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Nov 29

Where to meet men

Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 in dating, Happiness, Kat, Relationships, Singles

We found ourselves at the mall, Sara, Mia and me, on Black Friday after all, despite my protestations. Actually, just one store in the mall, the Apple Store, because Mia needed a new power cord for her laptop.

The place was packed (Why? I have no idea; it’s not like Apple offers any Black Friday deals at 4 a.m.), but better yet, it was packed with men. 

“Wow,” Mia exclaimed, ogling the eye candy who were checking out the iPads and iPhones. “Where did all these guys come from?”

“Not around here, that’s for sure,” Sara said, “otherwise I’m sure I would have seen most of them naked at some point.”

Mia and I rolled our eyes.

“This place is better than any speed dating event I went to,” she continued.

“Or bar,” Mia said.

“Or online dating site,” I chimed in.

Could Apple stores be the “new bar” when it comes to meeting people?

I don’t know; it would be a bit creepy to walk up to someone and ask about their ram needs. Personally, I have many, but thankfully Sean is quite generous when it comes to that. Plus, at a bar someone from the other end can buy you a drink (or vice versa); you’re not likely to get a new iPhone from someone a table or two away in an Apple store although, hey, that could be cool.

But, it’s as good a place as any to meet someone, right? It’s where Robin Williams met his latest bride (No. 3), so it can’t be all that bad, right?

Lots of people hate the bar scene: “You can’t meet anyone good there.” I’m not so sure of that. I did — OK, twice, but still. Online dating sites? Same complaint: “I’ve seen him on this site for years. Playah!” OK, but maybe he was in a long-term relationship and broke up … just at the same time your relationship ended and you’re back online (and he’s thinking, “I’ve seen her on this site for years. Playah!”)

Honestly, I don’t where to “go” to meet someone. I think you just have to live your life and not hole up in your pad with a Snuggie , a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, Netflix and the remote. It doesn’t make a difference where or how you meet someone as long as you meet someone.

Generally, it starts with a smile and a hello.

The bigger issue, of course, is how to make things work after the smile, hello and first date. Hey — do they have an app for that yet?

  • Where’s the most unusual place you met someone?
  • Where do you “go” to meet potential romantic partners?
  • What’s harder/more enjoyable — meeting people or the first date?

 

 

Nov 22

How to pick a holiday gift for a guy

Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 in dating, Kat, Men, Relationships, Women

“Sara, I am not doing Black Friday with you,” I said a little too loudly on my phone as I walked Roxy.

“Oh, c’mon. It will be fun!”

“Getting up at 3 a.m. is not my idea of fun, unless Sean’s poking me and even then …”

“But you love shopping, Kat.”

“I don’t love it, but, yeah, I like me a good shopping ‘experience’ like any other woman, just not with hundreds of crazed shoppers around me. Anyway, I’m going small this year with the gifts.”

“Well, I need to get Todd something, and I have no idea what to get and how much to spend.”

“It will be near impossible to make a rational decision fighting the hordes half-asleep.”

“You’re right. OK, but … what do I get him?”

And isn’t that the million-dollar question on a lot of people’s minds this time of year, especially if they’re in a new relationship — or not sure if they’re even in a relationship? 

I’m a pretty good gift giver — I think. I listen throughout the year for the “I wish” and “I’d love to get,” and if it hasn’t been bought by year’s end that’s likely what Sean, my kids or my parents will find under the tree. Although I still think the best gifts are the ones you give throughout the year “just because,” not just it’s expected of you. The holidays make everybody crazy.

But when you’ve got a new love? I’m just as stumped as Sara is because you’re still learning about him or her. Until you come to an understanding about gift-giving patterns and expectations — is he a big-gift giver or a non-gift guy? Does he have a sense of who you are or did he buy you something some salesperson talked him into? — you have to give something. But, what?

I’ve made CD compilations in the past, but that’s not OK for everyone and might be considered cheap early on in a relationship. Plus, all that’s changed now because of technology. If he’s an iPad/iPhone guy, you can bet the CD and DVD players are long gone.

Lord knows we all have enough stuff, so I’m loathe to buy just anything. How many hat and scarf sets or leather gloves does a guy need? I prefer to give the gift of experience — a concert, a show, a getaway. Can’t do that early on in a relationship, though — it’s a commitment for a future day, and who knows if you’ll still be together or not?

Then there’s the price thing. How much do you spend on someone you’ve known for six months? A year?

