Show Some Respect

 Listen closely to your date.  Trying to decode what a man is looking for in a woman could be like decoding a foreign language.  Are you missing subtle signs?  Did you shut out certain information because you did not want to hear it?  I question myself on this very thing.

On a date this past week, I was pleasantly surprised when I met my date.  I do not find many men my age and older to be very attractive.  It is like they gave up and let themselves go, and yet they tend to think they have the right to demand a women look a certain way.  I prefer teeth, hair, some intelligence, and well-groomed (not necessarily dressed up, but decently presentable).

This man pulled up to the restaurant and got out of his car and to my surprise, was actually more handsome than his online profile picture.  Finally, a man I could find attractive AND intelligent!  It is so rare that I find a guy my age or older attractive.  I must also note here that he is seven years older than me and I usually do not date more than 2 years older than myself for this very reason.

We went into the restaurant and had a nice dinner and what I thought was a great conversation.  We seemed to hit it off and had a lot to talk about.  The conversation was very pleasant as we exchanged information about our lives.  This man pretty much fit everything I was looking for in a guy.  However, we were talking about things we wanted in a partner and I did mention finding someone who believes in God is important to me.  He seemed a little taken aback by my church denomination when he asked me.  This actually surprised me.  As he could clearly see, I am a fun-loving female, just as any other.  As my friends can attest to, I am just as “normal” – well, really what is normal, anyway – as any other person out there.  In most previous relationships, I have been told I am really fun to hang out with.  Simply put, I enjoy life!

Dinner ended and, at his suggestion, we went to a different restaurant for dessert.  The conversation was easy and continued through dessert.  In my mind, we hit if off well.  In my line of thinking, if he did not like me he would never have asked me to dessert at a different restaurant.  After dessert, he was the perfect gentleman and walked me to my car, which was about a block farther than his from where we were.  Over the course of the evening, we had somehow exchanged business cards (I know, business cards!).  As we parted, everything seemed like it was on great terms.  In parting, I never ask a man if he will call me or if we will see each other because many tend to lie about that, anyway.  I drove home pleasantly surprised by this wonderful man I had just met.

This broken heart is an over-dramatization to make my point.

When I got home, I was super busy for a few days and did not have time to get back to him.  However, by the second evening, my life calmed down and I had the chance to log back onto the dating site.  I wanted to make sure to thank him again for the wonderful evening and make sure he knew I was interested in knowing him better.  As I went online into the email feature to send him an email, I was not given the option to do that.  Now my computer does weird things from time to time, so I played around with the site for a little while, to no avail.  I found his profile in my list of people I am not interested in, and I never put it there.  How could that happen?  I was definitely interested.  I also could not remove it from that category, so was totally baffled at how he got into that category when I did not place him there.

As it turns out he must have placed me there on his profile, which automatically put him there on mine, and does not allow me to remove it or communicate with him anymore.  Wow.  Sheer disappointment flooded over me.  I have not met a man I was this interested in for years – yes, YEARS!  Now this.  So apparently there was something about me that did not coincide with what he was looking for.  While this is all fine, the way it was handled is not okay.  It is rude, inconsiderate, and carried out with a total lack of respect for me.

While a man not being interested is always a potential outcome, I expect the same respect I would give to him if I was not interested in him, and that is communication.  If I am not interested in a guy after a date, I will let him know that I do not think we are good for each other.  I may or may not give a reason, depending on whether or not he asks.  However, acknowledging the individual and communicating the fact that he/she is not interested is the very least decency one could offer in this situation.  While I realize some people are not comfortable with this, he could have at least sent me an email explaining this.  Instead, I actually had to find out by the help center at the dating web site.  It was rude and inconsiderate of me as a fellow human being.  It is like saying I was not a real human to him, with thoughts and feelings.  It is cold and disrespectful.

I realize we are in the age of online dating, but we all need to realize that these people are real people.  They deserve respect, just as you want respect.  My point here is that if you are not interested in someone you dated, let them know, either in person or in an email.  The very least they deserve is the respect of a follow-up on the date.  While I would rather hear this at the end of the date, I know many would be uncomfortable with that.  It is okay to communicate this via email, but the key is to actually communicate!

Being respected and respectful of those you meet is a basic human interaction that is so often lost on our society today.  I would love to hear how you handle these situations and what your reaction is to others in these situations.  Comments are welcome!

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Women Still Want to be Courted

  Although many of the so-called rules have changed over the decades, one thing remains the same for women over 40.  They like to be courted!  There is a reason romance novels have stood the test of time and continue to sell very well.  From the time we were very little to the time we were in high school, we have been “programmed” by our families and certain societal influences from movies to basic social norms.

Women over 40, although they have grown into very strong women, still grew up in a time where chivalry and courting were seen as something to desire.  We watched Cinderella and Snow White, and were told our “Prince Charming” was out there somewhere.  While we have come to realize that there really is no such thing as a Prince Charming, we still long to be treated like someone special by the man we adore.  We are very capable of opening our own car door, pulling out our chair, or getting our coat on, but there is something so charming about a man who will extend himself to do these things.  It is almost a sweetness that has been lost on our younger generations.  It touches our hearts like that romance novel we secretly read.  Chivalry is definitely not dead to us.

