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D8 with a Question, Mark

Victoria is one of the new friends I made since coming home from Atlanta. She’s a groovy woman- wife, mother, and all around genuine person. And she’s absolutely beautiful. On one sunny Saturday morning while walking the market at Union Square, she said a five-word sentence to me; one that I’m not accustomed to hearing.

“I have someone for you…”

You know that feeling of dread combined with intrigue? That was my reaction. Of course, I wanted every detail about this someone. His name was Mark, and she’s known him for years. He was very successful in his career, Jewish, and she thought we’d make an amazing couple. Victoria said that he was also very handsome, age appropriate (he was in his early 50s) and was total boyfriend material- and more.

How could I say no?

After a few failed attempts at connecting, Mark and I had a very nice conversation. I emailed me a couple pictures, and he was definitely as Victoria described. We set a date for Thursday night.

We decided to meet on 53rd and Ninth and go from there; sort of a first date adventure. As he approached me, he was on his iPhone discussing a business deal. He gave me a big smile, and continued talking. He continued talking for ten minutes. When he finally hung up, he apologized for the call and we started our date. We decided to grab a burger and a beer. We chose a place quiet enough to have a great conversation.

And the conversation was exactly where the problems started. I would ask Mark a question, and get a short answer without those additions that a conversation needs to flow. It was like talking to a vault- nothing was coming out. From college to hobbies to family, Mark was on tighter lockdown than Fort Knox. He wouldn’t even tell me his birthday.

Ninety minutes later the date ended and I was exhausted from single-handedly carrying our NONversation. Mark thanked me for a great time, gave me a kiss, and said that we should do it again.

Really? Another night of failed attempts to converse with Mark seems about as appealing and rewarding as asking the Great Wall of China his thoughts on existing trade policies. The whole thing left me with several questions… Maybe Mark was nervous? Maybe his head was still in the conversation he was having on the phone when me met? Maybe his last date used his birthday date and other personal information to gain access to his Amex? Any way I looked at it, Mark just seemed not to be very open, which came across as his being extremely distrustful of me.

A few days later I was at Victoria’s apartment enjoying some coffee and blueberry pie. She wanted every detail of the date. I really tried to be nice about the description…

“Well… he really didn’t say much. I would ask a question; Mark would give an answer that was reduced to the least common denominator. He really seemed pretty… guarded.”

And with that, Victoria’s husband, Stuart, walked in… with the much-needed figurative flashlight.

“I could have told you that! He’s wound tight that Mark. Hell, I’ve known him for twenty years and I couldn’t tell you much about him. He’s all about work.” And with that, he looked at Victoria. “Has he ever had a boyfriend? I don’t think he’s ever had a second date!”.

Victoria shook her head. Of course she knew everything Stuart said was true. The look in her eyes told me she was hoping I would play the part of Geraldo Rivera and pop open the vault.

full-size-question-mark-man

1Gr8Lesson
Going on a date that is arranged by a friend is a great way to meet new people, but doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a 1FineD8. Set-ups are great because our friends have our best interests at heart, and at the same time having a date with an endorsement is always a positive and stacks the odds in your favor.

Where I made my mistake was that I was wrapped up in the moment of excitement over an endorsed date. That excitement led me down a path where I forgot to ask some very important questions of my own personal Yenta. Next time (and us single guys and gals KNOW there will be a next time!) I will ask the following questions before saying yes to the set-up (and I suggest you do as well!):

•How long have you known this person?
•Did you also know their last boyfriend/girlfriend?
•Do you know why he/she broke up with their Ex?
•Why do you think he’s still single?
•If you were single, would you date him/her? Why?

This may seem like a lot of questions, but in the end it really isn’t. In the world of sales, it’s referred as qualifying your lead. If your mission is 1FineD8, you need to be sure that your partner in dating crime is exactly that- an equal partner. In my situation, Mark wasn’t my equal when it came to communication. If I went into the situation knowing that he was closed off, perhaps I would have augmented my strategy in engaging him to share. There is also a possibility that I would have taken a pass at the opportunity- we’ll never know for sure.

When you hear the five words, “I have someone for you”, please keep those questions in mind and ask them before committing. Who knows… your lead may end up being a fantastic one and before you know it, you’re enjoying 1FineD8!

1FineInterview- Irving Fields

Wednesday night wasn’t an ordinary evening at Nino’s Tuscany. Granted, there’s always a party when Irving Fields is at the piano, but this evening was special. The master of the keyboard, the composer of favorites including Xavier Cugat’s Miami Beach Rumba and campaign songs for candidates including Ronald Reagan and Rudy Giuliani had reached a milestone certainly worth taking a hearty moment to celebrate.

Irving Fields was celebrating his 99th birthday.

With friends, family, fans and well-wishers surrounding him, Mr. Fields did one of the things he does best- play the piano. He’s been known to say that he plays better now than he did forty years ago. Judging by his Hava Negila, he must have been a master 40 years ago because this performance was beyond stellar.

Having a chance to ask a man with eight Carnegie Hall performances under his belt, countless albums, and a cake with 99 candles anything about relationships and dating, I could only come up with one basic question.

What’s your secret to a long and happy relationship?

