Author: Sami

As time goes on, I spend my days working and my evenings searching the dating site. Nothing makes my heart speed up like hearing the little “ding” notification on my phone that lets me know that someone has “messaged” me or smiled at me or likes my picture. I can only see so much on the mobile app on my phone, but on my lunch break, I hurry to see who has contacted me. I am learning, however, that all profiles are not what they seem. Sometimes I get messages from a good looking guy, ruggedly smiling at me. Then, when he messages me- the English is broken and strange. I have learned this is a sign of a profile hacked by a scammer, who will soon ask me for money.

There are other kinds of fake profiles, as well. I learned this the hard way after talking to a man for a week online and texting. The time came for us to meet in person. I was understandably nervous because I hadn’t been out on a first date since I was a teenager. I agonized over what to wear, and I practiced my opening line in front of the mirror. I even wrote down conversation starters in case there were awkward silences.

The man I was to meet was just a bit younger than me –tall with blonde hair and a great smile. He worked in travel and did caregiving as a volunteer. He had been a little vague about what he did exactly except to say that he had seen many exotic places. I left it at that, sensing he didn’t want to boast. He was quite the charmer online and in texts. We hadn’t spoken on the phone because he had a long-running cold that kept him from talking too well. This just made him seem mysterious to me, as I looked forward to our first meeting.

We were to connect at a local coffee shop and even though he offered to pick me up, I decided to take the bus there because I felt it would be safer until I knew him better. I got there first and ordered my usual tall caramel coffee. As I sat there, I dreamed of the magical date we would have…the moment when we looked into each other’s eyes the first time. Suddenly, I felt hands go over my eyes. “Guess who?” a squeaky voice asked from behind me. “Uh, David?” I squirmed to get out from under the hands. As I turned, I saw a gangly teenager standing there. I tried to peer around him to find my date.

“It’s me,” said the boy. “David.” I was in such shock that I couldn’t respond. He fell into the other side of the booth and laughed.

“You….you are supposed to be 23“ I exclaimed. “I will be,” he smirked, “in 6 years!” He thought this was hilarious, but I did not see the humor.

The date went downhill from there. He was short, young and very arrogant.

“Do you want to see a movie?” he asked after we had finished our coffee.

“Uh, I can’t…”

“Well, at least let me give you a ride home.” I hesitated, but I was ready to get home.

“Okay,” I reluctantly agreed.

“Where are you parked?”

“I have my bike outside.”

“Bike?” Well, I had always wanted to ride on the back of a motorcycle. After I had paid for the coffee (he must not have gotten his allowance yet) we walked outside. I looked up and down the street, but there was no motorcycle.

“Where is it?”

“Oh, over here …”

He walked to the side of the building where he pointed to ten-speed BICYCLE!! I did not say a word; I spun on my heels and started walking toward my apartment. He rode beside me for the first few blocks but left when I threatened to knock him off the bike and make it a permanent part of his body.

That walk home was long and enlightening. I had time to think and make resolutions about no more online dating…ever. Since then, after my blisters healed…I realized that it wasn’t the online part but my naiveté that caused the problem. I have developed a list of red flags and questions to use in any further match ups on a dating site!

Pretty much anything goes on a date. I love to dine out, see a movie, go for a walk in the park, or on a long bike ride. Once in a while we do something different such as have a picnic at the beach. If the weather permits, this is a great sunny day outing. But things don’t always go as planned. You hope for the best and have a contingency plan just in case. I say this because of the story I am about to tell.

My date and I were getting ready for the beach picnic we have been waiting for, but when we arrived it started to rain. Now that was unexpected. I guess we didn’t check the weather report ahead. It was nice at home when we left, so who would expect that the skies would darken. Not only did it start to rain, but it began to pour. We had a choice. We could run to the car and get soaked and go home, or we could stay under our giant beach umbrella and enjoy the clouds racing overhead. It was raining but not cold and we could even go into the water for a dip. It would not to cool off but to enjoy being among the diehards waiting on the sand. We enjoyed our lunch, which we managed to salvage since it was in the cooler and didn’t get wet. I was so glad that my date had a sense of humor about our bad luck and wanted to stay put. You can have fun no matter what the conditions are. The beach umbrella gets credit for saving the day. My date kept it in the car whenever a beach trip was imminent.

