Love and Loss

A friend of mine recently reminded me of the old saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I happen to agree with this. I can’t imagine going through life never having experienced love.

My friend said this to me to encourage me to go “out there” again. But the saying doesn’t exactly apply, because I’ve been lucky enough to have already experienced love. And I’ve been unlucky enough to have experienced loss.

I do think that for someone who has experienced love and loss, it’s still worth that risk to try again. A second chance at love is probably worth the risk of another loss.

However, I also believe at some point it makes sense to stop. Loss is always painful. And it doesn’t get any easier each time. In fact, I think it gets harder. Isn’t there a limit to how much loss one must endure in their quest for lasting love? Surely so much loss must have a deleterious effect on one’s health.

If someone has been lucky enough to have already loved ten times, but has been beaten down from ten losses, I don’t think it is true that it’s better to love an eleventh time and experience yet another excruciating loss. At that point, it’s worse to lose yet another time than to try to love again.

Let us summarize what we’ve learned so far. Better to love and lose once than not at all. Better to love a second time and lose again than to give up trying. Worse to love an eleventh time and lose yet again than to quit while you are already so far behind.

It seems that there is a magic number between two and eleven, an inflection point, where the risk of loss starts to outweigh the potential benefit of another attempt at love. Let’s say that number is five. Then the saying for that infection point would be, “It is equally as painful to experience a fifth loss as it would be pleasurable to experience love for a fifth time.” And once you pass this number, stop and choose a new hobby.

In Search of Rhonda

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Since my divorce in 2005, I’ve been on a quest to find my true life partner. My soulmate. The woman I will hopefully share the rest of my life with.

It’s almost twelve years later, and so far my quest has not been successful. I’ve met some nice women, and I’ve had several relationships, but unfortunately, there was always something that made them not work out. And, as I’ve learned, with each failed relationship comes a new loss in my life.

Losses are tough to take. As we go through life, we experience more and more losses. First we lose our grandparents. We lose pets. We lose parents. Some of us are unfortunate enough to lose siblings.

When one suffers a loss, they go through emotions that are similar to clinical depression. And, of course, there are always all five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Right now, I’m still alternating between all of the first four. I’ve had brief visits to acceptance, but those have been short glimpses that lasted less than a day.

I’ve mitigated the chances for future grief a bit by making a pact with myself never to get another pet. We always outlive our pets. Pets are certain loss. In my life, I’ve lost Skippy, Elmer, Licorice, Kihei, and Kitty. And I’ve been there to see my daughter lose Tweety Bird and Peanuts. That’s enough pet loss for a lifetime.

After each relationship ends, I always restart my quest, once I’ve finally made it to the acceptance stage and can stay there. Single friends have told me that they admire my persistence, my optimism, my tenacity.

When recent relationships have ended, I’ve gone to a playlist that I made for myself a few relationships back. I listen to it in the car. It consists of six covers of the song “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”, by various artists. My favorite is the one by Elvis Costello. One of my favorite stanzas from the song is this one:

What do you get when you give your heart?
You get it all broken up and battered
That’s what you get, a heart that’s shattered
I’ll never fall in love again

But, there is a part at the end that is hopeful and optimistic:

So for at least until tomorrow
I’ll never fall in love again

It’s saying that when I say “never” I don’t really mean never never. I might change my mind tomorrow. Or the next day. And in the past, I’ve always done that and returned to my quest.

This time I haven’t made it to that point. It seems different. This loss seems to have broken my spirit. I’ve come to the realization that if I try again it’s almost certainly going to end, as every attempt in the past has, and I’ll have to go through loss and grief once again. I can prevent that by not trying anymore. I can make a “no more relationships” pact, similar to my “no more pets” pact.

One thing that makes me happy in recent times is the poki bowl, also known as the poke bowl. When I have a poki bowl, it always puts me in a good mood, always makes me smile. Especially sweet is when I find a new poki restaurant, and I’m pleasantly surprised by the quality of the poki.

