Category Archives: First Dates

Starting a Good Book



Have you ever met someone with whom you felt instantly comfortable?  Like when you meet up with an old friend and even though you haven’t seen each other or hardly spoken for 10 years or so it is as if zero time has passed and you seamlessly pick up some decades old conversation where it left off when last you met.

That is what I experienced yesterday when I met a very nice gentleman for lunch at my favorite Indian restaurant in Richmond. We have so much in common, dancing, yoga, spiritual paths, writing, love for travel etc… the conversation just took off and nearly two hours whizzed by like fifteen minutes  leaving at least three unfinished threads dangling to be continued for another day.  It was like starting to read a  really good book and the first chapter is so enthralling you can hardly wait to read more.

Though I am unsure when the conversation will continue, I do hope it is soon because dangling threads and next chapters must be addressed before one explodes from anticipation.

The Mystery of the Coffee Grinds by Brant Huddleston


A Facebook Friend, Brant Huddleston, sent me this essay he wrote about his dating experiences.  I liked it so well and felt it resonated so much with what this blog is about, that I asked him for permission to post it on this blog.


Yesterday I spilled coffee grinds and took it as a sign to publish the following short essay I wrote some time ago. I hope it blesses you my friends.

The Mystery of the Coffee Grinds

“My name is Shari, but it’s pronounced Sherry,” she said over coffee.

“Really?” I said. “I hope you’ll forgive me if I slip up occasionally and call you Shari. My former father-in-law’s eighth wife, and still a good friend of mine, is named ‘Shari’ and pronounced ‘Shari’.”

“Are you serious?! Eight wives?” she said.

And so it begins. Again. I am single. Again. We are on a first date, making small talk, and beginning to explore the mystery of each other that can never be known. I am 57, a grandfather with three daughters and a lifetime of highs and lows, hits and misses, curves and straightaways, loves and love’s lost. I have too many stories to tell, like the one about spilled coffee grinds.

But that story will have to wait, for now it’s introductions and getting the phonetics of one’s name right, and for noting those all-important yellow flags, that could become red flags, that ensure there will not be a second date.

Hmmm, I think. She is wearing sensible shoes. Does that mean she is in denial of her sexuality and will want to fall asleep every night in front of the TV? That might not work for me.

Hmmm, she thinks. He didn’t ask once about my children, but just keeps talking about himself. Does that mean he is another self absorbed narcissist in whose shadow I will become invisible? That won’t work for me.

And so it goes.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of renowned aviator Charles Lindbergh, was a woman who knew something about living in the shadows. In the 1930’s, her husband was perhaps the most well-known person in the world ~ truly one of the first media superstars. But in time Ms. Morrow Lindbergh found her own voice, as a feminist and author, and upon her famous husband’s death had this to say of him: “Only when a tree has fallen can you take a measure of it. It is the same with a man.”

Indeed we are like trees. Our roots go deep and are hidden. Our branches spread wide to the heavens and sway and grow, never the same today as they were yesterday. Who can perceive the whole of us? Every leaf is a story that makes us who we are.

My date does not want to hear all my stories. She has her own to tell, and they are all important. When was the last time she cried, and why? That leaf is found there. What makes her heart truly come alive? That leaf would be found over here. What happened in the marriage? Why didn’t it last? That root is buried and must be uncovered very carefully. Do you believe in God? Climb out to the furthest, highest reaches of my limbs, if you dare, where tender young leaves open to the sun and we will learn together. One can spend a lifetime exploring and still never know it all ~ “to take the full measure of it” ~ as the wise woman said.

What then of coffee grinds?

In 1992, my older brother, a gay man, was given a double death sentence: AIDS and Hepatitis C. In those days there were no miracle cures, and we all knew it. I visited John in the hospital one morning, only to find that during the night, in his fevered throes, he had pulled out his IV. Dried blood was spattered across the walls, floor, and curtains. It looked just like spilled coffee grinds ~ black and crumbly. To this day, when I see them, I think of that moment.

