D8 with the Man without a Face

Photos play an integral part in online dating success, and the photo of “Ed” left a lot to be desired. I could see a camel, a lot of sand and a little spot of a man riding the camel. It was the only picture “Ed” posted in his very well written profile. Because of his ability with words, I decided I would respond to his email.

“Ed” was a good conversationalist in the online chat, however he seemed to be very guarded and rather nervous. My experience told me that when a man exhibits extreme cautious communication, he’s most likely in a relationship and looking for some side action. “Ed” swore he was single; his challenge is that he is deeply closeted. His guard was up stronger than the Royal Guard on point at Buckingham Palace. In spite of holding his cards closely, I learned that we did have some things in common and he was within the age range of my dating pool.

Is the fact that “Ed” was so deeply in the closet a reason not to go on a date with him?

I agreed to meet him for a drink at the rooftop at the Peninsula, one of my favorite hotel bars in Manhattan. The spot of a man riding a camel turned out to be quite dashing, complete with a winning, welcoming smile. The conversation with “Ed” was very pedestrian- travel, food, and Manhattan neighborhoods. Nothing too deep, until I decided to grab my trusty shovel.

“So “Ed”, you seem to be rather guarded. Witness protection, huh?”

“Oh no… I’m just not out. Nobody knows I’m gay,” he responded with a nervous chuckle.

“You might be surprised. Good looking single man in his 50s can set off the “bet he’s gay” alarm”, I responded. “Besides, it really doesn’t matter because you’re on a gay dating site and it’s 2016 so there’s really no reason to be fearful.”

“I disagree. People think I’m straight, and I like that.”

“I see. And you like that. Is your name really “Ed”?”

He didn’t answer, which I believe was an answer. “Ed” didn’t budge in his resolve; he set up residency in his closet and he wasn’t coming out for me or for anyone.

an illustration of a faceless man in a business suit
Putting your best face forward on a date means allowing your date to see you both inside and out.

I FineLesson

As we wrap up Pride Month, it makes me sad that there are some gay people out there that still can’t publicly own the fact that they’re gay. It makes me sad to acknowledge that there are some people- regardless of sexual orientation- that aren’t fully embracing the magic that is them. It just makes me sad that people don’t embrace their own personal truth, whatever that truth may be.

If we can’t love ourselves, how can we fully expect to find someone to love us?

I know I’m sounding a little like RuPaul, but it’s a message that needs constant repeating. When beginning your journey in the dating scene, you need to do so with a full arsenal. By that, daters need to enter the arena knowing with certainty that they’re already in love with themselves. Daters need to embrace every facet of themselves, from their looks to their career. Self-love leads to confidence, and confidence is key.

Dating is really no different than selling. You’ve got to believe in the product that is you, or you’re going to remain on the shelf.

“Ed” obviously doesn’t fully believe in his product. He doesn’t accept himself on a basic level, and with that he will likely remain alone on the long term. Unless he finds someone identical in mindset, I believe he will likely remain single.

My hope is that all daters believe in the product that is them. Believe it so much that you deeply want to shout it from a rooftop. Trust me, it may take some time, but the perfect customer will hear.

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D8 with the Man (next) Whore

My last couple months have been dedicated to the adventures of moving and setting up a new home. Going on dates was back burnered for the main activities of organizing my new kitchen and painting every room. The only conversations I had with men were those burly straight guys at Home Depot on the ready with advice on paint, flooring and lighting. Granted, they were great guys displaying an exceptional commitment to my purchases but were not likely interested in enjoying the view of my antique chandelier that hangs right above my bed.

As spring temperatures quickly turned to that of summer, I received a notification from OK Cupid that I had a message from an interested suitor. Howard’s profile was very nice- a little different from others I had dated. He wasn’t tall, didn’t work in Manhattan, and owned a cat. He wasn’t the best looking or most stylish, but there was something about Howard that just made him… dare I say… exceptionally sexy. And here’s the kicker… Howard lives within walking distance from my new home.

Seeing that this very well may be the new gay version of Welcome Wagon, how could I not respond?

Howard and I exchanged a few flirty text messages; enough to prove that a date with him was definitely worth the time away from a paintbrush and unpacking boxes. We decided to meet up at my StarOffice- the Starbucks in Westfield.

“You live down the street, I’ll pick you up or you can pick me up,” suggested Howard.

