t make a woman’s heart soar.

So, out of all of these wonderful pictures, one man had the courage to send me an email and say hello.  He had only one photo posted (something I know now to avoid in a “match”) but it was a nice photo of his shoulders and face.  He was attractive, with a full head of brown hair and beautiful, deep green eyes.  So, we began to chat.  His profile said he was a veterinarian; although no longer practicing.  He loved hiking and biking just like me.

After a couple of days of chatting online he asked me to dinner.   I thought, “I’m a very social person.  Certainly there isn’t anyone I couldn’t have dinner with?”  So we made a date and met for dinner at a local restaurant in my neighborhood.

That night I got ready with the usual care.  Make-up and hair perfect, an outfit that best framed my figure and brought out the color of my eyes, and I walked down to the restaurant and through the door with a light feeling of hopefulness.  I looked around and didn’t see anyone that looked like my date.  Then, I heard my name being called.  At a table across the room a man was standing smiling at me; a bald man, who looked to weigh about 400 pounds, wearing suspenders to hold up his enormous pants.

At the very same moment that I realized this man was my date and my jaw dropped open, the waitress walked by me with a smile her face and asked “drink?”  “Oh yes,” I told her, “and keep ‘em coming”.

I try not to be a shallow person and I’m not exactly svelte myself, so across the room I went to meet my date.  This signified the beginning of one of the most tortuous meals of my life.  He started the conversation by telling me he was a widower who had lost his wife to cancer and then went on to tell the painful story.  Now, I’m a compassionate person but, it seems to me that if you still have to relive the events of your wife’s death in detail you’re probably not ready to enter the dating pool.

After the stories of his wife, came the problems with his father, also a veterinarian who apparently didn’t respect him or think he could be a success in the field.   Many people have difficult relationships with their parents, and this wouldn’t be the worst topic I’ve discussed on a date if it weren’t for the fact that his parents had both been dead for over ten years.  Ten years and he still had unresolved issues he felt worthy to talk about on a first date.

Worst of all, as I tried to eat my chicken and polenta dish, he told me that he had stopped practicing as a veterinarian and now worked for the USDA inspecting poultry plants.  Oh yes, he described in detail the sanitation problems he found every day inside poultry plants.  I had to ask him to stop but I still couldn’t finish my chicken.  Thanks for dinner!

As soon as we were done eating, I made my escape saying “No Thank You” to an offer of a ride home.  The next day as I was telling the story to a male friend of mine he asked, “Why didn’t you just turn around and walk out when you saw that he didn’t look like his picture?”  “I’d never do that to someone,” I replied, “I’m overweight myself so I wouldn’t walk out on someone for being overweight.”  “You wouldn’t have been walking out on him for being fat,” he said, “you’d be walking out on him for being a big, fat liar.”  And that, I realized, was the truth.  In posting a picture that was probably ten years old he wasn’t honestly portraying who he really was.

I learned two things from this experience and you can learn from my mistake.  First, never agree to meet someone who’s only posted one photo and, second, only agree to meet for coffee or a drink thereby limiting the time you have to spend with someone who may not be your cup of tea.  These two little pieces of advice could save you hours of uncomfortable, boring time that once spent you can never get back.

McKenzie James

July 20, 2011

How to Read an Online Dating Profile

How to Read an Online Dating Profile (Second in a Series)

A famous television psychiatrist, who I usually think is full of common sense, when talking about dating over 40 on one of his shows said that you should “think outside the box”, “go out of your comfort zone”, “don’t be too quick to judge”.  For instance, don’t turn down a man because he’s wearing Birkenstocks and you HATE Birkenstocks and the life style you think most people who wear them are into.  So, when I first began online dating I took his advice and didn’t read too much into profiles with bad photos, poor English, not enough information, etc.  Don’t be too quick to judge, I told myself, after all it’s only a coffee date.

After about a hundred coffee dates I’m here to tell you:  Judge!  Use your judge-o-meter!  If the man looks like a hippie freak, and hippie freaks aren’t your type, move on.  Politely say “no thank you”, and spare yourself the wasted hour.  There may be diamonds in the rough at a younger age but, in the over forty crowd, who we are and the essentials of our life style are pretty much well established and not likely to change.  I can’t tell you how many boring coffee dates I sat through with men I met because I was “giving them the benefit of the doubt”.  It amazes me that so many people can live over 50 years and not have anything to talk about.

