Over the last year I have blogged for JDate, which has been a great experience me. I’ve been able to self-reflect and memorialize some of my zany dating experiences…and there have been a few. What have I learned? I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and that you cannot control people or relationships. You can only control your role, character and actions/reactions. But most of all, I’ve learned that life is precious and fleeting, and all the success in the world means nothing without great friends, family and that special someone who makes your smile a little bigger to share. In light of the recent Julia Robert’s movie, Eat, Pray, Love, I guess the most important lesson learned is to take a gamble because you just never know. When all is said and done, you can feel comforted by having had a SWEETADVENTURE and no regrets.
I had an eventful dermatologist visit last week. I was inspired by the cutest elderly couple who have been married 70 years and still beaming with happiness. The Dr.’s Assistant also engaged in the “I can’t believe you are single” conversation. Really, how is one supposed to answer this? This awkwardness was followed by her asking if she could set me up with a cute, nice, smart, Dr. What is a girl to do? My response, “Sure, why not?” I’m single and open to meeting new people. I figure if the set-up is not the right match for me, I’ll simply recycle, and introduce him to my friends (isn’t being green trendy). I think we get used to shopping for relationships online, so a blind date actually feels a little strange because I’m at a disadvantage with a lack of information. But generally speaking, I feel confident if someone is going through the effort of introducing two folks, at a minimum the folks involved are usually good people. And who can’t use a new friend…
Yesterday, as I was sitting in my Dermatologist’s waiting area, I witnessed the cutest elderly couple. They had a European accent and my best guess from eavesdropping is that they witnessed the Holocaust. My doctor later informed me that the gentleman who was her patient as well, and a former Dr., was 94 (he was looking pretty good at 94). His wife about the same age (also looking pretty good, mobile, healthy and happy). But what touched me the most was the love that radiated between them. I guess the wife noticed my smile. In her nineties, she was a take charge gal keeping them on their schedule for the day but she was clearly so loving and caring to her husband in making sure he was okay. She must have read my mind as she said ’70 years’. Wow. Now, that is a gift. Having a wonderful loving best friend for 70 years. I can only be so lucky and trust the best is yet to come for me in that department.
Usually, I’m the upbeat fairytale believing, “Sex in the City Jewish Ms. Bradshaw.” BUT, I just read an article posted on Facebook® that has the hair on my arm standing up and I am shivering (and not in a good way). The news article highlighted an alleged rapist with known histories in both DC and NY…. The scary part is he approached me on the Upper West Side just a few months ago. The same young, charming, seemingly intelligent man stopped me on the streets (72nd street to be exact) and engaged me in conversation. He portrayed himself as a sophisticated international journalist who lived in both DC/NYC and traveled abroad often (think male version of Christiane Amanpour) and proceeded to ask for my contact information and asked if I would be interested in grabbing coffee. Not to sound totally self-absorbed, but this happens on occasion, and it is flattering but usually of no interest or consequence. I generally applaud men who make such overtures as it does take guts. Nonetheless, I routinely respond “I have an (imaginary) boyfriend.” However, because of this man’s international journalist experience I was intrigued and I gave him my “junk” email address. In our two email exchanges I found him aggressive and defensive, and I ended all communication and never saw him again. He put me on his international newsletter distribution list, which I was unable to unsubscribe from after 50 attempts.
I have no idea who he really is or whether he is innocent or guilty. Fortunately, I only exchanged two emails. But this obviously serves as a constant reminder that I wanted to share: be very careful and trust your gut. As my mom would say, “there are crazies out there.” Unfortunately, this also applies to online dating, not to the exclusion of JDate. Although most of our parents would celebrate us bringing home that nice Jewish boy/girl, this does not guarantee quality. Be smart, be careful, but most of all have fun!
Admittedly, I’m an old fashioned gal. It took me a while to accept that in today’s age the majority of couples that get together meet ala the Internet. What happened to kismet? Can you imagine what our great-grandparents would think…you met your Beshert how? On the computer? What is that? And how do you meet someone?… Fast Forward …not only do couples meet on the Internet but people text each other to set up those dates. The sport of dating has turned into a practice of efficiency and multi-tasking. Is the ever present accessibility beneficial or destructive? And then of course there is even IMing. I recognize I may be in the minority here but I prefer not to spend my free time in front of the computer and when I log on to JDate, I like it to be a quick venture. Respond to some emails and log off. But inevitably some guys prefer to chat via IM. I prefer to be outside playing and meeting “you” in person… I’m guessing some people find it efficient and effective verses the back and forth of “old fashion emails.”
