Still Single: is Netflix your BFF?

photo_1650_20060608Are you tired of dinner for one? Are you in love with Netflix?

 Are you bored with hanging out with your pals dreaming about dates, dinner, candlelight and kisses?

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Just do it

That New Year’s Resolution to get “online” and enroll in one of the more esteemed online dating companies might take an hour of your time. Go ahead. (No, Binky, Adult Friend Finder is not the upper echelon.)

 Break the rules

When your profile is posted and you are up and running, you have to really get in the game.

Sitting back and waiting for a “Barbie” or a “Ken” doll to wink, blink, nod, or e-mail you may be painfully slow.   The sit -back -and -watch modus operandi has been known to be a dead-end and a waste of time and money.

Somewhere, someone dictated that it is inappropriate to scour the pictures and profiles at online dating sites on the weekend- evidently this is a red flag that you are not on a date! Shocking! Your presence would indicate you are actually home and on your laptop! Get over it. Break the rules and have fun. Keep it light.

The only rule for online dating

The single most important rule to pay attention to is to be courteous and polite.

Oh, and be sure to use spellcheck- your new best friend.

Oh! The other thing – if another single person contacts you – the burden is on you to respond (unless the individual is a true whack job, if so, simply ‘block’ that individual from your profile)  No lengthy essay is required- a simple one-liner expressing interest or not.

Don’t waste time

If you want just succeed in online dating- break the rules- reach out and touch someone- that is, every day: drop three people a one-line note. This is called “getting your mojo moving.”

Remember: It’s a numbers game and writing a one-sentence note: how hard is that?

Seriously, there are men-and women who believe a man has to be the first one to extend a greeting.

Fuhgeddaboutit.

Any man who is taken aback by woman approaching him first- is a dud. Move on.

Have fun out there, break the rules, make your own rules, and heartily embrace the Golden Rule – treat others the way you want to be treated.in

Onward and upward!

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Let me know how that works for you:

pagelarkin@gmail.com

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The Oscars: Lady Gaga for Pope!

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The 2015 Oscars Clint Eastwood style: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I loved Birdman – not four Oscars worth.

I adored Grand Budapest Hotel – enough to see it three times – not worth four Oscars.

 Spread the wealth?

Is Selma just off the map? Oh, The Glory of it all…and Boyhood went missing- how did that happen?

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The host, Neil-Pat, (“Look at me! Look at me!”) was a dash of smug, a bit of smarmy, a dollop of self-consumed punster – should stick to the Tony’s. So much drivel and blindingly boring trivia gave pause and  many opportunities to get up and graze.

MOVIE 

The weeping watercolor tribute to the deceased – (no Philip Seymour Hoffman?) was mediocre at best, and who created that lousy photo of Robin Williams? Next!

Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette and Lady Gaga, and Common and John Legend stole the show.ossscarrr

 

 

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OurTime: one girl’s story of woe and whoa!

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OurTime.com – a waste of time? One woman’s story of  dead ends and dead beats?

The first 10 men to “wink” at her were from The A-states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, and Alaska. So very G U (Geographically Unacceptable.)

A bunch of farmers, cowboys, ranchers clicked “I’m interested.”They apparently were from the sister website Farm-match or Western match.com and had neglected to “opt out” to be instant members of Our Time.com. There was nothing on her profile that indicated any interest in cows, cowboys, rodeos, or farm life.

In her profile, Tilley, indicated that she taught English literature at “a school in Palo Alto.”

 A rose by any other name: Then she said, there were the men with bizarre “screen names” like Lonelyandwaiting, Gspot, Ready4 fun, Snugglebunnie, Trumpet Poodle, and Justwannaluv, that were off-putting.

No boundaries?

In the interest of time, she said the flood of pictures of faces hiding behind sunglasses and hats were passed over and anybody from out-of-state – she deleted instantly. She mentioned she would only date people from the San Francisco Bay Area-a 50 mile radius. Why did guys from Texas and Tennessee even bother? Confusing.

Did you even read my profile?

Tilley mentioned her passion for the arts, travels to exotic locations (she had been to Bali, Barcelona and Iceland recently.) She said she loved ballroom dance that she’d once worked at the Smithsonian and  was writing a book on Jane Austen. Paella was her recipe du jour. She admitted to having a penchant for poets.

hats-7In two weeks, she received e-mails from men saying:

  • UR cool
  • Wow, your interesting
  • I like to dance 2
  • wanna meet? I’m buying
  • love your photo – from men posting no photo

 Every day, the fake photo-from-a-catalog, mr agi51, indicated he “Liked” her. She finally located the “Block this user” button hidden far down in the basement of the dating website and blocked the photo.

 The crowning blow was an e-mail from JohnJohn from Fremont- he had long white beard and said he was separated-however, he and his wife shared the house. Would that be a problem? Delete.

dead-44155__180 The plethora of dead ends, and the blinking ads all over the website prompted Tilley to throw the towel in and call it a day.