“Great thinking,” I responded. “Happy to pick you up!”

I went to Howard’s at our agreed-upon time. It was an easy drive, seeing that I’ve driven by his house countless times three mornings a week at 5am on my way to spin class. Seeing Howard in person was very interesting. He was still not the most handsome, not the best dresser, and a little chubby. But man, he was pretty damned sexy.

“Where did you park?”

“Right there- on the street.”

“You could have parked in the driveway, silly.”

From doorway to car to Starbucks and back, Howard and I talked nonstop. He was very smart, funny, and didn’t miss a beat in the conversation. One beat in particular stood out as most interesting…

“So Howard, why do you think you’re still single?”

“I’m in no rush to settle down- when it happens, it happens. If it happens.”

“Good answer… but it can be lonely sometimes being single. How do you deal with that?”

“I never get lonely. I have lots of… friends.”

I thought to myself, I have lots of friends too. But based on his tone I think his “friends” may bring a little extra to the table than mine…

After a very pleasant goodnight kiss in his driveway, Howard invited me in. I declined because I knew exactly where that would lead. Howard understood.  I suggested we get together again. Howard totally agreed.

And I totally never heard from Howard again.

Cars-6
Be it oil stains on the driveway or notches on a bedpost, It’s up to you whether you want to be a conquest or a keeper.

I FineLesson

The interesting thing about a first date with the man next door is what happens when you don’t have a second date. You ask yourself, “What happens when I run into him at the local grocery?” or “What happens if we’re at the same neighborhood party?”. It could prove awkward, to say the least. Even without a post-first date run in, I still had to drive by his house three days a week.

What did I see three mornings a week at 5am? A driveway with a different car parked in it every time… sometimes multiple cars.

Seems Howard’s driveway sees more traffic than the exit ramp to Terminal C at Newark Liberty Airport.

Howard was in no hurry to settle down because he was getting more action than a Baldwin Brother in the 90’s. And you know what? Good for him! It was the perfect relationship for Howard, and he was obviously happy. Does Howard’s idea of a relationship mirror mine? Absolutely not, but it doesn’t make Howard a bad person.

When it comes to relationships, everyone has expectations and ideas as to what a relationship means. The key is finding that someone with expectations and ideas that come pretty damned close to yours.

Obviously Howard wasn’t a match, but thanks to the first thing he said on our date and his intention at the end, I know without doubt that I was given an invitation to park my car in his driveway. It was my choice not to park.

I’m more than happy with my resolve to keep driving until I find that parking place that says “Reserved”.

D8 with Mona Lisa Vito’s Brother

Tick… Tick… Tick…

We all have a friend that’s dying to have a baby. Some of those friends are in their mid-30s, and they feel the pressure of time on their shoulders as well as their unoccupied uterus. Married, single, in a committed relationship… it really doesn’t matter these days. What matters is that there’s no baby where a baby should be. This was never expressed so perfectly than by Marisa Tomei playing the role of Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny. If you close your eyes you can still see the image of her violently tapping her foot violently while saying, “My biological clock is TICKING LIKE THIS!”

Here’s a news flash for Mona Lisa Vito… it’s just not women with a ticking biological clock. It happens to men too.

I’ve always had a soft spot for tall, blond and beefy, and Troy answered that description to a tee. We met online, and our fantastic banter led to a lunch date. He was also 50, and like me enjoys daily gym visits and has aged quite well. It was no surprise that we’d choose grabbing a salad at Chopt for our date.

The conversation was a lot of fun. His family, my family; his career, my career; his friends, my friends… it was a seamless exchange and quite fun until… he revealed himself as Mr. Vito, Mona Lisa’s brother…

“I really want children. Soon.”

“Ok,” I said. “Adopting an older child?”

“No, biological. One of mine and one of my husband’s… at least two.”

This was not the time to take a bite of the Chopt pita bread with a swipe of Tex-Mex Ranch Dressing. I almost choked.

“I see. And you want to do this… soon?”

“Absolutely- we’re not getting any younger!”

I quickly changed the subject. It’s not that I don’t like children- I really do. My parental friends know their kids love spending time with me. That enjoyment is quite reciprocal. I know I would have made a kick-ass Pop. I would have excelled in fatherhood, however I never wanted to do it alone. Looking at my past relationships I would have never entertained bringing a kid into the mix. Neither of my Exs were not interested in having a family outside of the two of us, or they would have been absentee on every level to the point that I would be parenting alone.

