Category Archives: #datingandage

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 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 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.

1FineWebsite- swEXPERTS!

I’m so happy to announce that I’m contributing to a FANTASTIC website, swEXPERTS!  This UK-based site is a one-stop resource for all things relationship.  From processing a break-up to dating to sex, swEXPERTS is a fantastic place to learn some points of view that may just speak to you!

Here are links to my first three articles for swEXPERTS- please check them out and let me know what you think!  For updates, please follow me on Twitter (@craigrogersNYC) and swEXPERTS (@SWEXPERTS)!

Enjoy!

10Finger

http://www.theswexperts.com/the-ten-fingered-cheat/

PicImperfect

http://www.theswexperts.com/picture-imperfect/

time-machine

http://www.theswexperts.com/time-machine/

D8 with Dolly the Sheep

My four-year college experience included setting my class schedule around the NBC soap Another World. I was hooked on the happenings of Bay City with its glamorous citizens like Felicia Gallant, Donna Love and Iris Cory Carrington Delaney Bancroft Wheeler. In one plot twist, it turned out that Donna Love’s sister Marley was actually her daughter, and that her daughter had a long lost twin named Vicki! Talk about a scandal rocking the Bay City Country Club- it was as if Marley had been cloned, just like Dolly the Sheep.

I received a Match.com notification that a New Yorker named Alan was interested in me. When I opened up his profile and saw his picture, I couldn’t help but think of Marley and Vicki. Looking into Alan’s blue eyes, the red hair with flecks of white… it was like discovering that my favorite Ex had a long lost twin, or had been cloned, just like Dolly the Sheep.

What is it saying if I date a man that’s a dead ringer for my Ex?

Alan had a really entertaining and well-written profile. On paper, he was definitely someone I’d be interested in meeting, but those pictures! The similarity was uncanny. I decided to verify that my suspicions were correct by forwarding his picture to my two best friends… and my mom. 100% confirmation was received. Knowing that the likeness wasn’t in my head, I had a choice to make- to date or not to date Dolly the Sheep.

I decided to give Alan a go, a decision from which there was no turning baaaa-ck.

We met at a cute Italian place in the Village. He was unbelievably friendly. Funny and smart too. So far, this look-alike had a lot in common with my Ex. As the conversation continued I discovered the myriad of differences that somehow infused Alan during the cloning process. Alan was a Type-A workaholic and very intense. The quiet strength that my Ex possesses was replaced by Alan’s loud and boisterous dialogue. This was evident when we discussed our favorite Broadway shows. Alan was very quick to say “Loved it!” or “Hated it!” whereas my Ex has the skill sets to explain why the production was a hit or a miss, and can do so with accuracy, precision and fact. Much like Vicki and Marley, and probably likely Dolly the Goat and her “parent”, the two individuals were just that- totally individual.

The bottom line- Alan may have a similar look, but the differences between he and my Ex were numerous. In all, my date with Alan was a good one. There was a spark that warranted a second date, which in fact happened.   And that has led to a third, and I’m sure the dates will continue. I’m not sure where this will lead, but I’m sure of one thing. If I allowed myself to discount Alan based on his looks, I would have missed out on meeting a great guy.

Would you date someone that looks a lot like your Ex?  Join the discussion on Twitter!  @CraigRogersNYC
Would you date someone that looks a lot like your Ex? Join the discussion on Twitter! @CraigRogersNYC

1Gr8Lesson

When we have the opportunity to date someone that looks a lot like our Ex, I believe the trepidation we face is that people will think we’re simply in re-casting mode. We’re afraid that people may think that we haven’t gotten over the original so we simply found a stunt double. In some cases that may be the reality, but oftentimes it isn’t. Perhaps the similarity in look is just a total coincidence, like my situation with Alan.

The book covers may look similar, but the story content will be drastically different.

Getting to know Alan was a lot of fun, and the more I learned about him the more I realized that he was so not my Ex. Two very different personalities and two very different backgrounds; the clone may have similar physical attributes but once you dug beneath the surface, the differences were obvious. So much so in fact that the more I continued looking at Alan, the more he looked like Alan and less like my Ex. Sure, the hair was the same, the face was similar, but the sparkle in Alan’s eye was quite different than that of my Ex (and believe me, my Ex’s eyes sparkle!).

I should have had my library card revoked if I turned down the opportunity to check out this new book.