After yoga class, I was looking for a new place to have dinner, so I took out my phone and fired up the Yelp app. I was looking for some new fast food restaurant near the yoga place, so I could have a quick dinner before going to Trader Joe’s, down the block, for some grocery shopping. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a new poki place. I searched Mission Viejo for restaurants. And guess what was the first restaurant to come up in the search, 0.3 miles away–right across the street? Yes, a new poki place! Poke Wave! It had 154 reviews. Five full stars. Yay!

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Less than a minute later I was in Poke Wave ordering my bowl. But before I ate it, as I am wont to do, I had to take a picture of my food, check in on Facebook, and post a photo. Here is the photo for you, dear reader.

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It was even better than it looked! And I thoroughly enjoyed it. As I was eating it, one of my friends replied to my Facebook post with this question:

“Are they playing the Beach Boys in the background?”

Because Poke Wave. Get it?

On the way home, I listened to my Beach Boys playlist in the car. First “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, then “California Girls”, then “Surfin’ USA”, and finally “Help Me Rhonda”. And I realized what I need. I need a Rhonda!

Help me, Rhonda
Help, help me, Rhonda
Help me, Rhonda, yeah
Get her out of my heart

I Just Need Someone To Love

I’m trying something new for my dating site blurb. Instead of saying that I like to eat vegetarian food and sushi, and that I enjoy yoga, hiking, long walks, and board games, I thought I’d try something different. So here it is. I’ll probably change it back tomorrow.

I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends [1]

While this is true, and I am extremely grateful for my friends, I want something more.

I want somebody to love
I just need someone to love [1]

I see a lot of profiles that say something like this:

I am happy with my life, and I don’t need a romantic relationship. But, it would be a nice addition.

They say that a romantic relationship would be “dessert” or “icing on the cake” or “the cherry on top”. I don’t feel that way. For me, a romantic relationship, or what I’d prefer to call a primary relationship, is not dessert; it’s the main course. I want a partner who also wants a main course, who won’t think of me as dessert. I want to be the priority in her life, as she will be in mine. Friends, relatives, kids, they all have (or will have) their own families to keep them busy, who are their priorities. My partner is the person who will stand by my side through the remainder of my life, the person who will be there for me whenever I need her, the person who will always be available when I need to talk, the person who will pick me up if I fall. She will be my soft place to land. And I will be all these things for her.

Even though it’s likely been torn out and trampled on many times, as has mine, the partner I am looking for will be brave enough to wear her heart out on her sleeve, as I will with mine. She knows that it’s a big risk, but the potential payoff is what will make life worthwhile.

When we find each other, we will both want to say this:

You’re just too good to be true
I can’t take my eyes off you
You’d be like heaven to touch
I wanna hold you so much
At long last love has arrived
And I thank God I’m alive
You’re just too good to be true
Can’t take my eyes off you [2]


[1] Lyrics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
[2] Lyrics by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

6009 Views

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My Match profile hit a milestone today. Six thousand women have viewed me. To be precise, six thousand and nine. Hitting the milestone made me decide to look at the profiles of the women who have viewed me most recently, pushing me past this milestone.

In one profile, S describes what she’s looking for with the following:
“I’d like a LTR with a kind considerate affectionate communicative gentleman.”
I find this interesting. I think everyone is looking for something like that. Of course, S and I are not a match. This made me wonder why we are all looking for the same thing, but none of us are compatible with one another.

I had blocked S’s profile earlier today, but I didn’t remember why. Since her profile is blocked from search, I was unable to go back and look at it. If I wanted to remember why I blocked her, I would have to page through all the profiles that I blocked, all 6,461 of them, find hers, and unblock it, so I could read it again. So of course, this is what I did. Luckily, they are sorted by profile name. Otherwise, it would have been a very difficult task. I found S’s name on the 55th page of my blocked profiles and promptly unblocked it.