But in this case with Troy, it wasn’t having a family that made me change the subject. It was the idea of having a date, a boyfriend, a fiancée, a marriage and a baby in the time it takes to prepare a package of Stove Stop Stuffing.

We said our goodbyes, and I never saw Troy again. We texted a couple times, but scheduling a second date just didn’t happen. Who knows… perhaps one day I’ll see him and his gorgeous husband pushing a pram. I just hope they’re happy.

Roll 2
Before you buy the T-shirt, better make sure it’s a perfect fit.

 

I FineLesson

Since I was a kid, I’ve been a major fan of chocolate pudding. My dear friend Alice turned me on to Kozy Shack (it’s pretty darned tasty), and before that I was a big supporter of Jello Instant. It wasn’t until I had chocolate pudding made from scratch that I was rather blown away by the richness and flavor.

If it takes time and stirring to make a perfect pudding, why would you take shortcuts on something as important as your relationship?

Regardless of the motivator, having an instant relationship isn’t a smart move if you want that relationship to have staying power. Building blocks and foundations aren’t created overnight, nor are they created in two weeks or a month. Relationships with the flavor of a homemade chocolate pudding require time and stirring.

There’s no reason to settle for a relationship with a good flavor when you have the tool of time on your side to make that flavor great.

This especially holds true if you’re planning to make pudding for four or more. If not for yourself and your partner, at least consider those building blocks for your future family. Nothing requires deep and sturdy roots more than a family tree- plant that tree and enjoy every moment watching it grow.

D8 with The Man Who Cried Uncle

There’s nothing better than a fix-up date. It’s like going to a potluck dinner in Ohio… you have no idea what you’re going to get but chances are the recipes include bacon and cheddar so it can’t be all that bad. When my friend Tammy introduced me to Thierry, I was intrigued by the accent for sure. His look wasn’t one that I really find attractive (you know… that gaunt “I just escaped a foreign prison” look), but he had a nice smile and was friendly. It did, however, take him a moment to put down his wine glass to shake my hand.

We met at a dinner my friend was hosting, so it was a scenario of “Craig meet Thierry, Thierry meet Craig… and here’s a glass of red and the appetizers are right here.”

Whether I liked it or not, I was going to be spending the next few hours with Thierry.

Appetizers preceded a very tasty soup, which led to an amazingly prepared dinner. I had no idea exactly how much wine Thierry had to drink prior to being presented with a meal that rivaled anything on the cover of Food and Wine. What was noticeable was that he was quite smashed. Of course, what does a smashed guy do? Keep drinking. He was more interested in drinking than contributing to the conversation, which ran the gamut from Manhattan real estate to yea or nay on Manolos for a first interview to the versatility of fruit. I learned that fruit was more versatile than I ever imagined. Thierry had no comments on any of these topics, not even on the fruit.

The dinner conversation was a lot of fun, partly because of the other guests and partly because I purposely didn’t sit next to the red wine infused fix-up. Overall, Thierry was a pleasant enough of a guy. Again, he didn’t contribute much to the conversation, but that all changed when the topic turned to relationships. That’s when Thierry decided to let loose.

“None of you have relationships. You just fuck around. You’re fooling yourselves. I’m done looking for love. DONE!” said Thierry as he poured more red in his glass. “Everybody is fake. Nobody is real. Tell me something… when was the last time one of the men you fuck actually did something romantic for you? Tell me!”

It was one of those moments you wished you were back at a potluck in Ohio, where nobody’s overtly drunk and the most awkward question is “Did you vote for Kasich?”.

At this point, it seemed to be an unspoken consensus between the rest of the table that ignoring Thierry was the new bill of fare. Nobody answered his question. I felt bad for our host and the other guests because this drunken giver-upper on love basically called us all sluts with no substance. I really wanted to ask him when the last time was that he did something romantic for someone else, but we all know that rational communication is impossible for drunks. And I’m willing to bet that in relationships, the only thing Thierry would give his partner was a bottle opener if the partner was lacking.

For the remainder of the night, Thierry kept quiet as he continued to drink. Once in a while he would utter something, but it was impossible to understand. Sloppy, unattractive and a really bad guest were just a few descriptors that came to mind as I watched him sit there on the verge of a full fledged pass-out.