And, do you even give a gift to someone who isn’t your boyfriend or girlfriend, someone you’re just seeing? That’s a tricky one.

Now, I’m easy to give for; cook me a dinner, arrange a picnic hike, tickets to a favorite band — I melt like buttah. Just don’t get me something sparkly; as I’ve written before, if a guy buys me jewelry, I know the relationship is doomed.

So, help me help Sara:

  • If you’re a guy, what do you like to get as a gift?
  • What truly matters more, the thought or the gift? (Be honest!)
  • What would be inappropriate to get from someone you’re been dating six months?
  • Does it bother you if someone you’re dating seems clueless about what you’d like?

 Photo © Mosista Pambudi – Fotolia.com

 

Oct 25

It’s not you, it’s me — except when it’s you

Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 in Aging, dating, Divorce, Happiness, Honesty, Kat, Relationships, Self image, Singles

The phone rang ridiculously early on a Saturday morning. It was Sara. I looked over at Sean — snoring happily and oblivious to the drama that was most likely about to unfold — so I answered.

“Did you see that article in the Times?”

“What article?”

“The ‘Modern Love‘ article. She sounds like us.”

“I’ll get back to you,” I said as I hung up the phone and curled back up against Sean, who let out a muffled “Humph.”   

True to my word, I did read the article later that day. And although the author, Sara Eckel, is younger than Sara and me by a few, cough, decades, I totally get what she’s saying:

Being an unattached woman who would rather not be somehow meant you were a nitwit, a bubblehead who had few concerns beyond shopping, pedicures and “Will he call?” My friends and I had no interest in shopping or pedicures, but that didn’t stop us from feeling wildly embarrassed that we longed for love. … Like single women everywhere, I had bought into the idea that the problem must be me, that there was some essential flaw — arrogance, low self-esteem, fear of commitment — that needed to be fixed. I needed to be fixed.

Somehow, if you are a woman admitting that you’d rather not be single — whether you’ve never married or whether you are divorced and looking for love again — people assume there must be something wrong with you if you either make that a priority or if you can’t find someone.

As midlife divorcees, the stereotypes about Sara and me are a little different than those about Eckel and her generation (30-somethings), but they are no less maddening.

Divorcees (of any age) are bitter women who battle their exes and use their children as pawns and their child support payments to become plastic Barbies to keep their fading beauty from fading too quickly, and who got divorced because they knew they’d walk away with the house, the kids and a big, fat alimony check.  Or something like that. It isn’t true for many of us — certainly not Sara and me — but that doesn’t make things better. Perception is reality for too many people.

I hate the perceptions about divorced people — we’re failures, flawed, selfish, and self-absorbed people who don’t understand what commitment and “for better or worse” means, and put our own needs (aka happiness) before our children’s need, blah, blah, blah.

Those perceptions sting.

Like Eckel, we are wrestling with the belief that there’s something inherently wrong with us — we couldn’t make a marriage work, after all. How hard is that?!?! OK, granted — there are some divorced people who are bitter, who are oblivious to what commitment means, who have selfishly put their needs before their kids’. But, please don’t paint all of us with that broad paintbrush.

As for wanting love again at midlife, well, there’s the rub: Most of us assume we won’t find someone because of our wrinkles, sags and “issues.” And, yes — it is a little harder to find people at age 40 and beyond because the pool of eligible men is somewhat smaller and there’s a certain percentage of guys who want to skew younger. Fine — we’re not interested in those types! As Eckel says:

Did we find love because we grew up, got real and worked through our issues? No. We just found the right guys. We found men who love us even though we’re still cranky and neurotic, haven’t got our careers together, and sometimes talk too loudly, drink too much and swear at the television news. We have gray hairs and unfashionable clothes and bad attitudes. They love us, anyway.

Finding the “right guys” (or, in broader terms, the right person) is the take-home message.

Of course, nothing’s wrong with naming and addressing our issues head-on, and working through them as best we can. You can’t be available to fully embrace and love someone else if you can’t fully embrace and love yourself.

But, really, someone who loves us despite the crankiness, neuroses, gray hairs, bad clothes and other “endearing qualities” — isn’t that what we all want?

We just have to be prepared to do the same for someone else.

  • Ever feel that there was something wrong with you because you were seeking love?
  • Ever feel that something was wrong with you because you couldn’t find love?
  • Ever feel that something was wrong with you because you couldn’t hold on to love?
  • What stereotypes as a single or divorced person bother you the most?

 

Photo © Refocus Photography – Fotolia.com