Monday, February 20, 2012

online dating part 82: why people lie about their age

                                      see more of Stephan Pastis' genius at

So in light of my pretty poor record of online dating I have opted out for the past, well...3 or 4 years.  I had been pondering the idea of putting myself back there of late, after all, its not like I'm suffering from a bruised heart.  I'm about as self-aware and emotionally available as I've ever been.  I'm ready to take my chances, and with all of the medical issues I've oversome in the past 3 years, the risk of a broken heart does not seem like something worth limiting my behavior to prevent.   So what am I waiting for?  I don't know....something always stopped me from pulling the trigger. is one of the largest online dating services in the world with millions of registered users on six continents.  I had stopped using Match 7 years ago because I was embarking on my bike racing "career" and I was tired of meeting Average Guys of slightly different stripes who were not particularly active or concerned about their health.  I wanted to date a cyclist, since I had been fully indoctrinated into the cult at that point and could not imagine dating someone who was constantly whining about all the time I spend on my bicycle and away from him.  So I switched over to fitness-singles and instead met a lot of fit men who measured their success in terms of body fat, personal bests, and how hot their girlfriend is.  Most of the guys that contacted me could not write a single sentence without typos and misspellings.  It was pretty depressing.  PBF is a perfect example.   I did however meet Dr. Mark on FS who certainly was heads and shoulders above the rest but alas I also met X, who turned out to be nightmare in more ways than one. We'll get back to that I promise.

As I said I had not been on Match since about 2004 or so.  A few months ago thinking I might try the online dating thing again, at least for the purposes of *research,* I went back on Match, logged in and Lo and Behold there was my old profile from the tender age of 35 in all of it's youthful ebullience.  Word for word.  Now while I could still agree with sentences I had penned back then such as:
"As you can guess I am liberal but I have no patience for those who are lazy, stupid, or indifferent about their effect on others and the ecosystem we all live in."
"Fine jewelry is nice, but most of the time I would prefer a power tool."  Which might still be true but these words would be used against me should I actually meet someone who I end up entering a LTR with.  I would be getting Sawzalls and Dremels on every Valentine's Day for the rest of my life.  You get the picture. this point the rest needed to be reworked a bit.  I felt the need to more succinctly elucidate the dozen or so dealbreakers I have picked up through the indoctrination of age...and serial dating.... while also injecting some humor as a counterpoint to the verbal barbed wire fence I needed to weave around my little essay.   That is to say I might as well state right off the bat that I no longer date slackers, liars, addicts or narcissists.  Yes, I realize I've just gashed a huge hole in the side of the potential suitor gene pool.  Look at that water streaming out......

Now here's a lesson for you: if kept my profile on their servers through 7 years of inactivity,   then you can bet they keep anyone's profile.  (and I don't mean my profile was still visible on the site even though I was a non-paying member, I call that leaving a "fishing line in the water" and a ton of folks do it even when they are married or in a relationship, which is ├╝ber lame.)  If you notice a friend or old flame has changed their username on the site, they are probably doing it for one reason only: to change something about their online dating persona that they cannot change just by editing, and that would be--you guessed it--their birth date.

"Older and Wiser baby", my birthday card
from kid sister
Well a month ago I had not decided yet that I was going to re-enroll as the Older and Wiser Andrea on, but I did consent to having them send me an email of my "daily matches."  It comes to my inbox each afternoon while I am at work, and I do browse through the profiles just to remind myself why it's OK I have not dated in two years.

So about a month  ago, I was in my kitchen folding the goat cheese, sprouts and avocado into a shiitake spinach onion omelette I had made on the one morning of the week when I sleep past 4:30.  I sat down with the full plate, a steaming hot cup of tea, and my Ipad to read the New York Times.  It was a cold morning, and the pups were at my feet, Madison with her stuffed animal in her mouth and Chloe watching my every move for that moment when I would put down my fork and she would spring to her paws to have a chance to lick up the scraps from my plate.  I decided to check my email first, and there was my daily dispatch from,  "Andrea, here are your new matches!"

So I clicked on it, and saw a very familiar face.  It was not a big shock to see X online dating, but...wait a minute....are you kidding me?

Under his handle it said "40 years old, Philadelphia, PA"  He had suddenly shed 8 years from his age, as in a few weeks he will be 49.   Not only that, but he had the gall to choose a username, like many do, with the year of his birth as part of the handle, only he used someone else's year, not his, someone almost a decade younger.  Pathetic.

