Adjoining decades only

Whilst I empathise with my fellow 40something single friends and would be ecstatic to see them transition to some loved-up coupledom, I love that they are able to provide fodder that broadens my knowledge, feeds my blog and gives me that ‘there but for the grace of God…’ shudder.  There are two rules about my use of their stories in this blog:

  1. We wait for the tears to dry before ANYTHING gets written down
  2. We measure the impact of the experience on the Veuve-ometer.  Any dalliance where the recovery strategy requires more than a half dozen bottles of Veuve Cliquot is too deep a wound to ever be shared with my blog readers.

Once such experience has now translated into the now-immutable dating law of ‘always keep it to adjoining decades’  As a 40s chick, dating someone in their 30s is perfectly acceptable, in fact encouraged, but when she dabbled with a guy whose age began with a 2, here’s what we learned:

One – There’s weirdness about invention and extinction of stuff.

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You will remember a time prior to the mobile phone, in fact even a time before land lines were hooked up to voicemail.  They can no more imagine that than a time before Kardashians roamed the earth.

You probably had brush with death dealt by a street directory becoming an unintended projectile straight from the parcel shelf upon some unanticipated braking.  The closest navigational aid-driven near-death experience they have had was that dreadful period when Apple’s IOS upgrade trashed google maps.

Your first musical capture device was the pizza sized LP record whereas they can’t recall a time where a song was anything but a file.

If you kept clothes from your teenage years, they would now term them vintage.  Vintage is great when it involves wine, impressive when it applies to your boho wardrobe items, but you don’t want to be FROM there.

This is not to say you are not super obsessed with everything that’s new and good – from knowing all the quirkiest questions to ask Siri through to knowing the coolest hashtags, but one day, you will speak out loud of something that no longer exists and there will be a weird awkward silence.

 Two – they will go to music festivals

We’ve come a long from the Big Day Out baby.  Music festivals draw in today’s 20somethings like moth to a flame and have become multi-day, fashion and music extravaganzas.  The only thing that you are likely to relate to is the fashion.

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If the music festival on the tip of your tongue is the Port Fairy Folk festival, then even the biggest Paris Hilton-esque sunglassies and the flowiest Nicole Richie dress CANNOT SAVE YOU.

The only person in the world in your age bracket who can pull it off is Kate Moss and that’s only because of her ageless, rock-star girlfriend, <alleged> drug-dabbling cred. Even if you think you have these attributes, you can’t go there unless you actually look like this

kate moss at coachella

Three – you will have vastly different perspectives on major milestone years.

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The year 2000, after we established that we weren’t wiped off the map by the y2k bug, had milestones for everyone.  Our heroine, some 12 years after attaining legal drinking age and after persisting with the drinking of red wine with a patience more robust than the tabloids with a Jessica Simpson pregnancy, she ditched it on the grounds of its unfailing hangover-inducing properties.  Upon some unrelated conversation about red wine and why she no longer drank it, she remarked the stuff hadn’t touched her lips since Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympics.  Ah, he said, the year I got my learners permit and drove my family up to Sydney to see Cathy Freeman run.

*crickets*

Four – they sext.  You don’t.

It’s a fairly safe bet that Black Caviar is never going to return to racing. (and if you think there is a mare-out-to-pasture subtext there then you’re right)  Its an ever surer bet that if you indulge with a 20something with any degree of duration, you will receive a picture in your message inbox demonstrating some degree of swordsmanship on the part of your beau. lt will occur when you are discretely checking your message inbox in a key meeting and represents potential to cause untold damage to your level of concentration

There are three golden rules around this.

  1. you will show it to your besties
  2. you must not respond in kind
  3. you must delete it or engage in some mindless back and forth message chit chat in order to send it off the current screen into that special archive place where it is not likely to make an unwelcome appearance when you are demonstrating to your dad how cool an iphone is.

There is no shortage of examples where a 10plus age gap works and translates into a glorious life long partnership.  This was not one of them, but became embedded in our shared bestie folkore as the ‘adjoining decades only’ rule, the only tangible reminder of the relationship being the sword pic that is dusted off whenever someone needs a chuckle.

If you are taking your online dating a little more seriously than this blog, check out this website for fabulously simple online dating advice.