I know online dating works. I have met so many people who have met their partners this way. And yes, even including my mom and her current sweetie. Perhaps this old fashion gal has to give-in to technology, IMing and this modern age of dating.
Author Tom Robbins may have said best, “We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.” This became the topic of conversation as me and the girls dined at Barbuta, a hip West Village Italian restaurant. As the Prosecco continued to pour, and the laughter rolled, the girls and I debated the virtues and denials of settling, compromising and soul mates. I’m as sappy, romantic, fairytale believing as it gets… yet I have come to believe that there is no such thing as a soul mate…like Tom Robbins, I view it as a creation. Something that develops with time through the years and several people could actually fill the role. Blasphemy to some I imagine.
Our evening became more intriguing as 2 charming Italians visiting from Barcelona joined our table to give their views. As most people know, Europeans know how to live better, take more vacations, are less inhibited and are born with the intangible joie de vivre that I envy. Let’s just say their views were a little less traditional and a lot more exciting.
I try to keep an open mind, but I think too often we become accustomed to what we think we should fall for and often overlook real quality partners who could potentially develop into the soul mate we’ve always wanted. Perhaps the end game may not be the fairytale you originally imagined but perhaps when it is all said and done, it is better than ever before.
Naturally, we are drawn to a specific physical look: either the dark haired exotic look or the California blond. And a specific persona as well: Either the charismatic charmer or perhaps the more aloof, mysterious type. If we date our specific type time and time again and it doesn’t work…what does that tell us? No doubt familiarity breeds comfort but I believe it was Albert Einstein who told us “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. A friend told me that when he decided his then girlfriend would be his future wife that she was everything he needed but not what he “thought” he wanted. She didn’t fit the list. She was 3 years older and not what he imagined. But bottom line, she elevated him to becoming a better self, she made him smile and life was good. Enough said.
With the ability to continuously click, cyber dating perpetuates the list mentality. I’m at fault here. There definitely need to be some basic fundamental similarities such as the desire (or lack of) to have children, similar religious commitments and lifestyles, and the like. But putting that aside means not going on a date with someone who is bald when you preferred thick curly hair or a woman who is several years older than your 30 year old cut off really serving you the best outcome. Sometimes finding what you need can come in mysterious packages. All I’m saying (note to self) is keep an open mind, you may be wonderfully surprised.
It was a glorious weekend, taking a stroll on the upper west side to meet the girls at our favorite Sunday brunch place Isabella’s, very “sex and the city” as we toasted with our Bellini’s. As I was walking, I locked eyes with a good-looking gentleman who waved hello. He looked familiar but I could not place how I knew him. I definitely did not know his name and I definitely had not gone on a date with him. After racking my brain, I realized we had actually never met. We only knew each other through cyber space and recognized each other from our photos. How strange it is to recognize a familiar JDate face in a city of over 8 million people. I guess strangers are only friends who have yet to meet. To make it a little stranger, I saw him enter my building which I assume he lives in. NYC for as big as it is, is amazingly small sometimes.
A lot of things, unexpected, complicated, fragile, fleeting, tough, fun, mysterious, serendipitous, comical… a friend passed last week unexpectedly. Sadly, in our busy lives it often takes a tragedy to make you stop and reassess things. Your priorities. What matters most. How irrelevant some things are. How drama is a ridiculous waste of energy and how relationships really are what life is about. All the financial security in the world means nothing without someone to make your good times great and bad times bearable. Okay, I’ll get off of my soapbox. I guess such moments just make you realize you can search for that perfect fit all you want or you can choose to build a relationship and it may grow into what you had hoped for all along. I’m excited about that choice and retiring from the merry-go-round of dating.
I just spent several days in Texas … first timer… like Dorothy, it just didn’t seem like I was in Manhattan anymore (Toto). Admittedly, I never watched Dallas in the 80′s and “Who shot JR?” didn’t compare to the World Cup… But during my weekend visit, it was quite obvious things were very different in Texas. Of course, as I plopped myself down at a dive bbq bar in Austin the first man I met was from no other than Manhattan (Chelsea). Go figure…crushing the Southern fantasy. Luckily, the southern drawl bartender who wants to be an actor kept the evening entertaining.
Throughout the weekend I instantly recognized the southern charm and gentlemanly manners every which way I turned. Chairs were pulled out for me at every turn, and that was just the beginning! Being gentlemanly and treating females like ladies is obviously mandatory in this state. It’s big, something I think I can easily get used to…and who am I kidding?!?! The accents were cute too!