I clicked on it, and read through the profile, and there were so many lies in it it made me a little sick to my stomach, mainly that I had once trusted someone who was even more of a liar than even I had figured out he was.  As my therapist remarked when I told her the story, "It kind of makes you wonder about everything he ever told you."
lie detector test How to Beat a Lie Detector Test
As the weeks have passed, however, the situation actually has had the opposite effect on me, as at one point I had actually considered reuniting with this person, but the older and wiser version of andrea has learned, finally, to trust her instincts and these told me that even though he had stopped the most obvious outward manifestations of his penchant for self-destruction, inside he was still a tortured soul and his abuse of himself and those closest to him would continue, albeit more subtly. In my world, even if a person is fine 95% of the time and a jerk the other 5%, well that's just too much for me.  You still have to live with the fear of when the beast will come out. And I don't like walking on eggshells. So seeing this validation of my instincts definitely made me feel good.

So simply because I know my audience eats this stuff up, not of course due to any desire on my part to expose his duplicity,  I will reveal a few of those lies as a cautionary tale to those of you who are currently fishing in the online dating pool.  I think the one who gets me the most is he states:

 'Fido'* is pure sugar. All he knows is LUV LUV LUV!! And he teaches me every day the Buddhist way... That the key to happiness is to be in the present moment - to never morn the past or worry about the future - but just to be here - now.. (* not the dog's actual name....yes I protect the identities of those I am maligning as well as that of their [former] animals)

The dog who really does show me every day how
awesome she is.  Unconditional love.
Ok, first off, this drives me crazy as a woman who has tenderly cared for three raw-fed dogs in the past decade.  This meant often not attending mid week social events, races, weekends away, whatever, because of not having adequate coverage for my animals.  I take the responsibility of acquiring and caring for a dog as a lifelong (the dog's life that is) commitment.  X no longer has a dog.  He gave Fido away because he could not take care of him, although in his mind he convinced himself that the dog would be better off as a member of a pack owned by a dog trainer friend of his with substance abuse problems who has too many animals to provide them with nutritious food and medical care.  Fido has terrible digestive issues and clearly could not handle his food but X angrily told me to stay out of it when I suggested that he needed to do some experimenting to get his dog on a diet on which the  American Staffordshire Terrier could thrive.  This dog produced massive volumes of room-clearing gas late in the day, was lethargic and always looked miserable, it was really tough to witness for me.   X has custody of Fido one weekend a month, so how the dog could possibly teach him "every day the Buddhist way" is beyond me.   For the way that my dogs, [who I take care of every single day whether they are killing groundhogs in the dog park, throwing up on the carpet, or scheduled for $1200 surgery because a fatty tumor is growing too fast] show me the Buddhist way, click here and scroll down to Part II.

The other killer sentence in this work of fiction that struck me was, "Mutual trust and deep respect, I believe, are the keys to a beautiful and powerful relationship", this from a guy who not only was a expert liar by his own omission, but who also had a mean streak a mile wide that was especially fierce with the application of any alcohol.  It was advisable never to criticize him for fear he would unleash his wrath upon you and inflict words you would have a hard time shaking off even years down the road.  Which made it tough to have honest discussions with him about any difficult emotional issue, because he was the classic case of narcissistic personality disorder, and combined with the aforementioned mean streak; well it just was not worth it.  Often he would ask me how I felt about something and I would just stare at him in dumb silence, knowing I could never have a balanced constructive conversation about it like I could with a partner who valued me as an equal.  Can you imagine me staring in dumb silence?  It's a terribly powerless way to feel in a relationship, I will tell you.

He also mentions he is "divorced, " because he and I used to joke that when you get into your 40s it is better to be divorced with no kids than "never married", because women think that men who are 48 and never married must have some serious issues with commitment.  But that does not mean you make up a story about being married, for God's sake!  It's one of the icebreakers on a first date, "so, how long have you been divorced?"  I wonder who the lucky ex-girlfriend will be who will become his wife in the double-life he will be concocting from day one of meeting someone new?

Oh, and he's a smoker.  He only smokes one cigarette a day supposedly, but he states clearly in his profile he will not consider dating one.  In fact, the phrase is, "No Way."  Nice.  Let me give you a hint people.  Even if you only smoke one a day, no matter how many times you brush your teeth, no matter how many mints you pop into your mouth, the non-smokers of the world can still smell it.  I certainly could.