I called for the nurse. “Please clean this up before my mother comes.” 48 hours later my brother was dead. He was just 39 years old.That story ~ that leaf ~ is a complicated one. I was an evangelical Christian in those days, with strong beliefs about heaven and hell. Where would my brother spend eternity? Had I done enough to let him know I loved him? What did I really believe about homosexuality? Independent of what I was being taught by my Christian imams, what was my true, authentic self telling me? Where was my heart in this story?

I have made my peace with these questions, and I have chosen a path of bliss that is not what my teachers wanted, but that is truly my own. I have learned it is far better to know and love one’s truth, one’s authentic self, and to let that person flower with ebullience and impunity, than it is to live a lie that pleases others. Make no apologies for what some might call eccentric or wrong. Make no apologies for who you are, for your eating, for your breathing. Make no apologies for what is right in your own soul, for everything about you is just as it should be.

As for my tree, I am still standing, and I hope, still growing. It will take many more dates with Shari, or Sherry, to explore all her roots, leaves, and branches, and she mine. It will take time, and curiosity, and love. One day my tree will fall onto, and eventually into, the ground, and those who care to can take a full measure of me. But if you have read this far, fellow explorer, then you have already shown me love, for you have made the effort to see coffee grinds the same way I see them. And for that love I thank you and wish you peace.


Name Him Freud


Sigmund Freud

Last night I was “chatting” via cell phone with X2 about this weekend’s pick up and drop off arrangements for our daughter.   It was late for such a call, around 10:15pm and the conversation was caught in a loop and a suitable compromise was eluding us so the call was dragging out a bit.  At about 10:38pm I ended the conversation as he began to spew out a rather un-charming string of derogatory statements  – not uncommon behavior for him.and perhaps one reason we are divorced.  (I have come to realize that his words are actually all about him rather than me and so I simply hang up when he goes there. Childish behavior on my part perhaps but it seems to be effective – I don’t hear him and he gets the message that he has gone too far.)

I cross the room to put the phone down on my bedside table then look towards the dresser  to begin contemplating which pajamas would best suit the anticipated night time temperature.  I notice something black on the wall extending form one of the log beams that crosses the room and intersects with the wall  (directly over the spot where I had been standing while talking on the phone) to the top of the window sill about  a foot away.

This is the spot  on my bedroom wall where the black think was resting.

The black thing is thicker than a television cable, had a very faint sheen and pattern to it, sort of like a bicycle tire.  I thought it odd that I had failed to notice it before and took a few steps closer to get a better look.  The fatter part of it was resting on the edge of the window’s interior frame, a two pieces of wood that slant upwards into a triangle at the center point.  Then the black thing tapered to a point sticking up at the beam.  Two more steps closer and my brain registered that I was looking at the tail of a black snake! IN MY BEDROOM!!!

I was raised in the suburbs and the city.  I am unaccustomed to snakes IN my living space.  I suspected for a long time that a snake might come into the kitchen at some point to eat the mice causing me to open cabinets slowly and peer in before grasping anything but I had failed to consider that a snake might want to “hang” out in my bedroom.

I had no idea what to do.  I dislike snakes as a rule because I have very little experience handling them .  Should I try to get it out?  Should I touch it? Where will it go?  It is obviously interested in food and will go away when it discovers there is none in here but if I try to sleep in my bed will it curl up with me for warmth?  AGGHHH!

I go get my 12 year old daughter who is ironically still awake.  I show her the snake which is now slithering across the wall, deftly balancing on what little part of a horizontal log sticks out from the plaster.  It is moving along the wall towards my bed.  She is unimpressed and asks if I am planning to sleep in my bed.  ABSOLUTELY NOT!

She groggily returned to her own room after offering to let me sleep in her bed- very sweet- but it is impossible to sleep with her because she fidgets all night long and often talks in her sleep.

I recall the scene in the film version of Under the Tuscan Sun where the heroine sees a snake go into her bedroom window and calls the only man she knows in town, an attorney(?), to inspect the room to potentially rid it of the snake.  Who could I call?  Then landlord?  He would think I am nuts.  I can here him tell me it is just part of country life.

I opt to text my friend Juan who lives 60+ miles away and grew up in New York City and would have no possible idea on what to do even if he were here.

“There is a snake in my bedroom. Ugh!”, I text.

then I add, “No tasteless jokes, please.”