If you find yourself in this position, I suggest giving Dolly the Goat a chance. The sooner you get past the look, the sooner you can dive in to learning about the person. Who knows- it could lead to creating a whole new chapter!

D8 with Sizzle Mafizzle

When I was a kid, Sunday morning always started with the smell of bacon frying. I was propelled from my to bed to the kitchen by that beautiful scent. My mother would greet me as she made our breakfast, but the real sight to behold was the bacon in the pan, sizzling with a goodness that was soon to grace my palate.

If anything, my love for bacon increased as I became an adult. So has my love for all things that sizzle. One such recent sizzle I encountered was courtesy of Match.com in the form of NJSteve63.

One of the first lessons learned from online dating is that there’s a systematic protocol regarding communication with a potential date. For example, on Tinder, conversation only begins if both parties agree to a mutual interest. On Match.com, conversation may begin with a “wink”, or an email may be sent to someone that may or may not be interested in you.

On Match.com, I noticed NJSteve63’s profile, a very intriguing one belonging to a very handsome guy. NJSteve63 had both a way with words and a home base that was geographically desirable. I could have waited to see if NJSteve63 would reach out to me, but I decided the profile was too good, warranting a first attempt on my part. I opted to skip the wink and go straight to the email…

Hey Steve- nice profile, great pictures, and I’d certainly like to learn more about you! If you like my profile, drop me a line!

Sure enough, Steve quickly replied.

   Hi Craig! Thanks for emailing- I really like your profile, and you’ve got great legs!

And with that, I was in an email correspondence with NJSteve63. I quickly learned that he was originally from Manhattan, a graduate of Horace Mann, and worked in publishing. He also had a sense of humor that was stellar. The conversations were light, fun, funny and even sometimes serious. Emails were exchanged throughout the day, and the next day… and the next.

As the witty banter continued with Steve, I knew the next step in communication must be taken…

   You’re definitely a fun guy to chat with- want to take it offline and on-phone?

I gave Steve my number, and he responded by giving me his, telling me that he’d call later in the day. He did, and our first conversation lasted an hour, followed by another the next evening that matched in duration. I was really enjoying getting to know Steve. I also knew that I really, really wanted to seal the deal on a first date.

Starting with the emails on Match, followed by a phone conversation and texting, the next step in communication was to set the first date- that’s the whole point of this online dating thing, right?

I sent Steve a text, asking for the date…

I was thinking we should meet for drink after work- does Wednesday or Thursday work for you?

…and he quickly responded,

   Damn- both nights are booked with work. How about Friday?

This is good… he’s definitely interested in meeting! We planned on a Friday Happy Hour at Gym Bar, a fun little place in Chelsea that was a perfect backdrop for meeting my Sizzle.

My Sizzle went to Fizzle when I received a 5pm text from Steve saying that he couldn’t make it. He said that he was held up at his office, and that we could maybe reschedule for another time. Maybe, he said. He added that he was going on a two-week business trip next week and would be really busy when he returned.

“No worries” was my response. I told him to hit me up when he’s available. As soon as I typed the message, I knew I’d never hear from him again.

I was right.

Sometimes a sizzle can last, and other times the sizzle is short-lived.
Sometimes a dating sizzle fizzles out.  Don’t let it stop you from getting back into the pan- your sizzle is out there!

1Gr8Lesson

Perhaps like you, when I entered into the online dating arena, I did with pure intention and pure heart. My endgame was to find the one, and online dating is simply a tool to achieve the goal. Luckily, most online daters are of the same mindset, but sometimes you encounter a few with intentions that might not be the same.

This is simply a hazard of the game.

Considering that Steve and I had a great rapport, I was the one that pushed for the face-to-face date. I really believe that if I didn’t, we’d still be in that stage of just an online chat. Steve may have eventually asked for a real date, but my gut tells me that he was happy with just the online chatting.

Maybe Steve wasn’t honest in his presentation about being available for a relationship? Maybe Steve wanted nothing more than a chat? How can a Sizzle turn into a Fizzle?

Maybe there’s just not an answer.

There is no point in wasting time wondering about the “why” or the “how” or the “if”. It is what it is, and you have better things to do.

It’s very easy to let one dating mishap derail your dating train. Please don’t fall into that trap. Don’t let one bad egg keep you from eating breakfast. Get out that pan, heat it up, and before you know it you’ll be enjoying a new and wonderful sizzle!