Then there is the Age Question.  Many men, especially fit men, limit their age parameters for the partner to a few years beneath their own age, which always amuses me, as if their buddies will think less of them if they are not dating a younger woman.  Well, it's amusing me less year after year, I'll tell you.  So a cute 40 year old blond will inevitably say she is seeking men from 35-50, lets say, but a typical 40-year old man will say he desires a range of 28-35.  It's pretty gross actually, but men I talk to about it say that the women in their mid-40s and beyond don't keep themselves in shape.  OK, so don't email the women who don't fit your lifestyle.  It does not mean you don't consider that there might be one out there who bucks the trend.  I know plenty of female cyclists in their 40s and 50s who are in incredible shape, as they kick my ass out on the road.

The other option I guess, is just to lie about your age, and hope that the person you snared who would never have considered you if she knew you were 5 years older will forgive you when she finds out, should your meeting blossom until a full-fledged relationship.  I'm not even talking about the people who are just looking to get laid.  I'm talking about people like X who claim they are bored with meaningless sex and want a committed relationship.  I can't imagine a better way to start one off, can you?

Women looking at X's profile might be relieved to see that this open-minded 40-year old is seeking women from 28-45, but sorry girls, he is actually 49, like I said.  Oh well.  My recommendation? Ask to see a drivers license on the first encounter.  You can warn them that this is coming as I did in my latest rewrite with a sentence such as, "If you are lying about your age or anything else in your profile, please pass me by. I have found that it is ALWAYS just the tip of the iceberg, and I’m not interested in dating a man who has not come to terms with what is under his own skin."

Yes, I may be single longer than many of you because of my insistence on weeding out those who lack integrity, but at least I can sleep knowing there is not a snake in the bed next to me.  Just maybe a dog or two.

Be careful out there.  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

attention ladies! help me take back valentine's day

downstairs at Jose Garces' Distrito
Valentine's Day has a storied history  with mysterious origins in both Christianity and Paganism, and has actually been celebrated since the Middle Ages, but as far as I am concerned, today's holiday has been mass-marketed via cheap chocolates, red roses and cliches concerning cupids and arrows ad nauseum.  It has become an obligatory test of one's Romantic Quotient:  a holiday that forces us to trumpet the significance of our oh-so significant others.  Ridiculous.  I don't need a holiday to remind my man to show me some love, anymore than I need a man who needs a holiday to remind him to show me the love.

This is mainly because:

  1. Valentine's day is my birthday, so if I had a man, he has a pretty big reminder to get off his ass and take me out to dinner and get me a nice gift anyway.
  2. Alas, of all of the valentine's day birthdays I have endured since the age of 18, I have only had a boyfriend or husband on, well, let's say 33% of them.  And this year I'm not exactly bucking the trend, since I have not had a significant other (SO) now in, well, 2 years.  And that's probably not going to change anytime soon.  You can't win the lottery if you refuse to buy a ticket.

But what the heck!  It's 2012, a leap year, the beginning of the rest of our lives, and right now, my life is in perfect homeostasis without a SO mucking up the works!  So lets get out there and celebrate my forty-something birthday and inject a little excitement into an otherwise banal tuesday night.

Ladies, you are officially invited to my Anti-V-day B-day Party, part 2.

No present, no drama, no busted expectations:  Just come on out to one of my favorite restaurants, Distrito in West Philly, have a margarita and let's toast to the wide-open possibilities.  Just think, you could be going through a painful messy breakup, suffering through another dinner with a complete bore, or meeting with lawyers to work out the details of your custody arrangement; but no, in fact, you are blissfully single and looking forward to a night out with the girls.
mocha cake from SwissHaus Bakery
If that weren't enough,  I ordered us a decadent chocolate mocha cake from Swiss Haus Bakery on Rittenhouse Square so leave your gluten-free guidelines at home because you need to know what a $40 chocolate cake tastes like.  Will it be better than sex?

going out on tuesday night = bad

1. Dress cute.  
2. No gifts.  
3. Ladies only.
4. Reservations are at 7pm.  Dessert will be served around 8:30. 
5. RSVP to yours truly  before Feb 10th.

If you would like to stop by and skip dinner (although why you would want to miss dinner at one of Jose Garce's delicious establishments I don't know) just text me and let me know to expect you.  Looking foward to a night out with the girls!