He responds, “Name him Freud.”

Very funny, Juan.

I then realize that this phallic symbol is the closest thing to a penis that has been in my bedroom  for quite some time and that is a little depressing. But then I think I would rather it be this way than to get all sexually involved with someone who is wrong for me and have all the drama in my life that surrounds that.  Sex is great and I enjoy it as much as anyone but it really isn’t that great without an emotional attachment and trust.  Those things can only come with time.

I am happy to say that I misspent my youth by being reckless and enjoying many lovers.  Happy because all that jumping into bed without really knowing someone first garbage is out of my system.  There is nothing uglier, in my opinion, than someone trying to experience that sort of thing in the middle of life. We should want more.  Be more loving of ourselves and respectful of other people.  Of course, each person is on their own path and it is wrong of me to judge anyone but for me I would rather be alone at this time.

I left “Freud” alone in my bedroom with the door closed.  I slept on the couch wakening periodically and using my trusty iPhone light to scan the room ceiling beams  all throughout the night.  We just weren’t acquainted well enough in my opinion to be sleeping in the same room together.

First Date: Mr. Dancing With The Stars


So , going back to last Friday….

I am supposed to meet Mr. DWTS at 6:00pm at a local dance studio for a West Coast Swing lesson.  I adore dancing and as a single mother on a rather fixed (often fluctuating) income, I rarely get out to dance other than the occasional Zumba class.  So I was excited to learn a new dance.  Sam was spending the evening with some friends and needed to be dropped off by 5:45pm in order for me to get to the studio on time (which I had to google because I am still rather new in town so a little more wiggle room on time would have been nice but schedules matched this way).  Around 4:45pm I begin the process of choosing my outfit.  in answer to a Facebook plea for fashion advice earlier in the afternoon, my friend Jeanine suggested jeans and a nice top as a good “go to” first date outfit.  I decided on my white jeans which I washed earlier in the day and a sleeveless silky ruffled necked  top  both from J. Crew.

Here is the outfit I put together:

At 5:05pm I start to get dressed and realize that all of my nude and white panties are in the dirty clothes hamper.  AGGGHHH!  I really hate the thought of any indication of colored underwear underneath white pants so I freaked.  I had to wash some nude seamless panties in the sink then toss them in the dryer in hopes they would dry in time.  I put on make-up, tried to create an alternate outfit which was a dismal failure and checked the dryer which seemed to be almost completely ineffective at this point.  How long can it take to dry one pair of panties on low anyway?  Apparently longer than 20 minutes because at 5:28pm I grabbed the still slightly damp panties out of the dryer and sucked it up and put them on, jumped into my jeans and headed out the door with a slight grimace on my            face as I felt the cool clammy feel of my underwear.

All in the name of propriety, right?

I made it to the studio about five minutes late and the lesson started. When I got there it really hit me how little I know about this guy.  I met him once and barely know anything about him, including his last name.  He made more than one comment about my “dancing” shoes (the only pair of slick soled shoes I own are highish heals with leopard print and patent leather pumps) which made me uncomfortable. He also seemed a little nervous and wimpy as a dancer at first but about half way through the lesson started to ease up a bit and get into the groove.  Dancing was fun.  I learned a tiny bit about West Coast Swing and enjoyed the safe interaction.

Afterwards we drove separately to a nice restaurant downtown.  Here’s were I panicked.  As we sat down to chat I really REALIZED for the first time the implications that this man reads my blog.  Suddenly all the posts came flooding into my head and  the relationship between us seemed way off balance.  I said something about how awkward that was and he said, “I already know everything about you.  You had a bikini wax three weeks ago and  you have on nice underwear.” (The irony here is that I have on an ancient, ugly, rather worn out racer back bra and icky 95% dry panties.)

I guess I had never truly considered what impression someone might have of me if they knew me only from my blog.  It was certainly interesting that these were the things that stood out about me.*

We had a wonderful meal with excellent service and a nice conversation which revealed to me that we have  too little in common to be romantically compatible.  I would like to dance some more though. Maybe he would consider a dancing partner type of relationship until he finds someone else who is a better all around partner for him?

