Desperado

I was listening to the song Desperado this morning, and I realized that the lyrics seem to describe the plight of middle-aged dating. Don’t keep choosing the wrong type of person. Don’t be so selective. “You ain’t gettin’ no younger!” “You better let somebody love you, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”

The irony is that it seems as people get older, they become more selective, not less selective. People want to learn from their mistakes. At least that’s what I am seeing in the women’s profiles I see online.

“Must love dogs.”
“Must want to travel the world”.
“If you don’t love jazz, then we are not a match.”
“Must be at least 5’11” tall.”
“Must be athletic and toned.”
“Must earn $150,000+.”
“Must play golf.”
“Must love to cook.”
“Must drive a motorcycle.”
“Must want to move to Seattle with me. Next month.”
“Must go ballroom/line/square/folk dancing with me.”
“You have to make me laugh every day.”
“I’m vegan, and you have to be too.”
“My ex loved The Beatles. If you listen to The Beatles, gaah! we are not a match.”
“My ex was named Steven! No more Stevens.”
“My ex was a software engineer! No more engineers.”
“Must wear glasses.” (Hey, found one that I qualify for!)

Ladies, listen to the song. Don’t be so selective that you rule out all the nice guys. Go for the king of hearts, not diamonds. As soon as one of you realizes that your laundry list of requirements is not so important, and you’re ready to let somebody love you, send me a note. Just be sure that you are between 5’0 and 5’8”; are Jewish or possible agnostic, but definitely not atheist; have a least a bachelor’s degree; live within 20 miles; have at most one dog or two cats, but not both; have a most two kids, the youngest of which is at least 18 years old; love to play board games, but not strategy games; like to watch TV, but not too much; and must love Linda Ronstadt’s cover of Desperado!

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Nobody Says It Better

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Who has been in a relationship that you knew was wrong? And your friends knew it was wrong. But you kept going back, because it was so….right.

I started thinking about such past relationships while driving to work, as I was listening to my Carly Simon playlist, and the song “Jesse” came on. Very poignant lyrics to that song.

I have only a few of my own words to contribute to this post, because nobody says it better than Carly Simon. Just a little editing and rearranging Carly’s lyrics. The “he”s could be “she”s, depending on who is telling the story.

Annie, keep reminding me
That he cut out my heart like a paper doll
Sally, tell me once again
How he set me up just to see me fall

Jesse, quick come here
I won’t tell a soul
My friends will all say “She’s gone again”
But how can anyone know what you are to me?
That I’m in heaven again because you’ve come back to me!

My friends….they think I’ve sunk so low
LA LA LA, LA LA!
LA LA LA, LA LA!
LA LA LA, LA LA!!

Jesse, I will put on cologne
And sit by the phone for you
And sit by the phone for you
And sit by the phone for you

Oh mother, say a prayer for me.

Songwriters: Mike Jr Mainieri / Carly Simon
Published By Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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

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!!!!!

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Car

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[Reposting my first blog post, from January 23, 2016.]

I was divorced in August 2005. Since then I’ve been (almost) relentlessly trying to find my life partner. I say almost, because there have been multiple times when I said “I’m done!” but usually that only lasts a few days, and in the worst case, a few months.

People have told me that I’m too particular. Lately I’ve been using OKCupid, which gives a percentage match with each profile, based on questions we’ve both answered. I’ve found that even if someone is a 99% match, and we’ve answered 4000 questions in common, there is always something that is a dealbreaker. I look at the “unacceptable answers,” and usually it only takes a few seconds until I find a disqualifying answer. Maybe she doesn’t date Jews. Maybe she sleeps with her pet on the bed. Maybe she won’t date someone who needs alone time. Maybe she’s a racist. Maybe spelling mistakes and bad grammar *don’t* annoy her (the horror!). This search is time consuming, often depressing, and frustrating.

I thought about my friend, Paula, who recently bought a new car. She decided what car she wanted, what features she needed, called a car broker, and voila, a few days later, a shiny new car that was exactly what she wanted appeared in her driveway! And this made me think: Why can’t searching for a partner be as easy as shopping for a car? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Then I realized, if buying a car were like selecting a partner, I would be carless. Now, I have a car, and I really like it. It’s a 2006 Toyota RAV4 V-6. It has almost all the features I want. It has lots of space inside, it’s reliable, it has good acceleration, it’s compact and easy to drive and park, it looks nice, and it gets decent gas mileage. It’s a good car.

Now, here’s why I would be carless. There could be a better car. I haven’t found it yet, but here’s what it would be like.

First, it would have all the features I like in the RAV4. But, the RAV4 isn’t perfect; it lets in a lot of road noise on the freeway, and makes it hard to hear the radio. The Lexus RX is awesomely quiet. But, it’s too expensive. I can’t afford it. Unacceptable. Block that profile.

The RAV4 also only gets decent gas mileage. What would be awesome would be an electric car. Doesn’t use gas at all. The Nissan Leaf is electric. Nice car, but it only has a range of about 100 miles. Unacceptable. Hide that profile.

The Tesla is an electric car, and it has a range of 300 miles. Awesome! But, it’s even more expensive than the Lexus. Unacceptable. This is frustrating. I’m done! Shut down my dating profile.

The only way I could have a car is if I wait until “they” come out with a car that has all the features of the RAV4, is as quiet as the Lexus, runs on electricity, has a range of over 300 miles, and is in my price range. I’ll just wait until I find “the one.”

But, I have to drive, so I have my car. And it’s served me well. I fill it up, try to drive in a style that conserves gas, and turn up the radio a little louder when I’m on the freeway. As it’s aged, it’s developed some rattles and squeaks. I don’t mind. They add a bit of charm. Maybe they make me like it more. I’ve grown attached to it. I might even say I love my car.