OK, now I remember. She earns $150,000+ a year in her job as a lawyer. That’s the highest category, so it could be much more than $150,000. I am not in that category! She subscribes to two premium channels–both Showtime and HBO–and has a personal trainer. I remember how I felt when I first read her profile, because I began to feel that way again. I felt like she was above my paygrade. She would have a lifestyle and expectations that I would not be able to fulfill. I just wouldn’t be able to keep up with her financially. And I wouldn’t only have to keep up with her and pay my share of her lifestyle. I’d be expected to pay for it all. Because that’s the way it is.

Here is another one who made it easy for me to block her profile:
“If you are under 45, shorter than 5’11”, live farther than 50 miles away, and/or not in shape, I will NOT RESPOND and I WILL block you….no offense!”
No offense taken, and thanks for making my job easier.

The most recent woman who looked at my profile is D. She looked at my profile today, and she actually sent me a message. Her message was one of the best I’ve received. She mentioned things she liked in my profile, her words had a conversational tone to them, and she seemed very likable. But, she lives in San Diego, which is about ninety miles away from me, well beyond my range. In her own profile, she says she is looking for someone “within 0 miles of San Diego”. I’m not joking. I sent her a nice reply thanking her for the thoughtful message and wishing her luck in her search.

The next one who looked at me is C from Sherman Oaks. Sherman Oaks is in the San Fernando valley, about 70 miles from where I live. And her profile header says she’s looking for someone “within 30 miles of Sherman Oaks”. Another easy one to block.

Next was Ch from Berkeley. Berkeley is 422 miles away! And she’s “seeking men 60 – 80 within 50 miles of Berkeley”. This is discouraging.

When I was looking through my blocked profiles to find S the lawyer, I saw that there is a limit on how many profiles one can block from search on Match, and that limit is 10,000 removed profiles. Look for another blog post when I hit that auspicious milestone!

Epilog

If you are wanting to slap me hard for blocking S the lawyer, don’t despair. I reconsidered after re-reading her profile, and I sent her a message. Under what she is looking for, she included all income categories from $35,001-$50,000 all the way up to to highest $150,000+. So perhaps her expectations are not as bad as I feared.

How did all of you spend your 4th of July?

I Do Not Like Tinder

I tried in vain to set my search criteria on Tinder to find someone in my preferred age range of 50-57. Frustrated, I wrote a poem about it.

I Do Not Like Tinder

Tinder is
Not friendly to me
Not friendly at all
As you will see

You choose the age
For your match
You can choose a range
From min to max

Min can start low
Must be 18 by law
Min can start high
From 46 I saw

Max can go low
As low as 22
But I can’t set it precisely
To 51 or 52

The highest number allowed
Is only 49
Then it jumps to 55+
And they think that’s fine

50, 51, 52
53 and 54
All grouped together
With one hundred and four

I do not like Tinder
No thank you ma’am
I do not like Tinder
So old I am

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Filtered Bumbling

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There is a new feature on the Bumble dating site called the filter. A filter allows users to overlay their profile photos with an image that expresses something about themselves. Since it’s election season, they’ve decided to inaugurate the new feature with images that indicate users’ political leanings.

For those who don’t know, Bumble is a swipe left/swipe right Tinder-like site. What makes Bumble unique is that once two members have swiped each other right, the woman must make the first move and contact the man. It’s the Sadie Hawkins of modern dating sites.

The various filters typically have a drawing of the preferred candidate, along with a few words that let the users express how they feel about supporting that candidate. For example, the Bernie Sanders filter unsurprisingly says, “Feel the Bern”.

These days, the time I spend on dating sites is mostly for entertainment purposes. And this new feature is entertaining, at least for a day. For me, I find it interesting to see what kind of women would choose to be on a site where they have to make the first move.

Typically, these are women who are career oriented. There is a larger than average percentage of women who have started their own business, such as yoga studio, reiki healing center, health spa, boutique, hair salon, restaurant, jewelry design, photobooth, donut shop, or green cleaning service. And, of course, there are those who, like on all the other dating sites, just describe themselves are “entrepreneur” or “self-employed”.