She didn’t have the time for OurTime.

A warning sign for the public

 

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Try a new dating site? Skip Ourtime.com this time

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The Date Watchers, a group of local, single, women who get together on a monthly basis at La Boulange to talk about online dating: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 The group’s numbers fluctuatea couple of the ladies have found their “Partner for life,” a couple others are ‘going steady’ with somebody special…a few have thrown in the towel and have given up on dating-again altogether- however, they live vicariously through the exploits of their pals.

 New Year’s Resolution: Try a new dating site?

The women are confidant they have explored every viable online dating site known to man and woman. They have tripped the light fantastic at eHarmony – conclusion: eHarmony doesn’t have any boundaries. (What woman in California-in her right mind- wants to date a guy from Toronto or Saskatoon, Canada? Consensus: None.)

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A couple of the ladies explored JDate. Anne called herself “The sexy shiksa” and got a lot of attention. The cutest guy that she ‘matched’- lived in Seattle- and was an Irish Catholic. Go figure. Amen.

A few tried Craigslist San Francisco “Women looking for Men.” While once a viable resource, now Craigs is bit kinky and skanky. What else would you expect from a totally anonymous/ no photos required/ free site?

No time Like OurTime.comAfter three months around the Match.com compound, friends Janine and Eileen (both divorced, 50-something, empty nesters) quit the site. Each woman had a handful of First Dates, kissed a few frogs, and became very frustrated by the number of men who didn’t respond to their friendly opening lines. Were the men blatantly rude or merely out to lunch?

On a lark, the two friends decided to try OurTime.com  despite warnings it is  the ugly stepsister of Match.com…

NOTE: Chemistry.com, Match.com, Tinder, SpeedDate, Ourtime.com, OKCupid, How About We, Meetic, and a dozen other dating sites are all owned by the same company, IAC  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAC/InterActiveCorp

 Ourtime has a completely different vibe. Seemingly,  flat and lackluster, three quarters of the screen is dedicated to dating and ¼ is obnoxious advertisements. Don’t be surprised by H&R Block, ugly black beetles, life insurance and men’s underwear ads. Yes, all of these are sidebars on the dating site. No, it is not a free site. It will cost you $27 for one month.

Most dating sites allow you to state your preferences…. OurTime – not so much. Chatting is highly promoted and your Chat-Now button is always “on” unless, you turn it off. Frequently. The infamous “wink” from Match.com is replaced with “flirt.”

First brimming with optimism, the two friends were unimpressed by the website. It was clunky, the men’s underwear ads were a true turn off and the postage-stamp sized photos were a buzzkill.

Deja Vu

Of course, they saw many familiar faces from Match and the hustler using the fake, male model photo was all over Janine with flirts, emails, notes the first hour she had joined. They gave the site just under 30 days to avoid being “re-upped” for another month. Next? The ladies are going to take a break…

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How hard is it to slip away (aka: quit) from Ourtime?

 Woe and Whoa is me! OurTime.com – I can’t quit you.

How to Quit OurTime? Here are the byzantine  website directives:

  1. Canceling a subscription does not automatically cancel your membership.
  2. If you are a subscriber and you cancel your subscription but not your membership, unless you elect to delete or hide your profile you will continue to be a Member in the Service and others may view your profile.
  3. If you hide your membership, your profile will be hidden and other Members will not be able to view your profile until you reactivate your membership.

4. If you delete your membership, your profile will be removed and other Members will not be able to view your profile and you will not be able to reactivate your membership.

5.  Members can hide or delete their profile at any time by following the instructions contained on the “My Account” page on the Website.

This is a very telling excerpt from OurTime:

photo_12349_20090723frogCustomer Service. The Company provides assistance and guidance through its customer care representatives. When communicating with our customer care representatives (whether over the telephone, or via email or letter), you may not be abusive, obscene, profane, offensive, sexist, threatening, harassing, racially offensive, or otherwise behave inappropriately.

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First Date: Always invoke the right to remain silent?

IMG_1208There you are, perched on a bar stool, dressed to impress, meeting Mike B.(56, spiritual-not-religious, sports fan and mystery lover) from Oakland, for the first time.

You met on OKCupid – his photos were okay, his comments were cute and quirky and he had a certain jene se quois. He said he was passionate about sports and cars. You exchanged four flirty emails before he said, “Let’s meet.” You suggested talking on the phone and he disappeared for a couple of days. He re-appeared and sent his phone number with a    “I dare you to call me.”

With more points in the “quirky” than cute column – you act on his dare and call.

Strange Phone Calls are huge red flags

Mike answers the phone, mumbles ‘hello,’ asks how you are then asks for your address. You deftly side-step that one with a laugh, and and he asks where you work, you say, “I’ll tell you when I see you.” You naively think, “A man who asks questions, how refreshing.”