Make love every day! Of course, there’s more to it. You have to listen- really listen to your wife. Answer her back, and always remember the woman you fell in love with because she is the same now as she was then. Be sure to laugh together; make her smile and she will make you smile.

It’s important to enjoy each other. Take time to do that. Enjoy your family and the success you built together as a couple. That’s real important. Do it.

Even when it gets rough, remember the good and it will be good again.

Oh, and when it looks like you’re about to get into a fight, say something nice to distract her. Change the subject- that always works!

Irving and Ruth Fields
Irving and Ruth Fields

Seeing how he looked as his wife, Ruth, I knew that taking the opportunity to ask this question to man who is obviously still deeply in love after 55+ years of marriage was a great choice. Looking at them together and chatting with them left me with the impression that I had just spoken with a newlywed couple.

It definitely gave me hope that a long-term relationship is a possible as long as you have a partner that is in simpatico with Irving Fields’ advice and enjoys the concept of staying forever young.

And speaking of staying young, Mr. Fields provided me with his secret to longevity. If you follow his blueprint of 18 objectives, you might just be enjoying 99 candles on a future birthday cake!

Here they are- start today, and you can be just like Irving Fields (as long as you hire one heck of a piano instructor and practice!).

Irving Fields’ Secrets to Longevity

1. Have a sense of humor- you’ll never get ulcers.
2. Think before you make a decision. Look, think, and then do.
3. Be the first to say “hello” with a smile and a glow.
4. When in an argument, change the subject.
5. Be successful… Sell yourself…People will respond.
6. When you get up in the morning, decide to be pleasant to everyone.
7. Be thankful for the blessings you have.
8. Be happy about the success of others, not just your own success.
9. Don’t envy anyone. So many are worse off than you.
10. Travel is fun, important and educational.
11. Enjoy every day to the fullest.
12. Be a good listener, and you will learn something.
13. Eat four hours before bedtime and you’ll digest better.
14. Keep busy. If you retire, find a hobby.
15. Never make a decision while intoxicated.
16. When you like your work, it’s a blessing. Do it now.
17. Don’t compare people to the things you buy.
18. Do something good for someone today.

For more information on Irving Fields, please visit http://www.irvingfields.com and enjoy his performances at Nino’s Tuscany (call for performance times- 212.757.8630)

D8 up Text Creek Without a Paddle

Steve was definitely worth dating- great sense of humor, and looks that would rival any 90’s sitcom star. Rugged yet preppy, Steve was introduced to me by a friend over drinks at a friendly Hell’s Kitchen bar. We really clicked, exchanging phone numbers on the spot. It hadn’t been 30 minutes after we said our goodbyes that I received the first of many, many text messages from him.

“It was SO great to meet you! Joey said you were amazing and he was right!”
“What are you doing for the rest of the night?”
“I really like your shirt- where did you get it again?”
“Be sure to text me when you get home so I know you got there safely!”

The next morning, I woke up to my 5:45am alarm… and Steve.

“Good morning, Handsome! Sleep well?”
“What’s in store for the day?”
“I have meetings all day, but maybe we can chat during lunch?”
“Did I tell you today how hot I think you are?”

It was a lot of reading before my first cup of coffee. As I put the pod in the Keurig, I came to a realization. Seems the night before I had a light beer with Mr. TextMan. You know the type… the person who gets your number and uses it. Nonstop. It might be in the morning before Al Roker tells you if you need an umbrella. It might be during a business meeting, or maybe on the street as he’s walking to the gym. Any opportunity Mr. TextMan can take to reach out to you will be taken and typed with gusto.

I responded with the following: “Good morning. Waking up. Coffee needed. Talk later. ;-)”

As the day progressed, the messages flowed faster than the Whitewater Rapids.

“Hope your day is going well.”
“Saw a shirt in the window at Barney’s that you’d look great in… and out of!”
“What’s for lunch, Handsome? Call me if you can.”

And I responded with the following: “Hey Steve! Going into a meeting, then teaching a spin class downtown. Talk tonight?”

My response bought me a few hours, but alas, my well-constructed dam broke and the messages came pouring in later that night. I decided the easiest way to give his fingers a break was to set up a date. I suggested that we meet for a drink the next day after work, which he was more than willing to do.

The next morning began the same as the day before- texts from Steve. This time, Steve decided to text pictures. There was a picture of him on a golf course, and one from a black-tie event. There were pictures from his birthday the month before, and even a picture of him from high school. I thought to myself how does this guy have the time to run a hedge fund when all he does is text me?

As the Keurig cranked out my second cup, the picture of ALL pictures came… a shot of his bare ass. Not just any bare ass, but one that looked like he forgot to apply sunscreen at a clothing optional rooftop pool. I took a big sip of coffee and responded,
“Looks like someone forgot to apply some SPF”. Nothing could have made me ready for his response.

Nice huh? I wanted to share this with you because I want to know how comfortable you are with spanking. It really turns me on, and from the moment I met you I wanted you to spank me. Game?

If you ask any of my close friends, they will tell you that I am very quick at the comeback. This situation, however, was an unexpected hit to left field. I was speechless. All I could think of was how someone went to town with a paddle on Steve’s ass, and he took a moment to take a selfie to capture the moment. Would that be a “Spankelfie”? After I stopped laughing, I realized that I just couldn’t go on a date with this guy.