*NOTE TO SELF:  Do not give out blog info to potential dates.

What to wear? Dancing date dilemma


Tonight I will be having a first date with an interesting man who among other hobbies, likes to dance.  He is into West Coast Swing dancing, something I know very little about but I am a good dancer, enjoy ballroom dancing, am ecstatic to have the challenge of learning something new and potentially have someone to dance with.  Mr. Dancing With The Stars, has arranged for an hour long private dance lesson in a professional studio with a real dance instructor and dinner afterwards.  This guy gets major points in my book already because his first date choice is thoughtful, interesting, fun, challenging and interactive in a socially acceptable way. Much more creative and insightful than just meeting for dinner. He is also capitalizing on an activity that we both enjoy to start out with- I like that.

Of course, I am agonizing  over what to wear.  I want to look good but not suggestive and I am unsure if I should go with something simply dressy casual or a bit more dancey.  I have a great flowy mid- calf length knit (like thick t-shirt) material skirt from J. Crew that would be fun to twirl in but I am fearful it will look odd going out for dinner.  It is way too humid for leggings though they would offer ease of movement.

Shoes are a whole other issue. I am fairly short and like to wear heals often but because I am a little klutzy I usually buy shoes with rubbery soles to help prevent slipping on sidewalks and polished floors.  One needs smooth leather soled shoes for dancing.  I may need to bring shoes to dance in and another pair to wear for the remainder of the evening.  Is that silly? Should I just wear the shoes I plan to dance in and build an outfit around that?

AGGGHHH! It just seems like so many decisions to make on a Friday.

Lately, my daughter and I have been following Dancing With The Stars and my theory is if Melissa Gilbert (a contemporary and attendee at my 25th birthday party, the day lives in infamy because the Redskins were the first team to win the Superbowl after being behind in the first half -or was it scoreless?) has made it this far in the competition there is hope for me in competitive dancing.

Full First Date report coming in the next couple of days.

Men To Avoid: Part 2- The Bully


In this series, I am exploring the tell tale signs of men that should be avoided.  These guys fail to be long term relationship material because they lack the characteristics needed to achieve true intimacy which were explored  in an earlier post titled, The Right Stuff. In that post an article from the December issue of Psychology Today (I’ve been reading that lately, I guess) suggests that the following are the characteristics to look for in a potential long term mate and that these qualities are even more important than compatibility:

  1. A sense of humor
  2. An even temper
  3. A willingness to overlook your flaws
  4. A sensitivity to you and what you care about
  5. An ability to express caring

The braggart, discussed yesterday- click here to read post), is a poor choice because he/she lacks the ability to be sensitive to you and what you care about.  This next character, the bully, suffers from the same issue.  Their ego is so big they lack the capacity to really care about anyone but themselves.  In her article in the June 2012 issue of Psychology Today, Hara Estroff Marano describes this person as the egoist.

Marano’s telltale signs of the Egoist are:

  • Their own interests come first, last and always.
  • They take everything personally.
  • They are unable to compromise, ever.
  • They insist on being seen as right by everyone.

This type of man belittles others to keep his ego in tact. He will berate you to win an argument (or even the slightest disagreement to keep himself “in the right” or “better than” anyone else.  These guys crack me up because they are emotionally abusive then expect you to come back for more.

Although I have already posted some great examples of this kind of man on my blog (click here for an example), I think that sister blogger, Melani  Robinson whose blog, One Year of Online Dating at 50 is a great read for those of us interested in the topic.  EXAMPLE DATE is courtesy of Melani (she gave me permission to use this):

Here it is reprinted:

The Chameleon

by Melani

There were two highly coveted jobs to have post high school in Las Vegas, where big money could be made immediately with virtually no experience. If you told people you were working one of them it was likely the next question would be, “How’d you get it?” Most of the time it was because you knew someone—you got juiced in. Those hot occupations? Valet parking and cocktails.