He suggests meeting at The No Name Bar. It sounds novel and mysterious and you agree. (Note: novel and mysterious belong in a bookstore not a bar.)

Do you have right to remain silent? You betcha!

 The first date lesson: When a man starts asking you for your address and where you work and how much money you make, start pulling your purse towards you; when he asks what you are tipping the scales at, reach for your keys; and if he even dares to ask your “True age,” continue with ‘Your right to remain silent’- refuse to dignify the questions and bolt, baby, bolt.

There is no need to remain sweet or charming; Say goodnight, Gracie.

As a Rule: you (Tell a Friend) told a good friend where you were going, who you were meeting and at what time. Upon departure, call your contact person and let them know you are leaving – details later. Leave.

Chalk this one up to “Failed to notice the plethora of red flags,” and next time don’t be in a rush to have a date and accept the fact that “mysterious and quirky” at this age don’t bode well.

You never have answer uncomfortable questions…from a date…or a policeman, Binkie.

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The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Mark Twain

 

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Top three steps to successfully quit a dating site

Quits20060522Carpe Data, darlin.

You are done. Over. C’est Fini. You gave it a month – or three – and decided to cease and desist. Online dating is not for everyone.

Plan on taking the time to erase all traces of you on that online dating site. Simply hitting the “I Quit” button doesn’t do the trick.

#1. Delete all your photos. One by one. You don’t want your photo floating in their ads or hanging around for God and everyone to see…

#2. Copy and Paste everything you have written to a Word Doc. You might, someday, want to sign up for another site and use the pithy prose you produced, again.

#3. Finally, delete every single word you wrote on your profile. If a site, like Match, insists that you have 500 characters in any mini-essay, copy and paste in The Pledge of Allegiance or Dave Barry’s definition of “What Women Want” or the opening to Kafka’s, The Trial and plug that in. As a precautionary measure, change your age, gender, and height; the more ludicrous the better.

three_sites_10Some sites make it very easy to delete and quit the site. Other sites are like sticky flypaper, they don’t want to see you leave and they attempt to stick to you with tiny floods of emails your mailbox.

(PerfectMate [icky/sticky] and Jdate are said to be the stickiest)

Leave No Trace Like any good camper, you will want to follow the “Leave no trace” philosophy. If you hung around the water-cooler chat rooms at Eharmony, and participated in rabid commentary and commented freely, understand there’s no way to erase or delete those comments –always, think before you type/speak.

Finally After you’ve done all this good work: deleted, changed, updated, and quit – go back a day later to ensure that all information has been removed. Rinse, Repeat, Delete.

Carpe Data, darlin.

 “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the                             mind on the present moment.”  

Buddhaa close up shot of the face of a buhhda statue

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Try Re-Date: your Deja vu date – all over again

couple-437987__180The Re-Date, also referred to as a déjà vu date, is a new dating phenomenon widely embraced by singles today.

The Concept: Dust off your Little Black Book and reconnect with people you’ve dated in the past. Think about the one who got away, or the one you didn’t really connect with then…however, now is a different story.

People-in-the-know say the Re-Date  is both smart and time-effective, as well as a ‘no-brainer’ for a “Second Chance at Love.”

Webster might define a Re Date as “An engagement to go out socially, again, with a person from your past, as in: someone you dated – previously. Second chance.”

Everyone knows there are myriad reasons dating couples break up, split up, detach, disappear, and slip away. There are a million stories in the dated city. The concept of a Re Date introduces the benefit of already knowing a person and realizing, perhaps you were too rash, at first blush. If at first you don’t succeed, Re Date.

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Robert L. has been called a ‘Perpetual bachelor’ He has a famous Little Black Book and an old, but success-filled, Rolodex filled with a plethora of names of women he has dated in the past. Let’s just say he has been a man-about-town for a decade. Or two.               

He said,  “Re Dating is like a romantic breakthrough where you realize you may have passed up a potential love-of-your life, by mistake, and you want to heartily connect, again”

It has been said, loudly and often, that scrolling through pages of pictures and profiles on the on line dating sites is very similar to a never-ending buffet line or jaunt through a candy store.

The problem: there is such a wide assortment, it stultifies. Both men and women get overwhelmed.  Minds get muddled and hearts go thump in the night.Mistakes are made…. and we all think about: the one who got away.