D8 with the 76th Trombone

Since the dawn of tabloid time, we’ve read and sometimes witnessed celebrity May/December relationships. Dyan Cannon and Cary Grant paved the Age-Difference Highway so others like Alec Baldwin, Calvin Klein and Mary Kate Olsen could navigate freely with their partners in spite of decades of age differentiation.

Lately, a lot of press has been given to actor Stephen Fry and his engagement to Elliott Spencer. We have no idea where they are registered or who is catering the reception. What we do know is that there’s a 30-year age difference. What we also know is that some perceive Fry as a creepy old man and Spencer as a gold digging opportunist. The Age Difference Highway may give these couples a passage, however it’s one that’s paved in questioning, doubt and speculation by others.

I admit, I would be guilty of holding the same perception about couples with an extreme age difference, if it weren’t for the 76th Trombone.

When I met Albert for coffee, my first reaction was that he looked a bit older than he did in his pictures from Match.com. Out of the gate, he told me that he was 76 years old. Of course, I quickly did the math- a 27-year age difference. I smiled, took a sip of my Venti, and said, “Not a problem, Albert.” This of course was a true statement for coffee… perhaps not so much for a potential boyfriend.

As we conversed, I learned a lot about this man. With 76 years under his belt, he had a lot to say. A retired Naval officer, he has lived all over the world, giving him a very interesting perspective on a variety of topics. Albert had a great laugh and a sparkle in his eyes. What made Albert most charming was that he was really interested in what I had to say. He listened, was very quick with a comeback (which is an attribute that always holds my attention) and he had the gift of remembering things I said and bringing them up later.

As far as first dates go, I had a splendid time with Albert. As I drove home, I thought about his laugh. If you closed your eyes and just listened, his laugh didn’t come with an age. It was a sound that could come from any trombone, be is the 45th or the 55th. If you remove the number 76 and judge Albert for Albert, there was no question that he scored high on the first date rating scale.

I then thought about the age difference- 27 years. Granted, our age gap was barely less than that of Stephen Fry and Elliott Spencer, but it was more than anyone I’ve ever dated. Is that something I could handle? I thought about other couples driving on the Age-Difference Highway, like Stephen Sondheim and Jeff Goldblum. Their cars seem to be fully operational, and their journeys appear to be happy ones. Perhaps I too should not be so wrapped on the model year and just place my focus on the ride.

By the time I reached home, I had received a text from him asking for a second date. Two hours later, I received an email from Albert saying that he could really see us in a relationship. The next day, I received another email inviting me to meet his friends over dinner and to spend the night at his place.

The 76th Trombone was playing a song I’ve heard before… same as the 48th and the 53rd Trombones… he wanted an instant relationship.

Albert was definitely rushing things, which was a really big turn-off and typically a deal breaker for me. It was at that point I realized that it wasn’t just the laugh that was ageless. The need for an instant relationship also knows no age. Albert at 76 or 46 or even 86 most likely wasn’t the guy for me. I did enjoy a second date with him, and I’m happy to say that I definitely gained a new friend.

Don't let the parade pass you by, be it with any of the trombones.
Don’t let the parade pass you by, be it with any of the trombones.

1Gr8Lesson

The 76th Trombone opened my eyes to my own judgment about couples with significant age difference.

If you question the validity of a relationship just because of an age difference, you might be alone in questioning. The participants in the relationship aren’t questioning- they’re too busy living.

There are certain aspects of our daily that need to be judged by dates, like dairy products. If milk is past it’s prime, it’s easy to discard. People aren’t dairy, and judging them by an implied shelf life may just cost you a great experience. It may even cost you the opportunity of a great love. In the end, I just didn’t have enough things in common with Albert to make a go of it as boyfriends. But if we did, I can guarantee I would have veered onto the Age Difference Highway with the abandon of a warm summer’s drive.

In The Music Man, Marian the Librarian most likely never thought she would end up with someone like Professor Hill. She opened her eyes and her heart to someone way outside of her dating box. Be it age, background, or demographic, if you close your eyes and just listen to the laugh, the sound may lead to birds singing and bells ringing. You just have to take the blinders off, get rid of the “what will others think” and be open to what YOU think and feel!

If you do, you might just find love all around.

D8 with the Man Who Slew too Much

One of the features Tinder provides users is the tie-in to Facebook. When you match with someone, you can review mutual friends and get the 411 from them about your potential date. This is exactly what I did prior to my date with Edgar.