I considered myself very lucky to spend a summer working cocktails at the Western Village Casino. I made a lot of cash—usually $75-$100 a day. It was 1983 and that was huge money. The uniform was a take on the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders outfit: short skirt, cropped, fringed vest, white cowboy boots. There wasn’t much of me that remained a mystery, but having lost my Freshman Fifteen I felt comfortable enough. It was physically the toughest job I’ve ever had. Carrying those trays of drinks—loading them up to avoid multiple trips. Walking for miles around the casino floor in uncomfortable shoes while using a sing-songy voice to repeat, “Cocktails?” A permanent carefree smile was required even as the feet throbbed. Putting up with the Friday night drunks who came to cash their paychecks and listen to live country/western music in the lounge was simply part of the job. There was a massive level of coordination necessary to balance a full tray of glasses and bottles without spilling, while maneuvering a crowded bar and sidestepping a nightly grope–or five. There were always those who would grab the brand of beer they’d ordered from the tray without realizing the weight was strategically resting on my palm.

Don’t ever take anything from a server’s tray.

That job taught me what I didn’t want to do for the rest of my life but also made me forever respectful of the hard work of servers–and certainly some of the indignities they experience.

costumecrazeI met Ira for a drink on our first date–tall, nice looking, an Ivy League law degree and a hugely successful practice. He was a litigator for big award lawsuits and proud of his lucrative career and all the accouterments of a rich attorney’s life. He was brilliant and had a sarcastic sense of humor that was self-effacing.

It was a quick first date, but I felt a bit of chemistry brewing—enough to warrant a second one.

He’s a nice guy, I thought after that first night.

We met for dinner a few days later at Alouette, a French bistro in my neighborhood. It was a charming restaurant with a relaxed ambiance and excellent food. The wait staff was warm and efficient and I settled in as we shared a bottle of wine and light conversation.

EventseekrThe evening was just getting started.

On our first date I’d told Ira about the blog. Eventually our casual chat became a bit more serious as he brought up my writing. I tensed up, as I always do. I’ve learned to accept criticism as part of the process, but it is never easy and my defenses are always on high alert.

It’s a funny thing that everyone’s an expert when it comes to writing.

He talked about how much he’d enjoyed reading my posts and that he thought I was an excellent at what I did. I felt my insides relax a little. I’m sure it showed on my face. The server approached the table and unobtrusively poured more wine and then paused, I believe to take our order.  Ira waved him away without glancing in his direction. I didn’t like that and thanked the waiter for the wine and asked that he give us a few more minutes.

Ira continued to wax poetic about my mad writing skills. I felt myself relaxing into his words. Music to a novice writer’s ear, and my annoyance at his pompous treatment of our waiter began to fade. Shamefully, professional flattery is my Kryptonite. The server waited about fifteen minutes and then approached again. Ira was in the middle of a story and he continued to talk while the waiter stood patiently waiting. I interrupted Ira and told him we should order.

We’d had plenty of time to look at the menu. We had even discussed what we were ordering yet Ira, once again, dismissively told the waiter to come back as he’d not decided. At that point we had been at the table for 30 minutes and I told Ira that I was hungry and asked that he choose quickly.

Finally, we ordered.

Ira continued to monopolize the conversation and a funny thing happened. His face changed and he delivered the first verbal punch.

“I find some of the things you’ve written to be distasteful—inappropriate.”

I asked for an example.

“I don’t want to read about the sex you had with your husband when he was undergoing chemo.”

He was referring to the blog post, The Fun Factor.

“That was important. I wanted the reader to understand my relationship with my husband. How much fun we had even when he was sick. I wanted them to know the history of my life with Neal—why it will be hard to replace him—the stuff I’m looking for again.”

“I was embarrassed for you.”

“Well, you’re one reader. Many others loved that part of the post. Whatever.”

Ira didn’t like that I dismissed his opinion.

He raised his voice slightly and told me again how inappropriate it was to share. Other patrons glanced in our direction and I saw our waiter watching from the side of the room.

“Don’t you raise your voice to me. I write what I want to write. If you don’t like it, don’t read it but you’re not going to bully me. Something tells me you can be a bully.”

Ira confirmed that he was used to having his opinion respected and that he was sometimes a tad rude in his delivery. “An occupational hazard when you’re the best at what you do,” he replied.

I should’ve left. I don’t know why I didn’t but the rest of the meal was filled with several tense moments where he shared an opinion on a topic, I disagreed and he got angry but then caught himself and adjusted his behavior, but inside I could tell he was seething.