When the evening came to an end, I did my best Edward R. Murrow and said, “Good night… and good luck.” as I walked behind Thierry.

He didn’t respond- he just took another sip of wine.

Uncle
Don’t be so quick to cry Uncle… tomorrow is another day, and another date!

1FineLesson

A reminder of the importance of a two drink maximum while on a date was never better illustrated. Granted, this wasn’t a “date”, but similar rules of decorum apply when in the home of a friend. I have no reason to believe that Thierry and a bottle behave no differently in any social situation.

The real lesson was found in looking straight into the eyes of the agony of defeat. Seeing that look of utter sadness; the expression of being beaten down by the lack of finding love. It was actually quite sad.

Life is all about choice. Even in the worst of situations, a positive person will realize that it’s only for now and will keep walking- if not running- to the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s what strong people do. Choosing to make lemonade when given a bushel of lemons takes work and grit, as opposed to the easier option of staring down the bushel in anger and despair as the lemons rot. Thierry chose the latter- he cried uncle and gave up.

Turning a negative into a positive takes determination. Are you up for the task?

We all have bad dates, good dates that never call for seconds, and other dating disappointments along the road. What we do with them and how we process the experience says volumes about us. If you stay the race and keep your eye on the prize, you’re sure to win.

There will be days you’ll want to throw in the towel and give up. Don’t do it.

Our friends at NASA said it best… failure is not an option. Five simple words to live by in all facets of life, especially while on your quest for 1FineD8.

D8 with Mikey, not Mike

There should be a warning label on email because opening email can be hazardous to your mental health. This was proven when I opened a missive sent by Mike.

Hey Craig- It’s Mike from Match.com. We spoke back in March, and we never had a date.                                 I’d like to fix that if you’re still on the market. Hope you are!

My gut reaction was that if a guy remembered me from eight months ago from an online dating profile I discontinued, I should give him a shot. After all, I did share my email address with him so I must have been somewhat interested.

So I gave him a shot.

Hi Mike- yes, I’m single and sure, I’d be happy to meet you for a drink!

I met Mike for a drink. He was a good-looking New Yorker with an interesting career and exceptionally well traveled. Like me, Mike was out of a long term relationship for a couple years and was open to pursuing a new commitment. He liked shopping at Lord and Taylor, uses his gym membership, and wouldn’t say no to a well-prepared burger.

And that’s where the similarities came to a screeching halt.

I was very happy to be on a date with someone that was not afraid of talking, but some of the things he was saying left me more frightened than visiting a haunted house filled with hungry zombies, a couple past dates and several Presidential candidates. Here’s a small sample of my fright night conversation.,,

I don’t date minorities- not a fan of their culture.

 I had this horrible date last week… an Israeli. I had no idea he was Jewish or I would have never gone on the date. Don’t date the Jews.

 I’m not a supporter of gay marriage- it’s not G-d’s will.

With each word spoken, Mike morphed into Mikey, the kid who hates everything.

As I continued to listen to his list of things he didn’t like, I couldn’t help but wonder how much fun he’d have celebrating Hanukkah with my friends and family, which include people with varied skin tones, accents and beliefs. I also wondered if he ever enjoyed Cuban food, sang along to a Four Tops song or thought about the federal and state taxation breaks that are extended to married couples. I had no choice but to respond, and did so in the kindest and most respectful way possible…

Well, Mike, I really don’t believe we have a lot in common. Marriage is my end game, I couldn’t imagine how boring my life would be without multicultural friends and exposure to their experiences, and like Bette Midler said in the movie “Stepford Wives”, I can spell “Big Jew” on my front lawn with pinecones.

Mikey’s date-ending response was short and sweet, delivered after taking a swig of his Bud Light.

 “It seems we’re on the same bridge, but in two separate cars going in opposite directions.”

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the first time he said those words, and I highly doubt it will be the last.

You have to try a lot of cereal before you can find the right flavor and texture that will make your mornings perfect.
You have to try a lot of cereal before you can find the right flavor and texture that will make your mornings come to Life.

1Gr8Lesson

One aspect of dating that is not fun is the disappointment of a first date that doesn’t lead to a second. The disappointment that comes with not making a connection can cut you like a switchblade.

Disappointment, unfortunately, comes with the turf.