The answer: Re Date. Give it a try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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Check out: dead cat bounce First Dates- failed miserably

  1. coffee-mugs-datte_180You Missed Manners: You took three phone calls during a 20-minute coffee date. Yes, you were frothy with apologies – but flat, with sincerity and manners. First impressions last forever.
  1. Liar’s Dicey: You wrote on your profile that you were an “Economist. ” In person, you admitted you were a ‘Shared Economist.’  Actually, you divulged you rent out your kid’s room on Air BnB and drive for Lyft and the concept of Monkey Parking seems promising to you. Perhaps you meant to say you were an ‘embellisher and an entrepreneur.” The Truth will see you free…
  1. “Bitchen” used to mean something else: By pure coincidence, you met in the parking lot and your little white dog was in your lap and hanging out the car window. The same hyper, yappy, little white lap dog accompanied you on the date. You paid more attention to the canine. Adios, muchacha!
  2. Bulldozer Interview: You came on really strong-inquiring about his income, home address, where his ex-wife lived, and if he required any medicinal “lifts” in the boudoir. Really? All could be considered coarse, crass none of your business and Buzz-kill 101.
  1. Not in Vogue: You showed up wearing pajamas: at 11:00 AM for a coffee date at Mel’s Drive-In on Geary Boulevard. Sweetie, newsflash: you are 50, not 15.

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Good Bye: Little Yellow Sticks- Golden Gate Bridge

images-31Good Bye, Little Yellow Sticks!

 Think about it: Approximately 150,000 cars cross the Golden Gate Bridge each weekend. No cops, traffic signals, flashing lights, cautionary road bumps – just Little Yellow Sticks separating you from a Justin Bieber wanna be.

 If you thought about it -and you don’t – you can’t

As you drive your car at 45 mph across the International Orange Golden Gate Bridge - you are mere inches away from a beginner driver in the next lane; the old guy in the ‘66 Oldsmobile with the cataract surgery glasses; the dude suckin’ on his vapor stick; the mom screaming at kids in the back, “Wait until your father gets home!” the teenybopper who “borrowed” the car to cruise with friends across the Bridge–practicing; the woman putting on mascara and eye shadow before meeting her date at Cavallo Point; the City Boy who is suddenly single and going to Sausalito to rent apartment have a few cocktails; and then there are the thousands of tourists in rental cars from China, Cambridge, Chicago, Chester, Charlotte, or Chelsea.

Do they even see the Little Yellow Sticks?


Little YEllow_sticks-32Add my name to the long lists of drivers who marvel at the 50,000 people crossing the bridge every day- with Little Yellow Sticks as a line of safety and demarcation. Small plastic tubes put there to save your life, every day.

 50,000 tired, dour, muddled masses yearning to be home, distracted, talking on their cell phones, sucking on vapos, screaming at kids, first-timers across the Bridge, tourists with Smart phone cameras clicking- others lost in thought, listening to Siri the siren of driving directions -all protected by (say it with me) Little Yellow Sticks.

 Good Bye, Little Yellow Sticks – can’t wait to see you go.

bridgeA Brand New Day: January 12, 2015

Hello, New Alligator-Crocodile -Spine Tingling,

New Secure and Stable Lane Dividers.

Welcome home.

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How to ruin a first date? Ask 50 questions – buzzkill!

sad man

No one would ever call Patrick (divorced, 57, 5’9, IP lawyer, Sausalito, tennis, chess, competitive Ping-Pong player, Scorpio) an ‘easy read.’ Some say he is complex with vague overtones of intense and unpredictable.

Mutual friends thought he would a perfect match for my friend, Karyn (54, 5’7, writer, hiker, skier, gourmet/ vegetarian cook with a penchant for red wines and red licorice)

Was it because they thought the two were opposites? No, they said Patrick needed to lighten up and they knew Karyn would be the perfect elixer.

Let the emails begin 

The first email was friendly and formal.  She responded, in kind. It’s what women do. He advised her that he had a couple of “Fun Questions” to ask. She thought it sounded interesting and readily agreed.  And then the queries arrived.

His “Top Ten Questions” were:

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
  2. What is your current state of mind?
  3. What is your greatest fear?
  4. What is your favorite way of spending time?
  5. Which living person do you most admire?
  6. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
  7. Who are your favorite fictional heroes?
  8. Who are your heroes in real life?
  9. Who are your favorite writers?
  10. Who are your favorite composers?

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Coming Up Empty- Too Much, Too Soon, Too Fast?

The good old days of simple “Do you come here often?” or “What’s your sign?” are evidently, so passé. If nothing else, Karyn is a very good sport and she gently tackled the assignment.  She was also wise enough to have our wild and erudite Book Club over for wine and hors d’oeuvres to assist her in her endeavors. Wine inspires!

Strength in numbers?  We flew through the questions with fun, glib and irreverent answers. She emailed Patrick with a disclaimer that she skipped a few of the onerous questions and took the rest with modicum of humor and light.

It took him three days to respond. The Book Club Babes waited with baited breath. Would he laugh? Give Up? Be overwhelmed or intrigued?

That little romp was the beginning of a beautiful relationship – and five years later, he is a happier, calmer camper – loved by the Book Club Babes.

Who knew? The Take Away? Say “Yes!” to interesting invitations…

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