As the day wore on, the rain got lighter and pretty soon it stopped. We weren’t that wet since we had two large terry beach towels under us. The rain cooled the sand which usually burns our feet as we make our way to the water on a hot day. It did stick to our feet which made us laugh. We had to towel off when we got back to the car when it was time to go home. I hate it when grains of sand find their way in every nook and cranny of your car. It is hard to get out, even with a car vacuum. We shook out our towels and put them in the trunk. I have no doubt that hidden sand was in them. No matter. We had a great day just because we were together braving the elements. A rainy day is not my first choice for a beach trip, but we managed to get by. Remember the point of this blog. Take a big foldup umbrella whether you have rain or shine. It is an essential item for anyone who goes to the shore. It will protect you from getting a bad sunburn or from getting wet. Now that is what I call versatile.

This year was my first year going home for Thanksgiving as a single girl. I must admit that I did not put much thought into it being a different experience. After all, I was going to my parents’ house, so what could go wrong? I took the requested side dish of dressing and showed up a little early on Thanksgiving morning. After quick hugs all around, I offered to help my mother in the kitchen. We were busy with basting the turkey and setting the table. I noticed that my mother had included name place settings this year.

“Kind of fancy, don’t you think?” I teased her.

“Well, the family is getting so large with all of the dates and …” She put her hand up to her mouth in horror.

“It’s okay, Mom- I am not upset about being alone this year!” She just shook her head and went back to the kitchen.

Soon, relatives and friends began arriving to celebrate with us. My two brothers came with their girlfriends, and my uncle brought his new wife. Our crowd was growing, I thought. Soon, it was time for the big feast and I fixed my plate and headed into the dining room. I went from chair to chair, looking for my name. I could not find my place anywhere. Suddenly, my brother piped up,

“Sami-here you go!”

He was standing in the kitchen at the “kid’s table.” I walked over and soon spied my name.

“Mom!”

“Well, honey, there just wasn’t a single chair left at the big table. Do you mind?”

Did I mind? Of course, I minded, I did not want to eat Thanksgiving dinner with all of the sticky toddlers and smirking teenagers!

“No, I don’t mind,” I grumbled.

I tried to sit, but the table was too short for me to get my legs under it. So, I balanced my plate and ate a sullen meal.

After the meal was finally over, everyone went into the den to watch football and talk. I looked around and soon discovered that there was again nowhere for me to sit. All the couples were wrapped around each other and taking up space. I started to try and scrunch in between, but then I saw my younger cousins outside playing football. What the heck, I thought and I went outside and played until dark. We chose teams, and I got to be the quarterback since I was the oldest. It was supposed to be flag football, but I saw some of my young relatives get hammered more than once. All in all, it was a memorable Thanksgiving.

So, in conclusion, you could say that holidays are different when you are single, but on the bright side, I caught up on all the new teenage slang and made two remarkable touchdowns! How many of you can say that about YOUR holidays??

I had a long-term relationship, but it’s over. I am regrouping and trying to move on. We lived together in an apartment while together and eventually became engaged. For someone who dated regularly, it meant that I had at last settled down. I am at that age when major milestones happen and the future begins to form. Images of married life populated my dreams. Now that I am moving so I don’t have to live with memories, I need to go through my stuff. He took most of his things all at one time, clearing out the closets and cupboards. At first, the apartment seemed very empty with only my absent voice piercing the silence. In other words, it was quiet and lonely. I know that a good relationship awaits me out there and that I will find someone to love. Meanwhile I will resume dating on a regular basis as I had before.

Objects bring back memories as you can imagine. I had a rush of them when in cleaning out some boxes left in the closet I found an old automatic watch that belonged to my former fiancé. At first it was painful to see it as he used to wear it every day. I remember that finally it stopped working and he cast it aside. I don’t know why he didn’t get it repaired although I made the suggestion. I never saw him sporting a new watch. I suppose it was going to happen, but then we broke up. Now I am looking at my past in the face. I debated with myself over what to do with it. The first thought, of course, was to call him and return it. I hesitated before I would go that route. Frankly, I was not anxious to hear his voice or get into an argument as to whether he would come get it or I would bring it over. The easiest thing would be to just get rid of it. It was no moral dilemma as it didn’t work. I knew that it was reparable and would last a long time if he took it to a watch repair shop. On the other hand, maybe he is wearing the latest men’s automatic watch by now. There are all kinds of new models with upgraded bells and whistles. I simply didn’t want to call him and ask.