Apparently, Bumble also plans to collect data from these filters with their own Bumble poll, which of course will be cited on RealClearPolitics right next to the Rasmussen, Gallup, Pew Research, CNN, and Fox News polls. They have the potential to differentiate preferences of voters by many criteria, including gender, location, age, education, race, religion, and whether they love dogs.

I started looking through women’s profiles, and I was surprised at what I saw. A significant percentage of users applied the filters, maybe 20%. Of those women who used the filters, they all supported Cruz or Trump, and there were roughly an equal number of Cruz and Trump supporters. No Hillary, no Bernie. Who would have thought that powerful women in south Orange County would overwhelmingly align themselves with Cruz or Trump?

I want to show you what these filters look like. To protect the privacy of the other users on the site, I have tried them on for size with my own photo.

Here is “Feel the Bern.”

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For Hillary, there is “A woman’s place is in the White House”.

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For the Republicans, they have “Cruz’n for a bruisin’.”

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And of course “Don’t be a chump. Vote for Trump.”

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There are also the generic “I’m voting Republican” and “I’m voting Democrat”. By the way, I am offended by the latter one. “Democrat” is a noun. The adjective is “Democratic”. Saying “I’m voting Democrat” is like saying “I’m voting Jew.” Or in Bernie Sanders’ case, “I’m voting Jew Democrat”.

Finally, here is my favorite.

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Curiosity Killed The Cat

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OKCupid is one of the “free” dating sites. Most members don’t pay to join, however, it offers certain perks if you do pay. One of the perks is the ability to change your profile name. Another perk is the ability to see who “likes” your profile. There are other perks, such as the ability to browse invisibly–they call this “going incognito”–but I don’t care about those.

I was not completely happy with my screen name, “Philly-to-OC”. It represents the city where I grew up and the county where I now reside. But it doesn’t say anything about me. Plus, it’s not a really manly name. A filly is a female horse, and “philly” sounds like “filly”.

The cost for a month’s worth of premium membership, or as they call it, “A-List”, is $19.95. Not a huge amount of money, and something I can certainly afford. But I refused to do it because of the principle. And it doesn’t seem like a good value.

The issue of the “likes” is another story. Every so often, I could get an email saying (and I paraphrase), “Someone new likes you. We can’t tell you who it was, because you didn’t pay. Na na na na na!” Of course, they are trying to manipulate me into paying.

Today, I got one of those emails. “Someone likes you! You now have 29 likes. And we won’t tell you who they are, because you are not A-List. But, if you take advantage of our offer, which expires at midnight tonight, you can upgrade to A-list at 20% off!”

A dilemma. First of all, does it really matter who liked my profile? I’ve already hidden all the potential matches that would show up in my search results. Whoever liked me, I must have already decided she was not a match and hidden her profile. But the curiosity was still there. And I can change my profile name. And save four dollars!

Well, I couldn’t take the suspense anymore. I got out my credit card and upgraded to A-List. And TA-DA! The forbidden fruit of hidden “likes” was exposed.

The most recent “like” was from March 31 of this year. Her profile name indicates that she likes Corvettes and she lives in Camas, Washington. So she wouldn’t have shown up in any of my searches–too far. I read her profile, and apparently, she doesn’t drive a Corvette anymore. Traded it in for a Hummer. In any case, not a match for me. Why did she “like” my profile? Nice photo of her, though, standing next to Donald Trump. Or is it a cardboard cutout. Doesn’t really matter.

Next is someone actually from Orange County, Anaheim. I’ve seen this profile before. 98% match, and she answered 530 questions. So I did what I always do when I see a high percentage match. I looked at the “Unacceptable answers”. First one: She’d rather go dancing than play Scrabble. Maybe that’s not a deal breaker. Next one: She likes to go camping. Again, not something I like to do, but not a deal breaker. I went through several pages of her unacceptable answers. There were 17 pages of them, and 10 unacceptables per page, for a total of 170 unacceptable answers.

“When texting with a potential partner, is use of proper grammar and spelling important to you?”

She said “No” and I said “Yes”. My “Yes” answer was unacceptable to her. I’m guessing it’s not a deal breaker for her.