The reality of being on the dating scene is that you have to be ready to accept disappointment. You have to feel it and move on to the next opportunity. Just because you experienced a near miss frog kiss doesn’t mean that your mission to find the one is derailed by one lousy date. I’m sure Mikey from cereal commercials of yore had to endure several bowls of cereal before he found the one that gave Life.

When you’re on the dating scene, you’ve got to remember it’s a numbers game- the more you date, the chances increase that you’ll meet the one sooner than later. You can’t allow a series of bad dates discourage you because you really have no control over what your date is bringing to the table. What you can control is how you respond to the disappointment- don’t allow it to take hold of you and plan another date. Who knows… your next one might just be two scoops of greatness.

D8 with the Snazzy Sweater

At the beginning of Summer, I made the decision and the suggestion to consider taking a break from online dating and try to meet people in “real life, in-person situations”. Summer has turned to Autumn and as I slowly trade my shorts for my sweaters, I’m continuing the offline mission.

A recent Friday night of mine was booked with Jackson. I met this man at Gym Bar, a Manhattan hangout complete with a pool table, televisions set to sports channels and men in outfits ranging from suits to workout attire. When it comes to meeting a diverse group of men, a gay sports bar is a sure ticket that will hopefully lead to Dateville.

Jackson definitely stood out in a crowd. With a full beard and standing at 6’5”, Jackson was an eye catcher, and a poster child for lumberjack hotness. We had a nice conversation- definitely not the flirtiest or the funniest- but it was nice conversation. Maybe it was the sparkle in his eye or maybe the hint of a Southern accent, but there was something definitely interesting about him. He asked me to dinner, and of course my answer was yes.

As I was walking on that crisp Friday night to the restaurant to meet him, I thought about our past conversation. I could remember very little…. was this a bad sign?

Jackson was every bit as handsome as I remembered. And tall… very, very tall. We sat down, ordered our meal, and the waiter walking away was our cue to begin an exciting and stimulating conversation. Within two minutes I was bored.

I made several attempts to get the conversation going. “Tell me about your job”… “What are your favorite things to do in Manhattan?”… “Any fun summer vacations?”… His answers to all were rather dull, lacking enthusiasm and personality.

It wasn’t until I asked “How long have you lived in New York?” that things got somewhat interesting. Jackson arrived in the 90’s too, and this took our conversation to Manhattan of the 90’s, which is always interesting to me. We talked about restaurants like Universal Bar and Grill and bars like Splash and Private Eyes. When I mentioned Club USA, he smiled and said that he was a bouncer there.

Figures he was a bouncer- tall, good-looking and a man of very few words.

When the waiter asked if we wanted to try one of their pumpkin spice desserts, I said no and asked for the check. We paid and left. Jackson gave me hug and headed East and I made my way Uptown. It wasn’t said, but like the cool breeze that was bringing Fall to Manhattan, it was obvious that this was in no way a love connection.

Lots of sweaters from which to choose... sometimes you have to try on several before finding the perfect fit.
Lots of sweaters from which to choose… Sometimes you have to try on several before finding the perfect fit.

1Gr8Lesson

Dating is a lot like shopping for sweaters. Sometimes we see a wool sweater with a fantastically attractive design. It beckons us to try it on, and when we do we discover the sweater fits a little on the baggy side. Then we spot a nice blue V-neck, a total classic yet simple staple that never goes out of style.

Do we walk by the V-neck or do we give it a chance?

I wanted a date with Jackson just because he was great looking. I was guilty of trying on the amazing sweater, and at the time I made no apologies for it. I still make no apologies, even though my choice in sweater made me itch from boredom. By choosing the great looking Jackson, it made me wonder if I overlooked a sweater that might not have been as snazzy but may have been more my style.

It’s easy to get caught up in the exterior appearance of a potential date. Who wouldn’t want to walk into a party with a model or an athlete? The challenge is finding that person with the external looks that jazz us, but also with the smarts and the heart that keeps us interested.

The next time you’re “date shopping”- be it online or out in the field, keep in mind the whole package of a potential date. Maybe your future date is the snazzy sweater, or perhaps if you keep looking through the displays you’ll find that classic V-neck that’s just the right fit.

1FineArticle… SW Experts!

Kindly check out my latest article on SW Experts!  I’m sure you’ve had a friend or seen a celebrity that looks amazing after their break-up.  Do you think their transformation was based on revenge?  Or do you think their appearance is the result of the hard work they put into getting their life back?  Take a look and see my perspective!