I sat around wondering what to do for a few days and then I called. He was pleased to get the watch back and we agreed to meet at a local café. We had a nice conversation before I turned it over and ended up leaving as friends. I wasn’t sorry about this turn of events. I would no longer worry about running into him with another woman and becoming embarrassed. After all, we had spent a lot of time together and had a lot in common. We could go to a movie or have a meal and not call it a date. A lot of exes find that this is a workable situation. Why not me?

I am at that age, in my mid-twenties, when I think a lot about dating. Many women are married and have two kids by now—a boy and a girl, the ideal American family. I am enjoying my life as a single girl, but some dates are more satisfying than others. When you don’t connect with someone after an entire evening together, you feel like you have just wasted your time. After a series of dates that went nowhere, I decided to attend a single’s mixer at a nearby hotel. I heard about it from friends and thought it would be the right crowd. I can’t ever be too sure in advance about what will happen, but you have to take chances now and then. I dressed casually, not knowing what else to do, and put on makeup after I fixed my hair. I looked my best in the hopes of attracting the nicest men. Some guys are so one dimensional and like super short skirts and tank tops. In other words, clothes that are very revealing. I don’t go that route.

I got to the mixer alone as my friend cancelled at the last minute. I prefer to have someone along just in case I want to go home early. We can always salvage a dull evening with a few drinks and snacks. The hotel was nice enough and the party was outside in the back on a patio near a large hot tub for 4 people. As expected, I started with a drink to relax. Some men approached me to talk, but they couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. I wasn’t used to this kind of forward behavior. Most guys I date are more polite. This group was about my age and they could be businessmen, doctors, or lawyers for all I knew. They didn’t make real conversation so much as they suggested we go to their room. Really, did they think I would fall for their obvious lines? I credit booze for making them obnoxious.

Some of the men at the party were more creative. They asked me to join them in the hot tub. There were couples already in the hot, swirling water with all clothes removed. What kind of party was this? Not the usual sort of mixer. I am not into one night stands. When guys are fixated on one thing, and one thing only, you just don’t see their true nature. They could be nice in their daily lives, but they didn’t show much character. The mixer was like a big frat party five years later. I hated to admit it, but it was a bust and I was wasting my time. I think I am going to stick to regular dating, especially when the men are known to my friends. I always have decent luck when a fix-up happens. When I meet someone casually at a bar, things often don’t go well. But this mixer was the worst social experience I have had in a long time.

  • Being single saves money- You discover all kinds of savings when it is just you; you don’t use as many razors because you aren’t shaving your legs anymore; frozen dinners are excellent when there is no one to impress; shop at the Thrift Store for the faded jeans and sweatshirts that make up your wardrobe now.
  • People do stare at you when you sit alone in a restaurant, but if you carry a book, you don’t have to make eye contact. To avoid snickers at the movies, bring a man’s coat and drape it on the seat beside you. This also keeps creepy people from sitting next to you.
  • A cat is a better companion than a man. Your feline is faithful, sleeps on his side of the bed and is always happy to see you…even when you are an hour late.
  • Never let married friends fix you up. They don’t care if you are lonely, they are just envious you are free.
  • Never let your parents set you up they aren’t worried about the standard of the man they just want to make sure you don’t move back in with them.

To be perfectly candid, I have gone through some ups and downs since becoming suddenly single. There have been the crazy times and the lonely times. I do miss having a significant other in my life, but despite my diligent efforts, I just haven’t found that ultimate Mr. Right (there have been some Mr. Right Nows, but that’s a story for another day!) For some reason, people want other people to be coupled up. It just doesn’t seem “natural” for anyone to be alone and content. I have found that happy place, though. The best advice I can give is to make sure you like yourself…because wherever you go…there YOU are.

