Encountering Past Dates in the Wild: A Field Guide

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

The world is split between two kinds of people: those who run toward an acquaintance at the grocery store, eager to say hello, and those who dart away and hide in the next aisle in an effort to avoid forced small talk.  Which kind of person are you?

Do you fall into the same camp if the acquaintance is someone you previously dated? What if you recognize someone with whom you’ve previously changed messages, but you never met in person? What if the other person doesn’t recognize you? What’s the protocol here?

Relax, dear readers, I’ve got the rules below.

First, as a natural hider, let me say that avoidance is always an acceptable option.  On days where I just don’t feel like talking to someone, or I’m in work-out clothes with post-gym hair, or whatever, I’ve been known to feign interest in the nutrition facts of Worchester sauce until the perceived social threat has passed.  However, once you commit to the avoidance tactic, what would have been a 10-minute run to the store can easily turn into a tactical strategy of hard-core hide and seek.  Be forewarned.

But once eye contact has been established with the acquaintance, things get a little trickier.  Proceed as indicated below:

If you recognize someone who…

  • Is on JDate and you might be interested: Smile and make eye contact
  • Is on JDate and you are probably not interested: Avoid or smile weakly
  • You recently exchanged messages with: Smile and make eye contact
  • You exchanged messages over 6 months ago but never met: Avoid or smile, depending on whether you are still interested
  • You went out with once or twice: Smile
  • You went out with on the worst date of your life: Avoid — or, if you’re in a movie, make a loud scene resulting in the destruction of a pyramid of produce, causing innocent bystanders to start tripping over oranges
  • You dated for a few months: Smile and wave politely, depending on how things ended
  • You dated for a substantial amount of time: This really depends on the nature of your relationships, but given its length, you will know what feels most comfortable
  • Is a random, cute stranger: Smile! And ask for a food recommendation  – why not?

If you’re ever unsure whether to approach someone whose relationship isn’t listed above, come find me for consultation – I’ll be the one hiding behind giant sunglasses pretending to inspect the melons really closely.

Girlfriend Awards

by AndyCowan under Relationships

As they say, ’tis the season when a young man’s fancy turns to love. ‘Tis also the season it turns to fertilizer, so there’s kind of a nice yin & yang there! One season that seemingly ended last month was awards season, but I’m about to bring it back, re: my previous post postulating about how our past girlfriends might shed light on the qualities we’re seeking in future ones. Welcome to the first annual Girlfriend Awards!

Tell me this wouldn’t hold your attention: Roll the first clip of one of your exes circa the time you two were an item. Cue the music from one of the songs that played circa the time you two were an item. And out walks that ex present day to announce the first award! Not some overexposed present-day pseudo-celebrity, but like Debra Winger or Joni Mitchell, a rare appearance by someone who once impacted you and was a regular part of your life. Well, at least you fellow ageless boomers out there.

“For best listening skills, the nominees are…”

Presenters could list themselves among the nominees, if they merited inclusion. The four or five-shot of your nervous ex-girlfriend nominees waiting to listen for their names to be called would be a final crucial test of those listening skills. And the losers happily applauding the winner would reacquaint you with who most effectively faked joy during your times together!

Happy spring. May your relationships grow along with your marigolds.

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by AndyCowan under Relationships,Single Life

Imagine throwing a party for all the folks you’ve ever dated. Or a dating site that featured all your ex-girlfriends. What might you learn about yourself from the choices you’ve made over the years, and these former Ms. Rights who knew you all too well?

Imagine the party chit-chat and bonding among your guests: “Did he always do [fill in annoying habit here]?” “Yes! What about [fill in other annoying habit here]?” “Yes!”

Or for you “Jays” out there, imagine yourself combing through your exes on “Jay Date”. In each of their profiles under “Looking For”: “The anti-Jay.” Just kidding! Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt.

Which begs the question: Are you better off looking for the same type, or since they didn’t go the ultimate distance, are you better off, a la a Seinfeld episode I once wrote, doing “the opposite?” No, not looking for guys, “not that there’s anything wrong with that”, a la another famous Seinfeld episode.

Next post, an awards show more exciting than the Oscars® – when they used to be exciting, that is!

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Friends with Exes

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Are you still friends with an Ex? I’m not, and I never have been. Not because it necessarily ended badly but because I just had no desire to hang out with someone I used to be romantic with. I shared things with this person, intimate things — be it emotional confessions or something more in the physical sense — and I don’t feel the need to hang out, and I don’t understand people who do. So many TV shows have exes hanging out: Friends, Seinfeld, Happy Endings, Grey’s Anatomy, even CSI and Law & Order. It’s just not realistic! A flow chart trying to keep Private Practice hook-ups straight looks more like a spider web, and these people work together too? Yeah right! It doesn’t happen, and it shouldn’t happen. Do you really want to be sitting around with a bunch of friends and be discussing your dating life with your ex? No. When you bring a new date into the fold, and you’re making introductions, how are you going to deal? You can’t lie, but the truth will make everyone uncomfortable.

Some exceptions: you went on one date and didn’t even kiss because there was absolutely no chemistry or you dated more than ten years ago but for less than a year.

It might seem weird to close the door on someone you were involved with, but what can they contribute to your future? Shut that door and leave the past in the past. The only thing you need to take with you is the lessons you learned from that relationship.