Paddle

It was time to implement “Operation Ditch Mr. TextMan”…

“That depends, Steve. Have you been a bad boy?’
“Oh Baby, I’ve been SO bad. Will you punish me?”
“This is a problem, Steve. See, I only date good men, not bad boys. I don’t even own a paddle, and I’m not using my new Sur la Table spatula on anything besides omlettes and cookies. Don’t think this is going to work, but I’m sure you can find someone totally into it.”

I never heard from Steve again.

1Gr8Lesson
Receiving an over abundant amount of text messages from a potential date can be a pain in the ass, and Steve was oblivious to that, obviously on a couple levels. There is nothing wrong with a flirty text now and then, but as a sender you need to be aware of the risk of over-saturation. You also need to be aware that you don’t want to reach that over-saturation point before you even have your first official date.

I suggest keeping text messages to a minimum; like a quick check-in to let your date know that you’re thinking of them. Everyone likes knowing that someone they are interested in is thinking of them, and it’s a nice romantic touch. Use texting as a touch, and not a full-out grab.

That leads us to the spanking… everyone has their “thing” that turns them on. Don’t you think it’s best to discuss those things in a nice, romantic setting as opposed to a text message? When you send the message you know your surroundings- you have no idea where the recipient is or what he or she is doing. Would you really want your potential partner to learn about what turns you on while in a meeting with their boss or in the bread aisle at Gristedes? I don’t think so.

When texting your 1FineD8, keep the following model in mind, and you’ll be dandy:

Topics of important nature are out of bounds- save it for a call or in person dialogue.

Eliminate the possibility of over-saturation by controlling the amount of messages you send.

-eXpecting an immediate response will just drive you crazy- they’ll respond when they can.

Talk when you can instead of texting. Let your 1FineD8 hear your voice, your inflections and your laughter. There’s really nothing sexier than that!

1FineInterview- CoCo Brown

Coco2
You may know CoCo Brown from her music career, or perhaps her films. You may actually see CoCo Brown, and think to yourself that she looks so much like Adult Film star Honey Love that she could be Honey Love. You may even know CoCo as an astronaut in training.

If you said all to the above, then you’d know that CoCo Brown has a pretty extensive resume. Like most Ohioans, CoCo is an overachiever. She conquered the Adult Film industry in record time, leaving the industry as one of their highest paid actresses as both Honey Love and CoCo Brown. She’s received solid reviews as a rap artist, and yes, she is currently in training to be an astronaut.

With such an extensive resume and life experiences, how could this lady not have some great relationship advice to share? I had the opportunity to visit with CoCo, and I was very correct in my assumption. CoCo has a great point of view, ranging from porn to dating advice. There was a lot of laughter during our dialogue, and I’m sure you’ll figure when the chuckling happened:

Before we dive into relationships and dating advice, I wanted to discuss your upcoming Space mission. I heard you first interested in Space when you were a kid and watched the movie Space Camp.

CoCo Brown- Yeah! That’s true- isn’t that weird? I watched it in Ohio, of course. I never even thought that was a real place. You know, a place for kids to go and that there is a camp in space for them. I thought “Wow!”. I remember asking my mom a whole bunch of times if this was real, and if it was could I go. She would say, “If this were real, forget about it!”

What was it about Space that caught your attention?

After that, I always liked to watch things on the Discovery Channel, shows on the Cosmos and the Universe. I really love the guy with the crazy black hair that looks like he was electrocuted. I love him- he’s always so excited! And I love the Japanese guy! But my current situation with Space happened totally by accident. I was presented with this current opportunity by accident- it wasn’t like I went out searching for it.

How did it happen?

I got invited to a luncheon in Berlin. I had just moved to Berlin, and the invitation said that it was a “Space Luncheon”. I had no clue, there were really no details to the invitation, and I was invited at the last minute. The luncheon was for twelve people, and one cancelled, which is what opened the chair for me. I was late, and they were waiting for me. They started the presentation, and said that they wanted to present the opportunity for each of us to fly to Space. I was like “Are you serious? This is what this luncheon is about?”. I thought it was going to be a discussion about space. That’s how accidental it was, I had no clue.

Wow- that’s pretty incredible. Are they charging you for this?

Of course, but I think it’s worth every penny. It’s not a commercial flight, and I actually get to become an astronaut. Other people can fly commercial on a flight for six, but I get to train to be an astronaut because I am the co-pilot for the mission on a two-seater vessel.

I watched a video of your training in zero gravity. What’s the training been like?

It’s actually been pretty easy, but not easy. I have three more trainings coming up in September. I like the zero gravity training, but after the thirteenth time of up and down motion… and you have to do it 15 times. At the end, I just wanted to sit down- no after training pictures- just don’t touch me!

When’s lift-off?

March, 2015. This is why I need to get my training done! I’ve been so busy, and they helped me out by letting me do three back-to-back trainings in September. It will be very, very strenuous for me, but I’m going to do this back to back to back! It’s a very early morning thing- a crash course of what we’re doing. You learn from 6am to 7pm. So much information all at once! And then you have to go do it- bam! It’s intense.

What’s really important, besides the fact that you’re working to become an astronaut, is that you’re going to be the fourth African American in Space. How does that feel?