I don’t spend much time reading women’s profiles, other than one or two of my friends who’ve asked for my advice, so I can’t speak to that.  Men, you’ll have to find another article written by a man for advice.  But, here’s what I’ve learned from reading men’s profiles and chatting with, emailing, and meeting many of them.  Save yourself five years of bad coffee dates ladies and learn from my mistakes.

First of all, start at the beginning.  The profile name a man chooses can tell you a lot about his personality before you decide to read further.  It depends, of course, on what you’re looking for so you can decide for yourself if they might be your kind of guy.  Here are just a few actual profile names used on one of the sites:

  • Sirlixalot
  • Mrawesome
  • sonofabeach
  • Drtouch
  • horsearoundguy
  • awesomedudedada

Next, never waste time with a man who only posts one picture of himself, especially if that photo is one he took of himself in the bathroom mirror.  Think about it for a minute.  We now live in a society where everywhere we go at least fifty percent of the people there have a camera with a cell phone, and are posting to Facebook before we leave the event.  And this man hasn’t gone anywhere in the last year where one person, not even his mother, took a photo of him enjoying himself in a social setting that he can post?  Worrisome at best.

Ask a few important questions up front such as:  Where do you live?  What do you do for a living?  Do you have a car?   Not to judge whether or not the man has money, as they may think, but to verify that they actually don’t live in a tree house or are writing from prison.

Are you laughing?  I once had a weekly email exchange with a man for three weeks before he mentioned that he lived in a tree house outside of town and only came into town once a week to shower at a friend’s and check his email at the cyber café.  Absolutely true story!

I also emailed a man daily for a week before finding out he was writing me from the state penitentiary.  (By the way: even HE had more than one photo and not in his prison garb either!)  I think the answer to the “What do you do for a living?” question would have keyed me in to this one quicker.  Do they still make license plates in prisons?

Plenty of Fish gets right to the point on the car issue and asks whether or not you have one when you’re setting up your profile.  This may not be important in major cities like New York where many people can’t afford to house a car in the city and use cabs and public transportation to get around.  For the rest of the country, however, dating without a car is a bit tricky.  Most of us don’t want to go out on a bicycle built for two no matter how catchy the tune to that old song may be.  In Weird Town, USA, men will try and tell you they don’t own a car because they are eco-friendly.  This rarely stops them from wanting to bum a ride off you or anyone else around, however.  The truth of the matter is usually they either don’t have a job, and therefore no way to pay for a car (or your dinner either), or they’ve had so many DUIs they’ve had their license revoked.

If the first line of their profile admits that they lied about their age, because telling the truth would have put them out of your eligible age range, why bother?  Do you really want to get to know a man better if before you’ve even met him you know he’s dishonest if it will get him what he wants?

Men who are serious about dating and meeting women don’t actually spend a lot of time emailing.  They want to meet you. That’s why they’re on the sites.  If they chat forever and don’t ask for the meet…move on.  It’s not going to happen.  Talking to women online is simply their way of amusing themselves in the evenings.  They may be married and bored and this is what they do for fun, or they’re just too shy to leave the house.

Which leads us to… drum roll please…the fake profile.  Usually this man is too good looking to be true.  Head’s up…he’s not.  He’s posting many, many fake profiles a day from a cubicle in India, or Nigeria or somewhere else outside of the US.  Clues?   He is always a widower.  His young daughter is the one pushing him to get out there and date again.  If you read his profile carefully, even though it says he grew up somewhere completely mundane like Omaha, and he went to a US University and has a Masters Degree, parts of his profile will be written in broken English.  Sometimes they are so quick to post they get the sex wrong and will say they are looking for a “man” who wants a relationship.