Did a break-up lead you to a new look or new fitness routine?  Let me know!

And for updates, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!  @CraigRogersNYC  And I’ll follow you back because I want to know all about your 1FineD8!

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BREAK-UP-TO-BOMBSHELL-IS-IT-REALLY-REVENGE

D8 with General Eisenhower

I admit it… I’m a Meghan Trainor fan. Her songs have that retro 50’s vibe that just takes you back to a happy Fonzie-filled home-baked cakey place. Her cover of Like I’m Gonna Lose You with John Legend is sure to be the love song of choice this New Year’s Eve.

I’m a pretty nostalgic guy, and when it comes to relationships I definitely gravitate towards a partner that values family, fidelity and what it means to be a good friend. Those 1950’s standards of behavior are paramount to me, and my hope is that I find a partner that holds the same beliefs. When I met Tony at Gym Bar in Manhattan, I could tell in the first 20 minutes of conversation that he was cut from the same Atomic Era cloth. When it was time to leave, I asked him to dinner the following night.

Having a date with a 21st century man with mid-20th century sensibilities… what could possibly go wrong?

We decided to have a New Jersey-based dinner date because Tony was a born and bred Jersey Boy who has never lived outside of Bergen County. I already knew that he came from a big Italian family, and he shared over those first drinks that they want him to “get married already”. Hearing that, it was no surprise that Tony would ask me my “intentions” when it came to dating and what my idea of a perfect relationship entailed. Before I could swallow my swig of Merlot, Tony decided to answer his own question.

He began performing his cover of Dear Future Husband, but his lyrics were slightly different:

  • I want a picket fence, suburban life. Manhattan terrifies me.
  • You will never go to a bar alone or with your friends, there’s too much temptation to cheat.
  • We could go to a bar together, but I prefer not. Sports bar? Never!
  • A regimented life is best; Monday is laundry night, Tuesday is movie night, Wednesday night is…

I forget the rest of the days of the week because I was more horrified than a teenaged camper being chased by Freddie Krueger. I was going to tell him that temptation, if desired, can be found at a grocery store or a funeral home, but Tony continued singing…

  • If you want to see your friends, you can invite them over for dinner- you cook. You’ll cook a lot.
  • When you leave work, you come straight home unless you tell me first.
  • I come from a big family and all holidays will be spent with them.
  • We can host Game Night for our friends!

It was that moment when my present date’s desire for an Eisenhower-era relationship of the past became my potential prison warden of the future.

At the end of his song, I did something I’ve never done on a date. I started with a little startled jump, then reached into my pocket and retrieved my cell phone. I looked at it, made a face of horror (considering the situation was simple to pull off) and faked a text message.

“Oh no… Damn! Brinks just texted and my alarm went off at the house. I need to go.”

And with that, I escaped the potential jail cell called a relationship with Tony.

Ricky Ricardo was a 50's man who could cook and croon, and his wife didn't control his every move.
Ricky Ricardo was a 50’s man who could cook and croon, and his wife didn’t control his every move.  Nor did he control hers.

 

1FineLesson

Any of us with an EX would most likely say that “if we knew then what we know now, we would have never gone on a second date with the schmuck”. Some say that you really don’t know a potential mate until you’re at least a year into the relationship. Others say it actually takes longer. By putting his cards on the table straight out of the gate, I learned that his idea of a perfect retro relationship didn’t jive with mine. Tony spared me a future break-up speech I surely would have given down the road.

Dating should be fun. Dating should be interesting. Dating should be sexy. Dating is a vetting process- no shoulds about it.

As a basic rule of thumb, I suggest the first couple dates be fun, casual and flirty. Of course you’ll learn some things during these dates, but the important thing you’re learning is if there’s mutual attraction and chemistry. If those dates give the green light for more dates, then you’ll start to learn the things I learned on my first date with Tony.

And if their love song of what a relationship is to them doesn’t harmonize with yours, there are plenty of other singers on the radio. You’ll find the right recording artist and you’ll make a fantastic album together!

D8 with One Tasty Buckeye

As my milestone birthday approached, several friends questioned me as to how I wanted to celebrate. A large party really isn’t my style, so I suggested a few small dinner parties with various groups of friends. That’s exactly what came to pass; with one very special party I gave myself as a gift- dinner with family and friends in Ohio.