That makes me proud. It really does. In the beginning, that was never my thought- no hidden agenda behind it. Then people started to tell me, “Do you know?…”. I was like… “Really?” I thought there should have been more.

That’s exactly what I thought too!

So many African Americans have said to me how they would be scared to do it. I’m not at all scared about the trip itself. I’m only scared of not coming back or being eaten by an alien.

You’re also going to be the first adult film star in Space.

That’s very true.

I know you get asked a lot if you’re going to film a scene in Space, but what I really want to know…

…If I would have a baby with an alien? Why not? I’m good for it!

No, what I want to know is if you met an alien, what would you want him to know about the women of Earth?

I’m sure they already know. That’s how I kinda feel about it. There would be no direct message except I hope I’m not on the menu! I’m really serious- you remember the Twilight Zone? You know the episode “How to Serve Man”? You know! Classic!

You’re right! Being a main course isn’t good. But your movies are a main attraction. You were a major player in the adult film industry. You’re no longer making films?

No, I am not. Not since 2003. It’s weird. I get opportunities all the time. When I left the business, I was given the opportunity for another big production company in America. I was over it. I was more concentrated on a new business. I know a lot of people in the industry who had tried to flip-flop things. The American public doesn’t accept flip-floppers, so I had to make a decision. I was doing great in the industry, and I could have stayed, but I became more interested in pursuing music. I wanted to be dedicated and respected and to give music my all. And I was successful in the adult film industry. I was doing well. I made forty films in a short amount of time, received awards and well known. I was over it. I just stopped. I literally just stopped.

You made 40 films. Is there one film that’s a standout as the one you enjoyed the most making?

They were all the same for me. Yes.

Is there a stand-out that was bad?

You know what? If I say that it will be really weird, if I say this person’s name. He’s an icon in the industry now, but when I worked with him, he was a newcomer. Lexington Steele. Everyone knows who Lexington Steele is in the business. He’s been around forever- I think he’s like in the Porn Hall of Fame in Vegas. I didn’t realize he’s so out there now, a really well known person in the industry. But I swear to God when I worked with him he was terrible. He was terrible. He was a newcomer. He was nervous. We had to do a DP.

What’s a DP?

Double penetration scene. I’m like the DP Queen in Germany, I don’t know why. I would tell them in Germany, “Two DPs in one day aren’t happening anymore, got it?”. One time in a day- I didn’t like those things. It was like off- he was bad, and he was nervous.

You made films in the US and Germany, using your name and also the name Honey Love.

I had my American name, Honey Love, and my first film in Germany was under that name. Then I changed it to CoCo Brown for the second film. Under the name of Honey Love I was cranking them out. In Germany, the sets are bigger, there’s more of a crew. It’s like being on a real movie set. In America it’s more like a camera guy and that’s it. Maybe there’s a lighting guy. There are big studios in Germany that were made just for this. Of course the company I worked for was very popular.

In the height of your acting career, were you single?

I was married the whole time. OK… I was in the business maybe four months in America when I met my husband. I was offered the opportunity to be an exclusive girl a company in America. It was a decision of love or porn. I was in the business like four months, it really didn’t’ matter so I quit. I just quit, and moved with my husband to Germany.

Did your film career interfere with your relationship?

No one ever knew. Of course, the company I worked for in Germany knew- my husband helped me find it. I worked for a year in husband’s company, it wasn’t… it just didn’t work. I didn’t speak German. It didn’t work. He said that I was really good at sex and that I should consider going back to the industry. I was like “Really? You’d be ok with that?” and he was fine with it. He helped me find the company. I did two test films, one for Magma and the other was for Dolly for DBM. I chose DBM.

Have you heard stories of others in the Adult Film industry that had relationship problems because of their work?

I don’t know. I never really hung out with people in the industry. That was never my thing. I’m a different person. I was different from day one. I don’t think like they usually do, I have nothing against people in the industry, I just don’t think like they do. I didn’t have a reason to hang out with them on the down time. It was just work. I do my job, you do your job and we’ll make a great scene. That’s it.

You would grab your stuff and go home at the end of the shoot?

That was it. The one film I did for Magma was on location in Budapest. It was a little bit weird. You can ask people there and they’d tell you that I didn’t want to hang out with them. They would come to my room, drag me out, and I was the one that always left early.

It’s an Ohio thing- always leave first. I do the same thing. When you think about dating and relationships, what would your advice be to someone that cannot get over their break-up?

The one thing that I realized and came to terms with- it’s very easy to find someone, you know? I don’t dwell on anything. Anyone who knows me knows that I literally move on from that moment. It may sound bad, but I had a boyfriend within two weeks of me filing for divorce. It wasn’t like I was interested in that person before. It was just… you know what? You gotta move one. If you don’t want to be there, or if that person doesn’t want you, or you just can’t be there, you just move on.

How do you disconnect like that?

I’ve been like that my whole life. I think it’s the best way to be. To move forward. A lot of people find themselves stuck in one spot. I have no emotional feelings for something that doesn’t work. Why should I? I think everything happens for a reason.

What are your thoughts on getting back into the dating scene?