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A picture tells a thousand words…….

At some point after becoming unexpectedly single in your 40s, you will make an assessment of those that surround you and realise that they represent limited potential to either personally end your singledom, or happily accompany you to the kinds of events and locations that might change your status.  At some point, I guarantee you will dabble in online dating.  If you do, the first trap for young players is the profile photo.

It’s likely that everything you know about posting photos online you learned from facebook. You may think that you are already adept at identifying the best photos of you.  After all, you learned in a nanosecond how to untag yourself from an unflattering photo and shortly thereafter unfriend the person responsible if you are the type to take a zero tolerance view of such infractions. You may have a Kardashian-esque mental shortlist of the instagram filters that are flattering to the flaws that traumatise you the most.  These are entrée level skills only.

Rookie mistakes to avoid when considering photos to accompany your profile on an internet dating site include:

One – any photo that involves a bathroom mirror. 

This suggests that you have not even grasped the basic ability to manage the outstretched arm selfie that has become one of the key life skills of this decade.  Bathroom lighting is almost universally harsh and will give your skin the hue of the undead.  Worse, it reeks of ‘lonely woman who lives with her cats/desperate man with an obsession for online war games’ (a bit of errant instagram hashtagging on my part revealed there are legions of the latter, but that’s a story for another day)

Why?  There should be another human being in your life that either has a suitable photo of you or can take one.  Find that person.

 Two – a photo from your time as a couple, with your ex chopped out.

This is a catastrophe in the making.  Let me tell you how the female view of this one is likely to go….

Oh – he’s put in a photo with a girl cut out of it…that must be his ex….look how happy he looks…bet he misses her….*notices decorations* its at a new years eve party…if that was last NYE its only three months ago…is he over her yet????….I’m not someone’s transition girl *indignant huff* <DELETE>

or

Oh – he’s put in a photo with a girl cut out of it…that must be his ex….he’s smiling with his mouth but not his eyes…..god she must have made him so unhappy… baggage….I’m way too exhausted to deal with someone with baggage…… <DELETE>

or

Oh – he’s put in a photo with a girl cut out of it…that must be his ex….look at her arm, I wish I had arms like that, she must have been a gym junkie or just have those naturally slim/athletic arms…I hate my arms….how can I compete with that….*throws self on bed in unrelated hormonally-induced sobfest* <DELETE>

 Three – photo with inattention to setting

 After looking at you, the universally human trait of attention deficit means we will look at what else is in the photo.  If, at your peril, you ignore rule one, there will be a close study of your bathroom and all its accoutrements.  Again, a female will look at the brand of aftershave you use and drive the iphone zoom to within an inch of its life to identify any feminine product.  The state of shower screen cleanliness / whether the towels complement the décor / a bin overflowing with discarded tissues and razors will mean you are immediately judged somewhere on the spectrum of house-trained vs frat-house.

Don’t post a photo that also includes your hotter/skinnier friend. No one needs unnecessary competition.

It might sound obvious, but disregard any photo where inspection of the setting will reveal that you are at a funeral or at your own wedding.  If I need to point this out, you might need a little more time before you start interacting with people again.

Four – really, really distant photo

This is the online equivalent of taking advantage of someone firmly in the grasp of the 3am beer goggles.  Just as beer goggle gorgeousness doesn’t bear the scrutiny of daylight, all will be revealed the first time internet daters meet.  Worse, when you meet you will be stone cold sober, you’ll have already paid some big time bucks for city parking and alerted your friends to the arrangement as standard stalker prevention protocol (aka internet dating security rules) and then its all kinds of awkward.

From really really far away I look like Jennifer Aniston.  Get within 100 metres, not so much.

 Five – failing to give it your best shot.

Don’t choose a photo that is vaguely unflattering on the basis that you want the setting to tell the viewer something about you.  You might hope that upon seeing that Balinese sunset your  appreciation for the beauty of nature resonates to the very depths of his soul, but if it’s the one where you have only just become vertical after three days of Bali belly and you haven’t had the strength to apply makeup, its probably not the best bet.

Don’t expect them to dismiss a dodgy photo and think you’ll look better in real life.