After dinner, Ira suggested dessert. I didn’t want to spend another moment with him and declined. He ordered it anyway and asked for two forks. He also ordered an espresso. By that time we were one of the few occupied tables in the restaurant.

The server brought our dessert and Ira let it sit on the table untouched for at least fifteen minutes. I could see our server watching and waiting patiently. We were now the only occupied table.

“They’re trying to close the place. We should finish dessert and let them.” I told him quietly.

He ignored me and continued to sip his coffee. I had a few bites of dessert to prompt him to do the same and finally, our meal was over. I expected Ira to ask for the bill. He had other plans.

He ordered another espresso.

I don’t know if he was intentionally screwing with the server or me or if he was trying to drag out the date since he knew that I wanted to get away from him. I could see a look cross our waiter’s face when Ira ordered the second coffee, but he respectfully said, “Of course.” I told him he could bring the bill when he brought the coffee.

Ira took forever to finish, but FINALLY the bill was paid and we made our way towards the exit.

“Excuse me, excuse me,” I heard behind us as we’d almost reached the door. Ira and I turned to see our waiter behind us.

“Yes?” I said.

“Did I do something wrong? Were you unhappy with the food or my service?”

“No, the food was wonderful and your service was perfect. Why?” I said, shocked by his question.

“Because of this,” he said as he showed me the bill.

Ira was defensive. “I paid the bill.”

“Sir, it wasn’t the bill, but my tip.”

I glanced at the tip he’d left and felt instantly sick to my stomach. Our bill came to $149 and Ira had left a $7 tip.

“What were you thinking?” I said. His service was impeccable. “Don’t worry,” I said to the waiter, “You’ll be given the right tip. Either he’s going to do it or I will.”

“Pay him.” I said to Ira in a tone that left no alternative.

Ira pulled out his money clip and peeled off a ten-dollar bill and threw it on the tray with the check.

“No, that’s not enough.”

“It’s a seventeen dollar tip!” Ira said incredulously.

“On a hundred and fifty dollar bill not even close to being enough. Give him more, a twenty.”

Ira sheepishly pulled a twenty-dollar bill from the wad and threw it on the tray along with the ten. “There, are you happy now?” He asked, with an indignant tone.

“I’m so sorry. Your service was wonderful,” I told the waiter as I made a beeline for the door.

Once outside I turned to Ira and my monologue began. “What were you thinking? Don’t you understand that he works for tips? He’s making minimum wage and survives in New York City on those tips. Are you so removed from the real world that you don’t get that? I’ve never been more humiliated in my life.”

Ira tried to justify his shitty tip. Mentioning things like in Europe tips aren’t required, etc. I wasn’t having it. He finished with this, “Well, now he’s rich. He won’t have to pay taxes on that tip since it was cash.”

I walked away from that stupid remark and began searching the street for a cab. I also started to cry. I think it was a combination of being mortified and the realization that I was on a date with a monster.

Sometimes the hopelessness of this online dating experience gets to me.

Ira asked why I was crying and I told him that I found his cruelty to our server throughout dinner disgusting and then the tip he left was the final insult. I explained that I’d been a cocktail server in college and understood how hard the work was.

You were a cocktail server?” Ira said, in a tone that implied I’d just told him I was a crack whore. “And wheredid you go to college, by the way?” Ira knew I went to the University of Nevada/Reno. I’d told him that on our first date. In typical lawyer fashion Ira was asking a question he already knew the answer to. And he was doing it to put me in my place.

“Don’t you dare pull that snobbish bullshit with me. You know exactly where I went to school and you’re not going to fuck with me that way,” I said calmly, no more crying. “You’re so transparent.”

I’m the brunette on the right with the junk in the trunk.A cab arrived and I got in. Ira got in the other side, which was a shock. “I’ll see you home, and maybe we can talk about this some more. I’m sorry if I upset you.”

“We have nothing to say. I don’t want to talk to you and you’re not coming inside my apartment.”

We rode in silence for a few blocks and the driver stopped at a red light. Ira opened the door and got out. “See ya,” he said, just before slamming the door.