My main advice I give all the time is that men can smell on you if you’re carrying baggage or luggage or some kind of hardship and trial ship. This is why men always want the young girl because the girl hasn’t gone through that yet. Don’t forget to smile! Always smile because young girls always smile. They’re not worried about anything yet. They don’t have that emotional baggage of a man that’s hurt them or kids at home. Smile all the time. Smile.

That’s some of the best advice I’ve ever heard.

Just smile. As soon as you walk out that door, just smile. Even if it doesn’t mean anything because that man- he doesn’t know. He only looks at that smile, and that makes him want to talk to you. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like. A man will talk to a woman who smiles because he needs that courage. They will talk to you. That’s it.

Internet dating or meeting in person?

Online dating for me was weird because I had a lot of people coming to me. I thought they were coming to me because of… “oh shit! I know who that is!”. So I say meeting in person. It’s weird. When I meet a person I don’t say anything about myself. Who I am or what I’m doing or anything like that. But the moment they find out, they start thinking “That’s YOU? I’m gonna watch one of your movies!”. That’s one of the things I don’t like that.

Does your career in adult film rear it’s head a lot?

All the time. But I’ve had seventeen boyfriends since my divorce. It’s disgusting!

Oh, come on… you’ve got to save one for me!

Serious. I am never single. It sucks. And all of them say, “I’m her boyfriend, I’m her boyfriend” and it’s like “No, you are no longer my boyfriend, understand? We are not together anymore!”

If you’ve had seventeen boyfriends, how did you know when each relationship was over?

I’m always the decision maker. I just know when I’ve had enough. Because I was married for such a long time, usually I can look at a person and I start looking for qualities to see if they can be more than just me having fun with you… pretty much. I know what it means to be married to someone and to be in a long relationship. I understand how to accept these things with the right man. I can look at someone and say you’re not the guy. You’re cool, we can hang out, but I don’t like it that when we hang out you get drunk and pee in a fountain or kick over garbage cans. I don’t want to be married to a guy like that. And I’m not in the mood to change someone right now, so they can have their fun, do what they do and we can talk.

Do you have a boyfriend right now?

No, I don’t.

But it’s only 2:45 PM on a Friday- the day is just starting!

I get this a lot. I hear it from my son. He’s like “When’s the new boyfriend coming?”. I’m purposely not trying to find one. I was out last night with some girlfriends, and they were purposely trying to find men. And they were doing it all wrong- they know you’re desperate. They would leave for five minutes and come back to find me surrounded by men. They were like “What did you do?” and I didn’t do anything. It’s not what you do. You just stand there and you smile and act like a lady. And then the guys come over.

Besides your astronaut training and your music, what else is on the horizon for you?

I’m also doing DJ-ing now. Which is very fun, but it took me a while to decide to do it. Six months- it took me six months to decide on the Space travel, six months to decide to do porn, six months to decide to move to Germany- six months seems to be the magical number. I’ve been practicing the DJ thing, and I’m doing well. I already have shows booked. It’s hard- I don’t want to do a bad show. I’ve been practicing very hard. It’s me being a Virgo and wanting to make things right and knowing that within myself. I need to just take the first step. I just need to trust myself and just do it.

One small step for man…

Just do it. And if I mess up, I really hope someone tells me. I like it when someone tells me I’ve messed up things because I can learn. I like that. A lot of people don’t want to be told that they’re wrong or that they messed up. I like being told- it’s the only way to grow.Coco

CoCo definitely left me with one to grow on… actually two. Her insight on handling the end of a relationship was highly interesting. Granted, a speedy sever might be unrealistic for many, but the dropping of a knife with the realization that the end of a relationship is the end of something that no longer works for you- be it because your Ex checked out or be it you cannot tolerate certain actions or behaviors- might just make the recovery of a break-up a little quicker. If only I had known CoCo a year ago, I might have had a six-month head start on my new accidentally single life.

Secondly, CoCo’s point about smiling is both so smart and so basic that it needs repeating. When putting yourself on the dating market, remember that potential dates don’t want to see damage. They aren’t looking for sadness, and they aren’t looking for someone who is not over their last relationship. They’re looking for someone who is open. They’re looking for someone who is fun to be with and has the potential to enhance his or her life. Your potential date is looking for joy, and your smile is the primary delivery system. The smile you give that potential great date is not only a welcome sign, but also the start of dialogue that might just keep you grinning ear to ear.

I did exactly what CoCo Brown told me to do. After our interview ended, I walked out her door, and I smiled. My smile wasn’t hiding any sadness or masking a bad day. It was a real one because I realized I had just made a groovy new friend.

D8 with the Seven-Foot Tall Man

Online dating is a lot of like late-night shopping on JCrew.com. All you need is an address, a mouse, and the ability to navigate from sweaters to khakis, or in this case from beefy blondes to suave brunets. One night I couldn’t sleep and not really needing a sweater, I decided to do some late night shopping for a date.

Seems Alan had the same insomnia and lack of needing a sweater. But Alan wasn’t a JCrew man at all- he was 100% Roots from Canada. At 6’6”, he had the total outdoorsman look down to a science. His photos showed lots of flannel and denim. There was even an action shot- Alan using an ax chopping down a tree on his property in New Hampshire. One picture even showed the three-day beard growth that amounts to a full beard for us hairy guys. Alan had that type of hyper-masculine energy that can be described as nothing less than a major turn on. He started a chat with me, and the text conversation was a lot of fun. He really seemed like a down to Earth guy with no pretention and lots of testosterone. I decided to close the deal on a date, asking him for coffee. He immediately accepted, and suggested we meet the next day. I jumped at it, and set a 5:15pm date at Starbucks.

