Is That A Big Fish…

Or are you just happy to see me?

Dating at any age isn’t easy, it’s always just a little bit awkward. But dating at a certain age is a whole new fresh hell.

I guess this is where I put out the disclaimer that if you are one of my more straight-laced readers, you might want to skim past this one. I am going to throw some shade and lay down some hard-won wisdom. I am by no means an expert and I still have questions of my own, but things are weird out there.

As many of you know, I lost my husband over 2 years ago, and last year I got back out on the dating scene. At this moment, I’m not sure why it seemed like the thing to do? Since I am a student of life I thought I’d share, maybe you will learn from my mistakes. I’ve also made some fascinating observations, I will keep it PG, but there will be some mild subtext.

Back in the day, you met people out and about, while you were living life, doing what you liked, and you had a conversation. You hit it off and then dating happened along with all the awkwardness, exploration, and testing that ensued. That doesn’t happen anymore. It’s all text conversations, apps, scams, and catfishing.

Now my observations are strictly from the female perspective, but I am sure that some of these go both ways. Let’s face it, there are plenty of ladies out there who aren’t what they say they are, either. All I can say is, ask a lot of questions. Questions are your friend.

But I digress, let’s get to a few things to be aware of:

If they seem too good to be true, they probably are. If they look like a supermodel with washboard abs and you look like the StayPuff Marshmallow Man with bedhead in pajamas, they are scamming you. (No disrespect, ladies, I’m fluffy and fine with it, but I know when something just doesn’t feel right.)

If they immediately are in love with you, they are a scammer. (I’m awesome, but I don’t want anyone telling me they love me during my first text conversation.)

If they immediately try to get you off whatever your choice dating app is and ask you to download Snapchat, WhatsApp, Google Text, or whatever, you need to rethink and ask a BUNCH of questions about them. (I once asked a guy if he would take a selfie of himself holding his driver’s license so he could prove he was who he said he was. He couldn’t. I was ok with it.)

If they refuse to call you, facetime, video chat, or meet up, chances are they are not who they say they are.

Just be careful out there and when in doubt, talk to your friends about whoever you may be chatting up. They will want to give you love life advice anyway, and this way they can live vicariously through you. LOL!

Now onto the fun part, the observations.

My first observation has to be that 99% of the men have photos with really BIG fish. In my mind, this has to be compensation of some kind. I mean, it’s not the size of the fish, it’s the motion of the ocean, right? Are they showing me I won’t starve if the zombie apocalypse comes? Personally, I don’t find fish sexy, but maybe that’s just me.

The next observation was how many men wanted to go on hikes in the wilderness for a first date. Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I do not want to go off into the wilderness with some guy I met over a text message. Something about that just screams AX MURDERER. Dude, take her out for coffee, I know you hate to pay $5 for a Starbucks if it isn’t going to go somewhere, but you will live, I promise, and more importantly, she will. And, you might get a second date that includes a hike.

Observation number three, images may not be as they appear. There are SO many aspects to this observation. I do not know why, as a culture, we are so obsessed with filters. Just be real. Take a bath, wear clothes (more about this later), comb your hair (if you have any), and for God’s sake, SMILE. Get yourself out in some nice natural light and take a photo, or better yet, have a friend take your photo. I know you will be tempted to put a filter on it, just don’t. When you show up at the coffee shop she will actually be able to pick you out of the line at the counter to say hello. Otherwise, what happens…you walk in looking like a dried apple that is nothing like the photos, and she is going to be disappointed, and probably go to the bathroom and never come back. It’s false advertising. It’s wrong.

Observation number four, clothes, wear them. Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I like to unwrap a package. A nice form-fitting shirt and jeans, or a suit. Yes, please. I like it when there is something left to the imagination. Unless you look like Jason Momoa, The Rock, Chris Evans, or whatever heartthrob is on the cover without his shirt on, keep your clothes on. And for all that is holy, please don’t take a selfie of yourself lying in bed. Creepy. Most women I’ve talked to said that is a hard pass, we don’t want to see it. Also, don’t take a selfie of yourself looking down at the camera, you look like a Shar Pei who needs time at the groomer. It is never going to be your best look.

Observation number five, be who you say you are. Just be honest. Do you really want to start a relationship based on some false interpretation of who you are? That is a recipe for failure. Both parties in a relationship deserve honesty. I’m sorry, I am unapologetically who I am. If you don’t like me for who I am, how could I ever like you for who you are?

Trust me everything is better when you can be comfortable in your own skin. I have had a few great dates, that ended in new friends and nothing more and that’s ok. I know what I want, and more importantly, what I don’t want, and I’m not afraid to share that information. I am not unkind, but I am honest.

Oh, and yes, there have been bad dates as well. All I can say is don’t take things too personally or let them rob you of your peace. I appreciate honesty. I much prefer a straight-up conversation, but that doesn’t mean you get to belittle me. I won’t stand for anything less than respect. Passive-aggressive doesn’t play well, just say what you mean, and don’t manipulate me. I believe you get what you give. If you don’t respect me, don’t expect me to respect you.

I have learned that life is too short for drama and chaos. Many people mistake drama for passion and that is sad to me. Once you learn that passion can exist without drama, your whole world opens up. There is so much passion in art, in music, in everyday life but it is often overlooked, it’s the little things. Pay attention to the little things.

That old saying that you have to love yourself before others can love you, rings true. Right now, that’s where I am. I like my own company. If I can’t stand myself, who else will? I love who I am. I’m a sassy, outgoing, straightforward, funny, clumsy, independent woman, and definitely a work in progress. The progress is where the fun comes in. Be happy being you.

I hope my ramblings have been helpful or at least entertaining. I will close with the chorus from one of my favorite Keb Mo songs:

But if nobody loves you
and you feel like dust on an empty shelf
just remember
you can love yourself

Thanks for reading.

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