The general consensus from our four mutual friends was that I should go out with him, however it didn’t go unnoticed that their level of enthusiasm wasn’t exactly high. In spite of that, I agreed to meet Edgar for a drink.

He arrived before me, and grabbed us a great table. Edgar was a good-looking man with a very welcoming smile. Our conversation got off to a great start; we discussed current events, hobbies, and a mutual love of antiquing. We ordered a second drink, and continued to have a really great time… until he mentioned our mutual Facebook friends as outed by Tinder. His descriptions of our mutual friends kind of took me by surprise. I was given a chorus of negativity, including the following lyrics:

“Oh yeah, I know them. They run in a fast crowd, do drugs and are rather slutty.”
“He’s an idiot. Seriously, a fucking idiot.”
“Like that one has a personality? Please!”

If Edgar described his “friends” in this manner, I couldn’t imagine how he described his enemies. Unfortunately, I soon found out.

“If you know (this one) then you must know (that one)” was the next conversation Edgar initiated. Each time I answered with a yes, he explained how this person or that person was a loser. In less than 30 minutes, Edgar managed to verbally slay about every mutual contact we shared.

We’ve all had red flags on a date, but this red flag was waiving bigger and brighter than anything Betsy Ross could imagine.

As the red flag waived proudly in the Westfield, New Jersey sky, Edgar continued his verbal assassination of more friends:

“That one comes from a real messed up family”
“That bitch hasn’t worked in years!”
“I thought about dating him, but I don’t want to catch something.”

At that point, I officially caught something… an airborne disease of disgust with Edgar as the Ground Zero source. I didn’t need the help of a doctor to cure this malaise, for the antidote was simple and easily administered to any self-respecting Leo…

“Well Edgar, (this one) is actually quite smart, (that one) is one of the most charming people I know, and as for (those two), if they choose to have an open relationship and enjoy a little weed once in a while it’s their business just as it’s my business not to judge it nor participate in it. And for the record, Edgar, (that one’s) family is a pretty groovy one, and her aunt and my cousin’s father-in-law have a business history of successful collaboration.”

Edgar just stared at me, and for the first time on our date was at a total loss for words. As we said our brief goodbye, I wondered what words of venom Edgar would use to describe me… and I just didn’t care. No matter what, I would be in good company with my Facebook friends as opposed to my not-so-fine date.

And as for Tinder, I’m thinking the less shared Facebook friends the better!

Don't let words be the weapons that sabotage your first date!
Don’t let words be the weapons that sabotage your first date!

Continue reading D8 with the Man Who Slew too Much

D8 with Goofy, Charming, Aladdin and Doc

It’s a world of laughter and a world of tears,
It’s a world of hopes, and a world of fears…

Let’s focus on the fear for a moment.

I recently had a date with a gentleman named Bart. He was a musician in his early fifties, well known in his industry and had a large circle of friends and collogues. While enjoying a cocktail at Ritz Bar and Lounge, a fantastic Midtown venue, the conversation flowed like a well-written song. We reached the topic of vacation destinations. Bart lit up like the Enchanted Castle at night as he told me of his one and only option.

“I only vacation at Disneyworld!” exclaimed Bart, as happy as one of the Dwarves when Snow White rings the dinner bell. “I’ve gone every year since I was 19!”

I did the math. At 53, Bart has been to Disneyworld 34 times.

Bart is one of the handfuls of men I have met lately that are obsessed with all things Disney. By obsessed, I mean these are men that can sing every lyric to every Disney song. Men who not just know the plot line of every Disney story, but also can tell you the scenery, costuming and year it was released on DVD. These are men that are the first to pre-order the DVD of Frozen and the last to leave the theatre when they see Aladdin… for the fourth time. And when it comes to vacation, you can bet Cinderella’s pumpkin coach that they’re on a flight to Orlando dreaming of their check-in at the Grand Floridian because last time they stayed at the Yacht Club.

From my past experience with DisneyHolics, I knew that I had to be exceptionally careful in my approach.

“It’s the only place you go to on vacation?” I asked.

“Absolutely! Why go anywhere else?” replied Bart. “The resorts have everything you could want. When were you there last?”

This is when I remembered… the Disney obsessed believe everyone has taken a hit of Tinker Bell’s Magic Fairy Dust and feels the exact same way about the Magic Kingdom.

“I’ve never been,” I said with a smile. I might as well have told Bart that I singlehandedly drowned a litter of kittens.

“That’s just stupid- how can you miss out on this? It’s magical!” he said with undying enthusiasm combined with just a shred of judgmental disgust. “Where do you like to vacation?”

