Tag Archives: Relationships

D8 with the Man (next) Whore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Where did you park?”

“Right there- on the street.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I totally never heard from Howard again.

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

I FineLesson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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D8 with Mona Lisa Vito’s Brother

Tick… Tick… Tick…

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

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

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

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

“I really want children. Soon.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

I FineLesson

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

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

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

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

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

D8 with the Snazzy Sweater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1Gr8Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

D8 with the Trigger Finger

Mickey Roark and Kim Basinger showed us that you can really jam a lot into 9½ Weeks. I recently learned firsthand how possible it is to fit quite a bit into that time frame, however I can safely say that Mickey (as John) and Kim (as Elizabeth) had a much better time.

It’s always a good thing to have a summer boyfriend, and Gregory entered my picture in late April- precisely the right time to make that goal happen. He was unlike anyone I’ve ever dated… the stereotype of the jaded New Yorker. A little on the quiet side, a lot on the grumpy side, but when he smiled he lit up the room. I really enjoyed spending time with Gregory because under the hard exterior was a soft creamy center that was wanting to see the light of day.

About two weeks into dating, Gregory suggested we be exclusive. I was totally down with that, seeing that I know my shortcomings and juggling isn’t one of my strong suits. With two weeks down and exclusivity on the table, I figured I accomplished the impossible… I scored a summer boyfriend!

With time comes knowledge, and as the days turned into weeks, I learned a lot about Gregory. Some great things, and some not so great things about this funny grumpster came to light.

When it comes to learning about the not so great things about your date, how do you handle it when the bad outweighs the good?

As three weeks turned into seven, Gregory started to be a little more grumpy and a lot less funny. He became more of a homebody and less interested in exploring the fun offerings of a New York summer. As seven weeks turned into nine, he was barely interested in doing anything, and conversational topics were always with a negative slant. Be it the news or his career, nothing seemed to make Gregory smile that winning smile that one me over weeks before.

Let’s be honest, in nine weeks Gregory learned things about me he didn’t like either. He hated my work schedule, and the fact I was a dedicated workaholic that enjoys being busy. He didn’t like my perkiness in the morning, and that my perkiness tended to increase with each cup of Starbucks I enjoyed during the day. He really disliked my desire to enjoy a cigarette or ten, even though I never smoked in front of him.

And let’s be honest about one more thing… I knew it was time to pull the trigger and part ways with Gregory. The “how” was the tedious part.

Thankfully Gregory pulled the trigger first. Over a beer in a bar, he said that we shouldn’t see each other. Granted, I was rather surprised he pulled the trigger first because taking initiative wasn’t one of his strong suits since week two of our relationship. I wished him the best of luck and bolted.

As I walked away I knew he wasn’t like John in 9½ Weeks in many ways, but specifically in wanting me to turn around in 50 seconds. The only person that wanted me to keep walking more than Gregory was actually me.

I was definitely not Elizabeth. Not a tear was shed as I walked on that lively Manhattan street. I smiled to myself, knowing that I had what it takes to invest in a new relationship, but also had the smarts not to settle for a someone that’s the wrong one.

Pulling the trigger may end something, but it signifies the beginning of your new search for 1FineD8!
Pulling the trigger may end something, but it signifies the beginning of your new search for 1FineD8!

1FineLesson

Kenny Rogers said it best… “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ’em.  Know when to walk away, and know when to run.”

As we begin a relationship journey with a prospective “forever partner”, the learning process is one that’s longer than just ten dates. It may even be longer than ten months. The process of discovering the intricacies and building a bond with someone is an important one that shouldn’t be shortchanged. It’s not like test driving a car or trying on a shirt. This process is one that you’re entering into with lifetime intentions.

As we learn more and more about a prospective life mate, it’s without question that we’ll discover aspects that don’t thrill us. We will see them grumpy, sad and even sometimes under the weather- things typically not experienced on the first few dates. We will see how they handle stress, celebrate joy, and if they leave the toothpaste cap open or closed. We will learn how they interact with their friends and family, and we’ll get to hear how they interact with strangers as they meet your friends and family.

Here’s the challenge… how many of those “not so great aspects” does it take to create a “not so great partner”?

This is where I have no concrete answer for you because it’s an answer that only you can determine. There will always be things about our partners that irritate us, but at the end of the day, their body of work supersedes the handful of things we don’t like. But if those not so great things outweigh the positives, then you have no choice to make like the Gambler and walk away.