4:30 pm came the next day, and I was in a meeting that went into overtime. I sent Alan a text telling him I’d be 15 minutes late. He was fine with it… or so I thought.

At 5:25 pm, I walked into Starbucks, and Alan scored a seat right by the door. He was sporting a thick five o’clock shadow, and blue sweater that accentuated his sculpted chest and rather large biceps. As I continued taking in Alan’s physicality, I noticed his jeans that looked as if they were tailored specifically for his muscular legs. And then I got to his boots. Brown leather, four-inch heels, and my guess was that they were from Nine West.

Alan pointed to his watch, and for a split second I swore I heard the voice of Marilyn Monroe say “You’re late!” as he pointed to the watch.

I was paralyzed. All I could think of was the Highlights for Children game where you had to circle what didn’t belong in the picture. I snapped out of it, shook his hand (which was the limpest handshake in the history of handshakes) and went to get a coffee. All I could think of were those women’s boots.

Alan and I conversed for about 45 minutes. It was a typical friendly conversation, where we learned a bit about each other. I asked him if he liked sports, and the answer was a quick and breathy “No!”. I told him that I like college football, and asked if he, as a Canadian, ever played hockey. “Oh no… hockey is violent,” he replied. I tried to find out what he did like to do, and all I could get was reading, working out and shopping.

Before the date ended, there was just one thing I had to find out- the one thing that I learned the night before that just didn’t match the man enjoying a cappuccino before me.

“I loved the picture of you chopping down a tree- how long did it take you to finish the job?” I asked, dying for the answer.

“Oh that… it was staged. I could never kill a tree! That’s just wrong.”

And with that, I learned all I needed to know about Alan. This was not going to be a love connection.

1Gr8Lesson
Shopping online for a date is really no different than clicking the “add to shopping cart” option on any fashion retail website. We like what we see, we pursue it, and when it arrives we try it on. Sometimes it fits, sometimes not. Maybe the color is just right, and maybe the colors are far different than what we saw on our monitor. In the case of my date with Alan, he simply didn’t match the message he put out there.

When using online dating websites as a source for dates, we really need to keep this concept in mind. There will be times that our date is a perfect fit, just like that JCrew sweater. And there will be times when the product we viewed doesn’t meet our expectations once it arrives. That’s ok- it happens. The important similarity to online dating and online shopping is that you can try it, and if it’s not a fit you can send it away. The challenge with this is not to let the lack of consumer satisfaction in the one instance sour you from the store. It’s inevitable that you will have some dates that fall far from the measure of a great date. Maybe their profiles weren’t reflective of the person having a coffee with you. Perhaps they even went as far to not be honest about their correct age or weight. Whatever the situation, you need to remember it’s like a JCrew sweater- you didn’t make the sweater, so there’s no reason to feel sad or defeated.

If you find yourself on a date with a version of an Alan, just remember that you can walk away. I even went as far as to be open and honest with Alan, telling him that I really didn’t think it was a “love connection”, wishing him luck in his pursuit of finding love.

Just walk away, and continue shopping.

D8 with the Man Who Said too Much

I didn’t think twice saying yes when Jeremy asked me out. He was the full package and then some… tall, blond, smart, successful and funny. We met online, and after a few days of chatting he invited me to meet him for a drink.

We arranged to meet for a late happy hour cocktail. When I arrived at the designation, Jeremy was everything I expected- and more. I could officially add charming, sexy and a great dresser to the list of positive qualities this man possesses.

As the evening progressed and one cocktail turned into two, Jeremy became extremely comfortable with sharing information about himself and his family. He told me how his father had passed away a few years earlier. He told me about his mother, who seems like a really great lady. As I was drinking my second Heineken, Jeremy ordered what I believed to be his third Scotch. As he drank, he loosened up even more and shared even more.

“My brother is an alcoholic. He lost his job, his wife and lives with my mom. He had to be hospitalized last weekend, but he’s home now,” said Jeremy. Having several friends that have faced this challenge, I conveyed my understanding and wished his brother the best in his recovery.

I was still working on my Heineken when Jeremy ordered his fourth. This was when the sharing poured quicker than Glenlivet into a jigger.

Jeremy took a sip and said, “The weekend before, my brother got so drunk he hit on our first cousin. She was cool with it, but it really pissed me off.”

That was way more than I needed to know on a first date. With each sip, Jeremy’s charm, intelligence and sexiness melted quicker than the ice cubes in his drinks.

“Alcoholism runs ramit… rampis… RAMPID in my family. We’re Irish.”

At that point, I realized if I continued this date, Jeremy would say too much to the bartender by asking for another bourbon. By ending the date, I might spare him a worse hangover than he has already given himself, not to mention spare the good people of Ireland any further detrimental stereotyping. I said my goodbyes, secured that he had a way home, and bolted faster than you could say boozehound.