Finally, have someone else sanity check your selection.  The below? Might meet above criteria. Was never going to be ok.

jpeg not ok

 

Meeting a new partner – NOT IN THE GYM!

For those recently propelled into singledom in decades beyond the 20s, the plaintive cry of ‘where will I meet someone??’ is strong.  Sometimes the easiest way to find the right answer to that question is to examine the wrong answer to that question.

First wrong answer to that question is – in the gym.

Every piece of advice from well meaning besties will be aimed at prying your ice-cream engorged butt off the couch and getting a new hobby, getting some exercise, getting fit!!!!  (usually a line delivered in the lilting tone of a preschool teacher and with appropriately OTT punctuation), but make no mistake, the gym is not your friend when looking for a new partner. Here are just five reasons.

Reason 1 – Sneakers are not a gift from the fashion gods. 

Although there is no shortage of gorgeous sneakers, which can be impeccably co-ordinated with matching outfits, if you spend any quality workout time in them, they will soon take on the rancid odour of a wet possum / old drooling basset hound.  This is not attractive.  Additionally, if you have been in any way adventurous and worn them outside, in your next gym session they will deposit a neat pile of dirt behind your treadmill that resembles mice droppings or something the cat has flicked out of the litter tray.  Also not attractive. If you are a girly girl, perpetually clad in stilettos, your artificially shortened calf muscles will protest and you will feel unrealistically short and squat every time you enter the gym.  If you accidentally start to like this too much, the law of unintended consequences means you will shortly start wearing crocs to work which may mean you never date again.

 Reason 2 – you will check your self-respect at the door

There are two types of women in the gym.

  • Those who exclusively wear the latest workout designer de jour, in a range of hues colour-matched to their lip gloss with a precision that would make Elizabeth Arden skip in giddy admiration.  These gym participants often sport salon-fresh blow-waved hair, occasionally also adorned with a sparkly clip, fresh frangipani or Chanel headscarf, all artful devices used to obscure a complete lack of sweat.  Whilst these ladies will retain composure whilst in the gym, they will invite scorn from any self-respecting male gym member….except those men who are a little prone to sporting a headscarf or something sparkly of their own.
  • Those who actually work out in the gym.  If you are this type, your ability to attract a mate in the gym will be somewhat eroded if you have any kind of normal physical reaction to expending effort.  A personal example?  Einstein-esque hair that will escape from a ponytail as surely if you had poked a finger into that spare powerpoint next to the treadmill.   Face as red as an heirloom tomato, which will invite worried looks from those on gym duty for fear that you are suffering an aneurysm.   Sweat that will migrate from your face to the end of your ponytail and, in time to the cadence of your treadmill action, will then shower nearby participants. Although for a moment vaguely reminiscent of those childhood days of running through the sprinkler on the front lawn, this will not endear you to other gym members.  (will ensure however that you do end up with a two-treadmill demilitarised zone around you on future visits if that is what you are after)

Reason 3 – You will need a new wardrobe.

This will involve time, money, and a little research. If you are still in the newly-fragile stage, your judgement impairment may be even more extensive than merely a new addiction to drunk texting and you may turn up in something like this…..

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…in which case you have ruined a perfectly good 12 month gym membership as any chance at creating a good first impression is now null and void.

Reason 4 – Gyms mess with your reality.

This is the end result of the methods they use to conspire to keep you there.  One of the most insidious examples are the ‘skinny mirrors’ which convert your very normal figure into something supermodel-esque so that you ALWAYS WANT TO BE THERE.  What you see in the sneaky skinny mirror.

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What every other gym goer sees

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 Reason 5 – the risk of an unflattering exercise posture is high.

Perils are everywhere, ironically most notably the machines that target favourite female trouble spots such as the thigh adductor machine.

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You should never be seen in anything resembling this kind of apparatus by any male unless you are seconds away from delivering his firstborn child into awaiting arms.

Finally, do not be enticed by the new dating offshoot of the outdoor fitness crowd where fit singles train with other fit singles.  Many of the same perils as the gym but somehow you need to be fit before you get there.  Kinda like cleaning up the house before the cleaner arrives (and lets face it, WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE) which means signing up for a gym membership to train up for singles boot camp and reaching a whole new level of irony.