As I looked through the 17 pages of unacceptables, I noticed that almost all of them were my answers being unacceptable to her. (There are two kind of unacceptable.) Wow, someone who is more selective than I am! Here are some examples.

It’s unacceptable to her that:
1. I need a great deal of alone time.
2. I keep a budget of my finances.
3. I would dump her if she cheated on me.
4. I don’t believe we’ve had past lives.
5. I like Thai food.
6. I don’t eat in bed.
7. I completed graduate school.
8. I am Jewish.

OK, if #7 is not a deal breaker, then certainly #8 is. But why did she like my profile? I don’t really care to find out. I don’t like her photo anyway.

On to more of the women who “liked” me. Number 3 lives in Canada. Number 4 in Oak Park, CA. I don’t even know where that is. Number 5 is 34 years old and lives in Jackson MS. Number 7 is someone who previously contacted me and we’ve become only online friends because she lives too far. Number 8, New Jersey. Number 9, La Jolla. Number 10, Portugal! And so on up to number 29, who lives in San Clemente, CA and is a 97% match/15% enemy.

Wait a minute! This one might actually be a match and doesn’t live that far. But, the list is ordered by the date of the “like”, and San Clemente liked me on June 19, 2010. That’s a long time ago! Almost six years. She does have nice photos. Let’s see how many questions she answered. 282. And I have not hidden her. But she doesn’t show up in my search. Must be the “logged in within the last year” condition. Well, if she hasn’t logged in for a year (or six), then she’s not checking her messages. Wait, what’s this? I can check when she last logged in. April 18, 2015. Well, that’s almost a year ago. But why doesn’t she show up in my search? What’s missing?

Non-smoker? Check. Single? Check. Less than 5’9”? Check. Logged in within the last year? Check (barely). College? Aha! She didn’t answer the question about education. Must not have gone to college. But she liked me, and her profile looks OK.

Can I email her six years after she liked my profile? What will she think? Anyway, she wouldn’t see my email if she hasn’t logged in for almost a year. But, I’m still curious.

On to her unacceptable answers. Nine pages of them, at ten per page, means 90 unacceptable answers. I’m up to page 4, and so far no deal breakers. Next question:

“Are you a Christian”?

My answer is “No”, and that’s unacceptable for her. Again, why did she “like” my profile? She must have done that before she read it and found out that I’m not a Christian.

Enough of that. Time to change my profile name. What’s a good name? This is not an easy decision. Let’s get some help from Google. Google, what’s a good dating site username? Surprisingly, there are lots of sites with suggestions. There is even one that asks you questions and then generates a list of possible names. I gave it a try.

What’s your name? Steven
What do you like? Sushi
What are your hobbies? Yoga
What things do you like? Board games

Spin…..

Thirty names generated! GamesSteven. GamesSushi. Sushigh. Gamesgi. StevenSuave. Sushinger. BoardYoga. StevenSushi. Sigh! I don’t like any of them.

New idea. I’ll post a status on Facebook asking my friends to come up with a name for me. I’m sure they’ll think of something. They know me. What would my friends say about me? They’d probably say I’m kind. And fun. And smart. Eureka! I thought of a new name: smart-and-fun.

I immediately went on to OKCupid and changed my name from “Philly-to-OC” to “smart-and-fun”. Cool. Happy. $15.95 well spent!

Next, I had to change my name on Match.com as well. Because my two usernames have to be the same.

Login to Match. Go to name changing place. Type “smart-and-fun”. Click Save.

The username you entered is invalid. Remember to use only letters, numbers, and underscores in your username.

No problem. I can use underscores instead of dashes. With a little editing my new username on Match is now “smart_and_fun”.

Of course, now I have to go back to OKCupid and change my name there from “smart-and-fun” to “smart_and_fun”. Because the two name have to match exactly. Because OCD.

Login to OKCupid. Go to name changing place. Type “smart_and_….” Wait a minute. I can’t type. It’s read-only. And there is a little message for me:

“You can change your username again May 15”

I can’t change my username again until the day after my 30-day membership expires. No!!!!!