The next morning, I received a text from Jeremy. He apologized for saying too much. Never said a word about the drinks or what I perceived as the dilly of a hangover he had to be nursing. I wished him only the best for his family, and told him that I wouldn’t be interested in a second date.

1Gr8Lesson
I’ve always been a big believer in maintaining your capacities while enjoying a date. Overdrinking can lead to a lapse of judgment in your own behavior, however it’s as important not to diminish your capacity to notice the behavior of your date. Overdrinking at the beginning of dating doesn’t bring anything positive to foster the essential communication needed to build a foundation for a relationship.

The story of Jeremy’s brother and the history of alcoholism in his family is a situation to process, and in my opinion is not one that’s necessarily a deal breaker. However, when your alcohol-infused date delivers this sort of information on a first outing, it’s a turn-off.

When it comes to dating and drinking, keep it at a two-drink maximum with choices limited to beverages with low alcohol content. I suggest seasonal drinking while dating. Summer is great for a glass of Pinot Grigio and Autumn is perfect for a beer. Winter brings a glass of Multipulciano and Springtime calls for a Chardonnay. It’s a simple rule to follow to avoid dating with booze-tinted glasses.

D8 with the Gynecologist

With the clock ticking on my migration North, I decided to take a pass any dating opportunities in the Peach State. Instead, I placed my attention on meeting New York men through an online social app. It worked, exceeding my expectations as I my profile was getting a lot of traction.

One of the standout responses was Dr. Tony. Tony was a Texan working in Manhattan. He told me that he stayed North after completing his residency. I asked his specialty, and he hesitated in telling me.

“Usually when I tell men what I do, I am ridiculed,” said Tony. I responded with “You accomplished medical school and a residency and have a practice- what’s to ridicule?” Secretly I hoped that maybe he was a dermatologist that carried some filler and Botox with him at all times, which could be a real hit with my friends.

“I’m an OBGYN. I deliver babies and deal with women’s’ health.”

I told Tony that I know tons of women and that it’s important to keep them healthy. I saw no problem with his profession. Being a gay gynecologist was so not the red flag.

The red flag was that he was 45 years old and never had a serious relationship.

Scheduling our date became a bit of an issue. He was always busy with a calendar that was jammed packed. One night didn’t work because he was giving a lecture in Boston. Another night didn’t work because he had a fundraiser dinner to attend. We finally agreed on a Friday in December to meet for drinks. I received the call at 4pm that day, telling me that he had an emergency delivery and would most likely not make it. He wanted to reschedule for a late drink the next day. Of course I understood, and made a joke that we’d never forget our first date- December 7th.

Perhaps a date that will live in infamy?

I had a dinner obligation prior, and met Tony for that much anticipated nightcap. He was even more handsome than his profile picture. This OBGYN was a great conversationalist, very charming, and again… exceptionally handsome. At the end of our date, he asked for a second date. Without hesitation I said yes. He said he’d call me in the morning and we’d schedule it.

Like clockwork, Tony called the next morning. This is where the fun started. After looking at his schedule and mine, his availability for our second date was…. January 11th. Seriously, January 11th. We scheduled the second date, but I suggested that if either of us had any cancellations of activity to call and let’s move our second date up.

My mother always said that getting in to see the Gynecologist takes an appointment made months in advance.  Never thought I’d learn this firsthand.

We texted and spoke a few times during the holiday season. It was really nice and a lot of fun getting to know Tony. What was not so fun was that he postponed the second date… twice. I reiterated to Tony that I thought he was a groovy guy, but he needed to re-evaluate his desire to have a relationship because if he truly wants one, he needs to make the time necessary to cultivate it.

 

1Gr8Lesson

As you embark on your dating mission, you are bound to meet a Dr. Tony. His intentions are honest- he sincerely wants to date someone and hopes to have a relationship. The challenge for the Dr. Tonys out there is that they don’t know how to make room for someone else in their lives. Making sure that your date has the desired intention to integrate a new person into his life and integrate himself/herself into yours is paramount. Remember the red flag I saw at the beginning? This was the reason Dr. Tony had never had a relationship in his adult life. Granted, being a physician takes dedication and a lot of hard work. But, there are plenty of physicians, attorneys and others in high-pressured careers that enjoy successful and meaningful relationships. I really hope Tony figures out the balance because I know he’s tired of coming home to an empty apartment.   Because it was 1FineD8, I left the door open- let’s see what happens!

 

 

My First Date, 4.0

My new adventures in dating started on a warm Atlanta Monday afternoon in October of last year. Eric had been a regular in the afternoon Spin class I taught at Atlantic Station, and he had been asking me to lunch for months. He was my idea of the typical Southern gentleman- slow talking, quick laughing, and very proud of the fact that he was not just an Atlantan, but one whose family most likely served sweet tea to Sherman. I made one thing clear to Eric before our lunch- my days in Atlanta were numbered, as this Yankee was going back to the Mother Ship.