I got an email message from him the next day apologizing for his behavior and filled with regret that we wouldn’t be seeing each other again. I think this was Ira’s boilerplate response to many women he’s met on the site.

I did not reply.

“Only the little people pay taxes.” Leona Helmsley


Congrats to Melani for doing the right thing with the egoist when he emailed- ignore them. She did not reply when he emailed and apologized which was totally the correct course of action.  The more you engage with these people the more their ego is fed.  When they are no longer getting the attention they need they will go on to find someone else to torture and leave you alone.

DATING TIP:  Take one from Melani.  Pay attention to how your date treats the wait staff.  Their behavior towards the server(s) is a good indication of how they might treat you after the initial glow of a new relationship is over.  Look for someone who treats all people with kindness, consideration and respect.

Have you ever been involved with a bully?  How did you minimize their power?

Men to Avoid: How to Spot Them and Thwart Them


As someone who has dated a bunch of different people over my lifetime and failed to find the real Mr. Right, I know a little something about what types of men to AVOID.  An  article in the June 2012 issue of Psychology Today titled DIFFICULT PEOPLE: How to Handle Whiners, Manipulators, Bullies and More prompted me to think about some of these men and the telltale signs that indicated I should RUN AWAY from them as fast as possible.

So in the spirit of sharing some of my knowledge gained through experience (and the experiences of others) and the desire to help us all find a good, healthy match I will begin a series on Men To Avoid: How to Spot Them and Thwart Them.

The first type of man I would like to bring up is the braggart.

My father once told me that if someone has to repeatedly tell you how fabulous they are they probably are not fabulous at all. Fabulous people are simply fabulous and you can figure this out for yourself. The late Carnegie Melon Professor, Randy Pausch of The Last Lecture fame, reinforced this idea in his now famous lecture when he notes that one should pay attention to ones actions rather than their words.

Telltale signs of the braggart:

He feels must tell you everything about himself on the first date.  You will barely get a word in edgewise though he may even deign to ask you a couple of questions he will probably cut you off to talk more about himself. But before the evening is over you will know a lot about his divorce, his ex-wife and HER problems, his career and how critical he was to his company/country/team, what clubs he belongs to, the prestigious places he vacations, how he absolutely must fly first class, how much his former or current house(s) cost and the names of all his most famous and influential friends. He will bore you by literally telling you how wonderful he is, what a great catch.

WARNING: He is really a used car salesman trying to sell you a lemon.


A friend set me up with this man as on the outside he appeared to have many of the characteristics I am looking for in a mate  such as a good sense of humor, established in his career, available (as in definitely divorced), has lived overseas with strong ties to France, interested in travel, food, the performing arts and is involved in charity work.

We met for dinner and he seemed very nice – at first.  Then he started talking about his divorce and how his ex had screwed him over which took up about 30 minutes.  He regaled me with tales of his affairs and how clever he was to keep all seventeen of them from his wife. He shared how his children won’t talk to him though he considers himself a great father. He dropped names of people, places and events.  Then he spent another 30 minutes telling me how honest, loving and caring he is. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud -or crying from boredom and sadness of how clueless this guy was.

The food was fantastic, however!

After I made it clear to him that I was uninterested in meeting him again he hounded me with texts for days trying to convince me what a great guy he is and how I should reconsider – completely disrespecting the boundary I set.

This type of person makes a poor relationship candidate.  The are unable to step outside of their own head to be empathetic or very much care about you and the things that are important to you – one of the keys to relationship success. The best course of action is to just say “No” to this person and avoid engagement of any other sort.

Do you have any stories about braggarts you would like to share?


DATING TIP:  Always carry enough money to get you home via cab or public transportation on the first few dates with someone so you can feel confident in your ability to escape a bad date if  you wish.

1st Date: A nice change of pace




Yep, it is time to start going out again and yesterday, a stunning spring day here in central Virginia, I had a delightful lunch al fresco with a lovely man.  If you have been following my recent dating life, you will know that this is a dramatic change of pace- meaning a delightful dating experience.