“I love the beach. When I think Florida, I think Lauderdale,” was my honest answer.

“Eww. Don’t like the beach. It’s hot and dirty,” responded Bart. “If things work out with us, I’m taking you to Disneyworld.”

That was probably the scariest thing a date has ever suggested, and I’ve heard a lot of suggestions. Disney is just not my thing. It’s a fantastic necessity if you have children. Not being a parent, a Disney vacation has never been on my radar. And he was very quick to nix the idea of the beach and the idea of relaxing seaside or poolside working on a tan and enjoying that Golden Sun.

There is just one moon
and one golden sun.
And a smile means friendship to everyone…

Let’s focus on that friendship smile for the moment as I plan my date-exit strategy.

It turns out planning my exit strategy wasn’t necessary- all it took was my answer to the following question… “Have you seen Frozen?”

“No, I missed that one,” I replied.

There was almost no need for a verbal response from Bart. His reaction of shock, combined with disbelief and horror could only be paralleled to finding out that I made a coat from the kittens I killed earlier and wore it out barhopping with Lindsey Lohan.

“I really don’t think we have much in common, Craig,” replied Bart.

At last- Bart said something that I could get on board with 100%.

“I think you’re right, and that’s totally OK,” I said sporting that friendship smile.

And with that, the date was over. I decided to take advantage of the warm, fall evening and walk for a few blocks. I wasn’t the only one taking in the beauty of Manhattan on this warm fall night- many were hitting the streets just like me. Smiles and skyline everywhere I looked. I realized that I was already in my own Magic Kingdom and somewhere in this enchanted land my own beach loving, HGTV watching and bourbon drinking Prince Charming is waiting for me.

MM

1Gr8Lesson

Being different is one of great things that make humans human. Different looks, different likes and different opinions can really lead to not just a fine date, but also a spectacular relationship. There’s nothing more fun than sharing points of view, and sometimes your own point of view may change based on the insight that others provide. Sometimes, differences are learning opportunities, whereas sometimes the differences are obstacles.

Sometimes there’s just one difference too many.

A love for Disney- even one that borderlines obsession- is not the strongest example of a deal-breaker difference but was one for me nevertheless. In my case, I know I could never be the partner Bart needs because there’s no way I’m spending valuable vacation time in a Disney park on a yearly basis. There’s also no way I’m curling up on the couch with him on a snowy Saturday watching The Little Mermaid for the 18th time. And I’m sure he would be just as enthusiastic at the prospect of a beach week in Waikiki or a marathon of America’s Next Top Model or Pawn Stars.

Some differences are much more serious, involving religion, politics, and whether or not a marriage is in the cards. As a responsible dater with our eyes on the prize of a lasting relationship, we need to keep our eyes open to the differences that could be deal breakers.

When a difference becomes a roadblock, it’s best to take a detour and get a new map.

Think about the difference in question and ask yourself, “Is this something I can live with… every day.” If the answer is yes, then chances are it’s not the biggest difference after all.

If the answer is no, then ask yourself if the entire “body of work” this person brings to the table makes the difference something you can live with every day. If the answer is still no, then it’s time to move on.

We know the road to “Happily Ever After” isn’t going to be easy, but discovering major differences in the beginning and making decisions based on them early on is much easier than suffering the ramifications of eating a poisoned apple.

D8 with Two Dicks

Elizabeth Taylor married Dick twice. Samantha Stevens had one Darrin, but Elizabeth Montgomery worked with the two Dicks that played him. Even the 2014 Stanley Cup Final had two opposing Forwards, both were Richards. Without trying, I too had a date with Dick… and a date with Dick.

Let’s start with the second Dick and work our way back to the first…

Dick was a very nice man I met online. We chatted for a couple days, and planned a date for the weekend. Seeing that Dick was New Jersey based, I suggested we grab a glass of wine at Ferraro’s in Westfield, which is a great Italian restaurant with really good food. Dick was adamantly against Ferraro’s and anything in Westfield.

“Can’t do Westfield- my Ex lives there, and I don’t want us running into him,” explained Dick, who seemed to be very nervous by what’s in my opinion the perfect East Coast town.

“Ok… we can meet somewhere else. Where would you like to meet?” I replied.

“There’s a diner in Plainfield that’s nice. We can get cake.” was his response.