“In that case, we’ll have lunch at Rosa Mexicana- that’s a New York restaurant, you know. And for dessert… I’ll give you some Southern flavor that might just derail your travel plans,” said Eric. Anyone who has ever gone on a date with a Southern Boy knows that the combination of charm and devilish grin can be intoxicating, and should come with a warning label. If anyone had the ammo to stop my move home, it was most likely this Son of the South,

We decided to have lunch after class, and the experience was complete with lots of laughs and lots of nachos. I enjoyed the conversation with Eric, and it was definitely mutual. He shared a lot about his life, his feelings and he even pulled out his iPhone to show me pictures of his son. One picture in particular was interesting- it was of Eric, his son and a very handsome man.

“Who’s the looker with you guys?” I asked. Eric swallowed a nacho and paused before answering. “That is my son’s other daddy.”

Now it was my turn to pause and swallow, but I wasn’t swallowing a nacho. “Oh, you mean your Ex?”

“Well, sort of,” replied Eric. We’ve been together for fifteen years and have grown apart. We haven’t officially ended it.”

It was at that point I knew that there really needed to be an additional warning label on this man. “So, you’re in a relationship but you’re on a date with me- one that you’ve been asking for, for quite some time. Does your partner know we’re at lunch?”  Eric paused, choosing his words carefully and delivered them in his slow, Southern charming manner. “No. He doesn’t know. Is that going to be a problem for you?”

My response came with no pause for swallowing. “Damn right it’s a problem. It’s shit like this that brought me to this chair in this restaurant, sitting across from you.” I stood up, threw a twenty on the table and walked out.

As I walked out, I could hear Eric say, “See you in class next week?” I stopped, looked at him and made a face that I can only imagine making if I tasted overcooked okra and fatback.

 

1Gr8Lesson

Just because a potential date is attractive, charming and says the right things, you still need to ask a few qualifying questions before you say yes to or ask someone on a date. Those questions are at your discretion, of course, but I do recommend securing the fact that the person you’re interested in dating is in fact available and on the market with no complications. This is key if you see dating as the road to the end game of a relationship. Clearly in this situation, Eric’s definition of complications differ from mine, making him a not so fine D8.

 

 

 

Back at Bat

I was the star of the 1993, 1997 and 2011 World Series. Each of those years I came in at the bottom of the ninth, suited up with the intention to score. I took the to the plate like those great hitters before me, and I hit it out of the park. I knew that feeling of victory- I had finally snagged myself a Championship Ring. Celebrations followed, and I really thought that parade through the Canyon of Heroes would last forever.

Unfortunately, the confetti stopped falling and each victory was short lived.

Relationships in trouble can sometimes be a lot like a stadium after a game. It gets very quiet when the excitement is over. The ground is messy, and there seems to be trash everywhere in sight. The silence that envelopes the stadium where there was once cheering and laughter is now home to all the voices in your head going over play by play as to how you lost the game. Standing on the field with your teammate, you have a choice to make.   You can start cleaning up the mess in hopes of a better game tomorrow with a teammate that won’t drop the ball in the bottom of the 8th. The other option is to simply exit the stadium because there are just too many candy wrappers, hot dog trays and spilled beer stains that you just don’t know where the cleanup should start.

I’ve been in the position of clean-up three times, and all three times I chose to exit the stadium. Each exit came with its own emotional turmoil, but my last game was by far the worst. It was nothing less than taking a knuckleball at 96 MPH straight to the gut. After a year of what can only be described as a self-imposed seclusion minutes away from Turner Field, I am faced with a decision that is similar to the one faced by Andy Pettitte in 2012.

Do I come out of retirement and get back in the game?

It’s a given that every time you go to bat, there’s at least a one in three chance you’ll strike out. The chances for hitting a homer are even less. I wondered if it was even worth the risk of a torn rotator cuff or worse yet another broken heart. I couldn’t help but to think of my last experience in the stadium and the foul balls that my Ex pitched. Did I really want to run the risk of failure in what would be my fourth game?

I realized something very important. I was judging my abilities at the game by the skill sets of my last teammate, and he simply was an inadequate player. My last teammate was incapable emotionally, physically or mentally to even be in the pennant race with me. Was I going to allow one measly player the power to keep me from going for another ride in the Canyon of Heroes? Was I going to allow one bad pitch to keep me from trying to slide into Home? With time, the answer was easier than getting a loaded hot dog at Citi Field.  There was no chance in Hell that I would allow one bad player in one bad game to prevent me from going for the championship I deserved.

So here I am. My uniform is pressed and my cleats are clean. My bat is ready, and the post break-up weight loss has increased my speed around the bases. I am officially back at bat, and I’m looking forward to a full season of facing a lot of baseball players- funny, smart, and cute ones with confidence and swagger to match.

And the best part? You’ll get to read the play-by-play right here at 1FineD8.com. My goal is to share a little dating wisdom, a lot of laughter, and hopefully a dose of inspiration to those that are facing getting back in the game when they really didn’t expect to do so. I know I will make some mistakes along the way, and I hope by sharing them, finding the punch line, and learning the lessons will help you in your own game.

I call myself “accidentally single” because I sincerely had no clue that I’d ever be back in the dating stadium. I thought my last game was just that- a forever Home Plate that would last a lifetime.  Like many players, I was mistaken.  And like many players, I made it through Spring Training… and Summer Training… and even Fall Training to get over the disappointment of a failed relationship.

Now it’s time for Coach to put me back in the game. Coach knows I’m ready to hit that homer.  I’m excited to be back at bat.

Let’s play ball.