And don’t make the mistake of thinking that walking away is a defeat.  

You gave it your all, and if you didn’t invest the time in the person you would never know if they were or were not the one. I don’t look at my 9½-week investment in Gregory as time poorly spent or a colossal mistake. It was a necessary thing to see if he was someone with which I could build a future. He wasn’t, and pulling the trigger is the ticket to finding a new someone that will make my heart go “bang”!

D8 with Another Accidental Single Guy

We all have takeaways from our previous relationships. If you think about it, I’m confident you can find at least one positive thing your Ex has given you. For me, my first Ex facilitated my having the best brownie recipe known to man. My second taught me a love for dachshunds so intense that I would most likely never own any other breed. My last Ex gave me something a little less personal, but oh, so important. He taught me the necessity to load every single news App to my iPhone, and allow them to send me breaking news updates.

One such update came across while I was teaching a Spin class on a Friday night. After class, I looked at the message- all NJ Transit Trains are subject to 90-minute delays.

I could either spend at least 90-minutes in Penn Station… or I could go for a drink…

I opted for a drink, and took the subway uptown to the perfect after work hangout. Upon ordering a beer, I immediately became part of a conversation about dogs and back surgery (been there/done that with my dachshund, Thalheimer). Seems one of the guys at the bar has a dog that had surgery the day before. As we discussed everything from post-op care to the necessity of liver treats, a third man joined the conversation.

Enter the Accidental Single Guy… and hot dog, he was cute!

We continued the conversation, and a couple more men entered the dialogue. At that point, this newfound man and I splintered off the dachshund talk and began our own conversation. He said that he was in the neighborhood for a meeting that cancelled, which was the only reason he popped in for a drink. One topic led to another, and then to another… and then to “What do you say we get out of here and grab dinner?”

It was over dinner that I had to keep reminding myself one important thing about this accidental date… it’s a guy I met in real time.

My accidental date has never seen my online dating profile, and I’ve never seen his (if he even has one). The base line of common knowledge was at zero, so we had to start from scratch. It was fun and rather “retro” to be learning about someone in person as opposed to online. In doing so, I realized that old school dating was totally refreshing. Not knowing anything about my date and learning things about him was exciting, almost like Columbus discovering the New World.

After dinner, my accidental date and I exchanged numbers and email addresses. We used them, and my accidental date morphed into an intentional one. Who knows what will develop; at this stage in the game it’s too early to tell.

But it’s not too soon to know that some accidents have the most pleasurable outcome.

There's nothing more lonely than a track with no agenda.  Try a new agenda and get your train rolling with Retro-Dating!
There’s nothing more lonely than a track with no agenda. Try a new agenda and get your train rolling with Retro-Dating!

1Gr8Lesson

Sometimes we get caught up with being online. How can we not? It’s super easy, and there’s a fun rush you get with each “beep” notification that someone on Match or JDate is interested. The ease and the rush can take over, and you find yourself attached to your iPhone and detached from the world around you. Perhaps it’s time to give your texting fingers a break and put your voice to work in the real world.

My Accidental Date motivated me to take an unexpected summer holiday. I’m taking a vacation from online dating.

Vacations are all about experiencing something new, something fresh, and in this case something a bit retro. Taking a summer sojourn from online dating will take me out of the comfort zone and force me to cultivate dates the old fashioned way.

Cancelling my online subscriptions was painless, and the best part is that if I decide to go back online, my profiles are saved and ready for any tweaking before reactivation. Now for the not so easy part… how to cultivate those prospective dates.

Here’s a short list of ideas to pursue to get your retro dating vacation started:

  • Tell your friends that you’re available for a fun fix-up. They know you, and they know other singles or people that do. Who knows? Not every friend is a good matchmaker, but you may just strike it lucky.
  • Put your smart phone on mute and go out! Don’t even think of touching your phone while you’re in that bar, lounge or restaurant!
  • Take a look at some activities in your community that you enjoy doing. From concerts to art exhibits to baseball games, you’ll have fun doing something you like while putting yourself in a place where you might meet someone single with similar interests.

Come on! Join me on my vacation!

There’s nothing to lose by taking a break from online dating. Like all vacations, Retro-Dating may give you a day that is sunny and perfect and another where it’s a little overcast and drizzly. But can’t you say the same for online dating? Giving your online profile a break and your real-time personality a time to shine might just get you the best vacation souvenir yet… you might just score 1FineD8!