It seemed like a good idea to celebrate a milestone where it all started. Having New York in my blood since 1990, one thing hasn’t changed- you can take the boy out of Ohio, but never the Ohio out of the boy.

Returning to Ohio is always a personal recharge for me, and this trip was no exception. Seeing friends from high school reminded me how fortunate I am to have the childhood and high school years I was blessed to experience. Seeing my parents in Ohio was a bonus because they were visiting the Buckeye State too. Celebrating my milestone with these people meant the world, as their presence in my daily life was pretty slim outside of Facebook and phone calls. It really was the best self-present ever.

But when it comes to a present-present, any self-respecting New Yorker from Ohio won’t leave the Buckeye State without buying some Ohio State gear. I already purchased some shirts and a great new cap, but there’s always room in the suitcase for one more Ohio State something, so I stopped at one last mall before driving East. As I walked out with my shopping bag, I spotted a local coffee shop that needed to be visited.

Little did I know that I was about to get more than a cup of coffee.

Seems that another man was also in the mood for a coffee, and we walked in together. We traded smiles, and I noticed that there was no wedding ring. I was totally smitten, and I could tell he was checking me out, too. He ordered his beverage, then nodded towards me and said to the clerk, “and whatever he’s having.”

Of course I was obligated to thank him for the coffee, and very much wanted to do so. He asked me to join him, which I was sort of obligated to and very, very much wanted to do.

About ninety minutes, several laughs, and the discovery of many things in common later, I was 100% hooked on this fellow caffeine addict. It was as if time stopped and dropped me in a place where I was supposed to be. The lucky part was that my unexpected coffee date felt the exact same way. We both were single, both were looking for a relationship, and both had a hankering for an afternoon dark roasted coffee treat.

The 91st minute brought me back to reality- I just met an incredible man that exceeds every expectation regarding a future partner. I just experienced what was one of the best dates ever, and it was one that I didn’t even plan. And the incredible man just happens to live in the Buckeye State. And you know what? I didn’t give a damn where this man lives; all that mattered was the moment and that I was sharing it with him.

As I got into my car and started driving East, I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. From start to finish, my birthday pilgrimage to the “motherland” was more incredible than I ever imagined. I wasn’t across the State Line when I received a call from my Buckeye just to check in and see how the drive was going. He reiterated how much fun he had with me, and that there would be a second date without doubt. Of course I would have been delighted at the prospect of a second date the next day, but that wasn’t in the cards. Disappointing yes, but it was impossible to be sad because of the unexpected card I was dealt today.

With one lucky deal from the deck, a Tasty Buckeye was officially in my world.

Making Buckeyes is a must during the holiday season, but my 1FineD8 left me with only Valentining on my mind.
Making Buckeyes is a must during the holiday season, but my 1FineD8 left me with only Valentining on my mind.

1FineLesson

I have a lot of friends currently in the dating scene, and at times they get very frustrated over bad dates, good dates that don’t like them back, or no dates at all. I’m in the same boat, and I can tell you with 100% honesty that dating is work. Dating can also be disappointing and frustrating. The key to success in the world of dating is simply not to give up… and to keep your eyes on the prize regardless of the “now”.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in finding the perfect date that when one just happens to appear, we’re too preoccupied to see what’s in front of us.

When it came to celebrating my birthday, it was a grand slam of perfection. I was more than happy with seeing the people I got to see and I was even fortunate to get a couple amazing gifts too. But perhaps the standout gift was the one that had no price tag. It’s the gift that can’t be found at Williams-Sonoma or Bloomingdales.com.

I received the gift of chance.

Gifts of chance can happen anywhere, and as daters we need to remain open to all opportunities- even the unexpected ones. Especially the unexpected ones! Granted (like in my situation with the Buckeye) unexpected dating can be messy and perhaps problematic distance-wise, but can also provide you with a feeling like no other. Is it worth riding out to see were it goes? I believe so, and time will tell.

Keep those eyes open, and your heart as well. You never know when you’ll get an unexpected serving of something magical.

1FineArticle… SW Experts!

Kindly check out my latest article on SW Experts!  Have you ever considered being part of a throuple?  If twice is nice, then what happens if your relationship involves three?  Here are four must-knows before you buy two Valentines!

What are your thoughts on being in a polyamorous relationship?  Let me know!

And for updates, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!  @CraigRogersNYC  And I’ll follow you back because I want to know all about your 1FineD8!

Throuple

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