Not exactly my idea of a hip and happening location for a first date, but the idea of cake seemed to put Dick at ease. I met him the following night for cake, coffee and a very interesting conversation.

To say Dick was timid would be an understatement. He was very soft spoken, almost borderline meek. It was difficult to get him talking. I got him talking about his dog, his house, and a little about his career. The conversation really got interesting was when I asked him if he likes sports, and if he follows college football.

“Oh no, I don’t like football. Too rough. I do play tennis. My Ex and I played tennis a lot.”

And so it starts… why do people talk about their Ex on a first date with someone new?

Dick continued, “My Ex is a really good player. He played in college and almost went pro.”

With that, my inner Hardy Boy took over and I started to connect the dots. “Your Ex is a tennis player that lives in Westfield?” I asked.

“Oh God, did you sleep with my Ex?”

“No, pretty sure I can say no to that. Is his name Dick too?’
“Oh God, you DID sleep with him!”

This brings us to the first Dick.

“No Dick, I didn’t sleep with Dick,” I said, which made me start to giggle. “I’m sorry, it’s just kind of funny to me that I went on a date with your Ex, who’s also a Dick.” It probably didn’t help matters that I was still giggling.

“Oh, he sure is a dick!” said Dick.

“I went on a date with him early in the summer. Totally not a love connection, but he seemed like a nice guy.” And then I had to ask the question that 99% of the time only affects gay couples. It’s the very reason why I don’t plan to ever get involved with a Craig.

“When you guys were together, how in the hell did you deal with being Dick and Dick?”

“He’s crazy!” said Dick. “It’s very hard for me to talk to him, which is why I didn’t want to meet in Westfield and risk seeing him. And this isn’t the first time this has happened- everyone has had a date with Dick.”

Of course, that comment made me laugh, and again, I was not helping matters. Even though I was giggling, I really thought that Dick was going to breakdown in tears over Dick. He was visibly upset, and it was obvious that he was nowhere close to being over his Ex.

“Why does the topic of the Ex always come up on a first date?” asked a rather shaken up Dick.

“It doesn’t, Dick,” I replied. “There are so many topics that are in bounds for a first date, but the history you shared with someone else shouldn’t be on the field.”

Dick continued to lament about his failed relationship with Dick, sharing more information than anyone needed to know. It was evident that there was one too many Dicks at this table. I finished the last few bites of my lemon cake (which was actually pretty good considering it came from a big rotating cake cooler; the ones that really should be the New Jersey state mascot) and waived at our very nice waitress to bring the check.

Needless to say, there will not be a second date with Dick… or with Dick.

f8d1e66e32ae7ffb2a7787b98ec098c3

1Gr8Lesson

The major lesson learned in this not-so-fine date is one that a lot of daters have not mastered. When you have someone new sharing time with you, they want to know about YOU. They want to see if there’s a connection; a commonality that could lead to something more. Daters are looking for attraction.

On a first date, what is more of connection buster and less attractive than a conversation about an Ex?

I believe the “Case of the Two Dicks” might just give the answer. When I went on the date with Dick #1, he never mentioned his past relationships. Not once. We talked about sports, shopping and the fashion and music of the 80’s. It was fun and easy, but in the end, I didn’t find him attractive and there was simply no spark. Obviously from knowledge gained from Dick #2, his Ex is an active dater. I can safely assume that Dick #1 has successfully moved past his last relationship and is ready to embark on the next.

As for Dick #2, he is nowhere near ready to board the USS Next Relationship. His refusal to meet for a drink in Westfield due to his fear of seeing his Ex was the first sign. Dick’s reaction when I mentioned someone that happened to be the Ex in question sealed the deal- Dick isn’t over his past relationship.

I’ve given a lot of thought to whether or not any of us are ever truly over someone from our pasts. I believe in many ways our Exs have left a mark on our hearts and our brains forever. There’s a very big difference between being aware of the influences past relationships have given us, and being held hostage by the ghost of a past spouse or partner. Those of us that trend toward the former have their past relationship in a perspective that allows them to move forward. Those of us that trend toward the latter are the ones that bring up an Ex on a first date. Those of us that trend toward the latter probably need to re-evaluate their entry into the dating scene. Perhaps what’s holding them back from 1FineD8 is going on a date too soon.

Bottom line- don’t discuss your Ex on a first date. If your date brings up the subject of past relationships, simply don’t take the bait. Change the subject, and if your date persists, tell them that Gangnam Style was so last year too, and you’re not discussing that either.