As we grew up into women, we were taught to make our own money and not rely on a man.  We are definitely capable of that.  However, no matter how strong and capable a woman appears, she many times secretly harbors a longing to be treated like a princess and be courted.  Who does not like to have a man bring her flowers or send her a little note that is unexpected?  We want to feel special, and that is what courting accomplishes.

Many men (and women) are confused by the (so-called) rules.  They try to live by instruction manuals on how many dates for this and how many months for that.  Throw these rules out!  You are playing with your heart and you should be looking at each individual situation for what it is and not by a playbook.  Courtship lets a woman know you want her and only her.  It makes her feel special and appreciated for who she is.  At a time when women wear many hats – they make a decent income and have jobs outside the home, they bear children, they play chauffeur to their children, they take care of the household. etc. – being courted is one way a man can truly show just how much he appreciates the woman in his life.

Will some women not be as appreciative as others?  Surely, you may find some who insist that they do not want this treatment (or need it).  However, let me be clear here, just because a woman may (or may not) want to be courted does not mean she needs it.  Most women today are absolutely independent and can take care of themselves.  The point is that the charm of courtship is still alive and present, and will still be appreciated by the right woman.  We all like to feel special to those most important in our lives, so let’s not throw this part of dating away!

No, I Don’t Want to Kiss You!

It is hard enough dating without any additional pressures and stresses.  First dates are even harder.  One of my rules, is that I do NOT want to kiss a complete stranger on a first date!  No way, no how!  I do not know enough about someone I just met to be any form of intimate with them, and that includes kissing.  First off, I do not know his oral hygiene, which is super important.  Second, gum disease is a bacterial infection and can be spread person to person via saliva.  I know this is not sexy, but it is fact, and I think about these things, as should you!

Men, if you just met someone, you should have enough respect for them not to kiss them or touch them inappropriately.  It is just not okay!  Women, you need to have more respect for yourselves and set boundaries to get to know someone on a personal level before you ever think of getting anywhere near physical.  Save all of that for a time when you truly know each other.  Isn’t that the point?    A good man will want to get to know you as a person and respect you enough to do that before he gets physical with you.  Do you really want that guy who wants everything right away?  Imagine how many others he has been with this way?  No, thank you!  I feel I deserve much better than that, and so do you!  I am not saying kissing is bad, I am merely saying to save it for after you know the person a little better.  What is the rush?

  I realize there are people who will totally disagree with me on this subject, and that is okay.  I write from a “lived and learned” perspective and your lessons may have been different than mine.  As I pointed out in my last post, a first date should be all about getting to know the person better, and be very conversation-oriented.  Now, if you do hold a different view, that is fine.  This is just my recommendation to finding Mr. Maybe.  Be physical too soon, and he has nothing to look forward to, so beware if your goal is finding a guy to keep.  Of course, I realize there are always exceptions.

Mr. Maybe is out there!  I would rather wait for him to arrive in my life than go through all the heartache with Mr. Wrong and waste my time.  Take the time to know who you are choosing to be with.  If he is Mr. Maybe, he will still be there.  If he goes away, then he was not the right one anyway.  Ladies, you need to set the boundaries and stick to them!  This, sadly, is up to you.  The right man will respect those boundaries and they will respect you!  You deserve that and nothing less than that!  So save that first kiss for someone special.  Waiting will make it a special and memorable moment for both of you!

A More Active First Date

Some people prefer a more active date than dinner, brunch, or coffee.  There are plenty of things to do on a first date that are also great for getting to know someone.  The first option is to go to a park, garden, or other recreation area for a stroll.  In this environment, you have the opportunity to talk and get to know each other without having to stare at each other across a table.  If you both like horticulture, go to a garden and enjoy that while getting to know each other.  I will put out a few cautions here, though.  If you do choose something like this and you have never met the person before, make sure you are going to a place that there are other people and you feel safe.  Do not go for a walk on secluded paths, such as hiking, until you know the person you are with. While this should go without saying, sometimes when we communicate online, we feel like we know the person a little – WE DON’T.  Stop for ice cream or a frosty drink on a hot day and enjoy that while chatting.

  If you prefer something a little more active, you could opt for a short bike ride together, or even ice skating at a local rink in the winter.  Anything you both agree is fun, but always make sure you are around other people on a first date.  Shooting pool or Quizzo at the local hang out are some other options you may want to explore, if they are of interest to both of you.

While there are many things to do on a first date that provide ample time to get to know each other, there are also some things I would not recommend.  Steer clear of movies, theater, bars with loud music, sports events, concerts, or any other similar venue.  While you both may enjoy some of these activities, they do not provide ample time to talk and get to know each other – and that is the whole point of a first date.  Save these things for later.  If you do find your Mr. Maybe there will be plenty of time to enjoy these things together in the future.  Right now, on your first date, your goal should be to walk away from the date with a feel for who your date is as a person.

Again, my recommendation would be to keep your activity date short.  You do not want to overwhelm your date by appearing too needy.  Prior to your date, make a list of things you would like to know about your date, and have them in your head as conversation subjects.  Do not blast them off like you are interviewing your date, but get them to flow into the conversation naturally when the time is appropriate.  Make a point to guide to conversation to those areas if you need to, but make sure you get your questions answered.  You want to walk away from your date feeling like you have as accurate an assessment of your date as possible from one date.  Most importantly, don’t forget this is a date!!  Relax and enjoy the date.  The more you smile and laugh, the more attractive you will be!