This man is nice looking, athletic (including yoga), a pleasant conversationalist, has a charming sense of humor, is an established professional, he is a father  age AND he has been divorced for a few years which means he is actually

A-V-A-I-L-A-B-L-E !!!!!!

We have enough in common to be compatible but differ enough to be interesting to each other.

Here’s what  happened:

He talked about his children rather than his ex-wife.

He asked questions and listened to my answers.

He shared appropriate information about himself rather than things like his sexual preferences, his issues with his co-workers/relatives/other women, details of his divorce or medical problems.

He expressed interest in my viewpoints rather than judging or trying to fix things.

He let me speak in full sentences rather than interrupting.

We ate at one of my favorite restaurants (his too), chatted and shared a chocolate mousse.

After lunch we took a nice walk and that was that. We agreed that we would like to see each other again and there was a comfortable lack of physical contact or attempt there of. (Click here to read about a contracting date)

I look forward to seeing him again soon.

When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised on a date?

An option




Apparently Santa has come early for this good girl (who knew?).  A friend virtually introduced me to B6, a successful entrepreneur, established in his business, lives near Charlottesville, is athletic, enjoys UVA sports,has a pleasant demeanor and a good sense of humor in his early to mid 50’s, his youngest child is in college and he seems completely sane (a huge bonus after B5 and other pre-DBT dates).


We met for coffee and had a nice hour long chat, shook hands (no ambush kisses attempted). He emailed later to ask if I would like to have lunch the following week. I really liked the lack of pressure either physical or emotional.  Several first dates I have been on closed with an awkward question of “Would you like to get together again?” and I feel put on the spot.  No red flags at this moment.


Will keep you posted on lunch.

Blip : meet B#5


It has been a busy week.  Six play reviewed in eight days, 4 parties in the last two days and three meals “out” and two dates – a second date with B#3 and a first date with B#5 (need to fill you in).  Haven’t heard anything from B#4 this week though I left him a “thank you” voice mail and sent him a copy of the review I wrote of the play we say last Sunday afternoon.  This is the way he is a probably has something to do with why things never got off the ground with him years ago.

Second date with B#3 went fine but I got grouchy and irritated towards the end of the evening.  Dinner was great and the show was fantastic but I found myself getting a little irritated with him for no particular reason.  I am sensing something about him that I don’t like but I am also concerned that it is just because he is a nice guy and I am fairly un-used to that.  He invited my daughter and I out to his farm this morning to cut a Christmas tree (a very sweet gesture- he seemed eager to solve my Christmas tree dilemma which was I was uncomfortable paying for one but thought I should have one this year to add a feeling of festiveness to the cabin) and he was perfectly delightful and kind of cute in everyday clothes.  We saw him later another event to which he had invited us.  Since the invitation included anyone else we’d like to bring my friend F came and his beautiful lady friend.  The lady friend and B#3 had briefly dated about a year ago so that added an interesting dynamic to the afternoon.

Now I will introduce you to B#5:  This man is accomplished in his field, my middle sister’s age (older than me), well-off, children off to college, divorced twice and articulate. The photo I found of him showed a good-looking man, athletic and distinguished. A friend gave us both contact information and we had two delightful conversations then decided to meet for coffee. In real life he was at least 40 lbs heavier than his photo which took me off guard. I enjoyed the conversation but at the end of a 2.5 hour introduction he went for the ambush kiss when we were saying good bye.  I HATE that.  There was no indication on my part that a kiss would be appropriate and I had to dodge his mouth and kiss his cheek- ACK!  I was totally drained after that and just felt something amiss.

He called twice the next day and texted at 7:20am on the next morning (a Sunday).  When I finally called him to let him know that I had thought about it and didn’t want to pursue contact under the auspices of an eventual romantic attachment he said I had presumed too much, proceeded to tell me all the things that were wrong with me and then asked me if I wanted to get together with him after all.  I said it would be nice to meet under professional mentoring circumstances and he did a 180 and said that he only had time for relationships that had the possibility of romance.  WHATEVER, Mr. Presumptuous!  I felt great after hanging up.  I knew I had just spared us both from the agony of each other’s company.

Now that my daughter is home for the next four days before she leaves on vacation with her Dad, things should slow down a bit. And frankly I am ready for a rest.