He’ll send you an email.  He is going to treat you like a queen.  He read your profile and he saw in you something he’s always been looking for.  Right!  From your three paragraph profile that says you like to dance and from the photos of you, a cute, slightly overweight, middle-aged woman, he is now completely beside himself having found the woman of his dreams.  He is dying to meet you BUT, he’s out of town on business.  He has to go somewhere exotic…like the diamond mines of Africa…but can’t wait to meet you when he gets back.    Ladies…this is real life not a fairy tale.  If he appears too good to be true…it’s because he’s NOT TRUE!  He simply wants you to fall in love with his beautiful photos and love letters so that when he gets stuck in South Africa having lost his passport and needs $5,000 to pay off the guy at the Embassy and get home to you, his beloved, you’ll be willing to whip out that credit card.

Those are just a few of the more obvious and easiest to spot pitfalls of online dating.  If you’re new to the game you’ll pick up on these relatively quickly.   But, there’s also a special art to the language of the internet.   Here’s a little glossary of often used terms to help you read between the lines of the regular guys profiles.

I look young for my age (This one always cracks me up because their picture is posted and they always look their age to me):

This means they are only looking to date someone who is younger and way more attractive than they are which they think they can make happen because they have money and own a lot of toys.  (Also used by men who don’t have money or toys and are simply delusional.)

Often followed directly by, I Act Young for my age:

Men in quest of the eternal fountain of youth who think continuing to ignore responsibility and adulthood makes them appear youthful, rather than just like sad men looking for their lost youth between a young woman’s legs.

Looking for a woman of substance:

This one caught me off guard at first.  It may sound flattering to be flirted with by a man who has this in his profile but what it really means is…I like fat women.  Yes, my dears, these would be the chubby chasers.

No Drama Please!:

This one is a bit obvious.  It means I have no interest in a relationship with an actual flesh and blood woman with a real life consisting of a job and friends and family, any of which may have challenges associated with them.  These boys just want to have fun.   If you have a problem they won’t be there to support you unless the problem is how to get more tequila in you so they look attractive enough for you to want to sleep with them.   They will most likely complain about their drama filled ex who whines all the time just because they don’t pay child support.

I Like Romantic Walks on the Beach:

They simply have been told by someone that all women like this.  It’s amazing how many men include this line in their profile even though they live in land locked states.

Looking for a woman who is equally comfortable in jeans or a little black dress:

Look carefully, but the key word in this sentence is “little”.  Once again, this simply means, I want eye candy on my arm.  Often posted by men who haven’t been anywhere in their adult lives that would require a date to wear a cocktail dress.

I Love the Outdoors:

This is the most frequently used line in profiles of men of the Pacific Northwest.  Often the same men who post a photo of themselves proudly holding some enormous fish they’re about to gut.  If you’re into the outdoors and a camping trip up the McKenzie is your idea of a good time, this is your man.  If you have visions of romantic, candle lit dinners and the theatre he’s not a good match.

I Love Sports:

IT means just what it says so don’t respond unless you really are willing to sit through every single college and professional ball game, rain or shine and want your television constantly tuned to the sports channel!

I enjoy cuddling on the sofa and watching a movie:

This man is never going to get off that sofa.  If you’re looking for a couch potato…here’s your guy.

It used to be reading profiles and deciding whether or not to contact someone or respond to a wink or email was all you needed to do.  But nowadays most sites have enabled The Chat Feature!  Most men simply want to chat in the evening because they are sitting home alone bored.  Most of these men will keep you online for hours if they can.  Be aware, they may be chatting with several women at the same time as you.   They will most likely never mention getting together or going out.

Many men use the chat feature because they think it will lead to the late night phone call and some free phone sex with a stranger.  Personally, I have more respect for the men who actually pay for phone sex.  Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against phone sex and in many relationships, especially if you have a partner who travels a lot, it can be great fun.  But if I’m going to have phone sex outside of a committed relationship…I want to get the same rate of pay other sex callers do!  Interestingly, on most of the sites you can’t block anyone from chatting, only emailing, so no matter how many times you ignore them they may just keep coming back.

Like everything else in life online dating is a learning process and there are special social rules and nuances involved.  I hope this gives some of you who are thinking of trying it for the first time a little jump start on the process.

Good luck and happy hunting!

McKenzie James

July 25, 2011

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