I love my job. I have the most considerate boss. He is always coming up with ideas to make the work environment better and to offer great perks. We already have the choice of flex hours and starting later in the day if we skip lunch. I appreciate the way he considers our busy schedules and individual needs. It is a great way to keep us happy and engaged. He knows how to avoid employee turnover. That is the bane of any bosses existence. You have to keep hiring new people and taking considerable time to train them.

The latest idea he had was to give us all a bonus incentive if we bike to work. He is definitely an environmentalist and talks all the time about dwindling energy resources. He promotes exploring for domestic gas and becoming less dependent on the Middle East. I have a commuter bike that I use to ride around the city, so this new gesture won’t go unheeded. I get out my rusty old machine and give it the once over. It needs some adjustments, an oiling, a polishing, and some TLC. I buy a rust remover and get the body back to its original shininess. It is now presentable enough to ride to work and even park it right out front.

I rode for a month until the weather turned nasty. I hated having raindrops pelt me in the face. My shoes were often wet and never really dried out during the workday. It is hard to pedal in clunky rubber boots. I was ready and willing to give up the bonus. I stuck it out a few extra days, not for the bonus, but to show the boss my compliance. At the end of a month, I abandoned my effort and returned the bike to its storage place in the garage. I had just bought a nice new lock and used the attached chain to secure it from prowlers and thieves. I was back to my car.

What is the best mode of transportation to work for you? We all have our preferences. Some of us live near a train station or bus stop and that dictates what we will do. Others can walk if they are lucky as it provides some daily exercise. Then there are the rest of us who want to drive for convenience. I have several miles ahead of me each morning and the car makes it in ten minutes. I get to work early enough to get the best parking spot. I have no reason to go back to the bicycle. I have my own incentives. I often run errands after work or visit family or a friend. I can go to the gym before dinner and grab some take-out food. In short, I need the car to help me organize my life and save time. I gave it the old college try with the bicycle but fell short of my goal. Others in the office got the bonus and bragged a lot about it. I kept quiet about my failure.

I hate it when the air is so dry that my lips crack. Mostly this is in winter, but it can happen any time. The climate in my city varies from humid to arid and there are spells of each all year long. I combat dryness with face lotion, hand cream, and lip balm. But I can do better to prevent uncomfortable skin. I don’t want to be slathering on oily moisturizers all day long. What to do about alligator skin. You know, the kind that shows a pattern of cracking. Help me!

The appliance gods came to the rescue. They suggested I get a good room size humidifier that will spew moisture into the air from the ample water tank. It holds a gallon and the mist it emits can last for hours. I am in a new apartment since a recent tortuous breakup and it has benefitted enormously from the humidifier. Sometimes it is cold inside in addition to being dry. When I use the heating system, it sucks moisture from the air. I gave in and bought the humidifier as soon as I heard about it. I read up and selected one that covered a lot of indoor square footage. It is a top brand and well-constructed so it should last a long time. It really does its job and I can put away and the creams and lotions. I use them now and then when I am outside in the dry winter air for a long time. But when I come home, I know that I will be comfortable and breathe easier. Your nasal passages dry out so easily and the humidifier gives them considerable relief.

I now live on my own and choosing to buy a humidifier was a very adult decision. It means that I am taking charge of my life once and for all. I am facing reality. I don’t need to depend on someone else. This doesn’t mean I won’t take tips and suggestions: don’t get me wrong. Everyone can use good advice. The person who told me about the humidifier gets a lot of credit for making my days and nights a lot easier. Thank you, my friend. When you are not in a relationship, you get lonely for sure; but you rely on family and old friends more and more. People have noticed my newfound independence. Since I am alone in the evening, I like to entertain all the time. I use the humidifier to make my space pleasant and people enjoy coming over. I bake and use the oven extensively but the heat doesn’t dry out the apartment. You have to be mindful of these things and find your own solutions. Buying the best humidifier on the market was my salvation.

Humidifiers come in all shapes and sizes from countertop models to free standing devices. This means that you have a lot of choice to suit your needs. You probably will make a decision based on the size of the water tank and how long you want to leave it on. Happy shopping.

I want to meet my soul mate so dating is my current pastime. So far I have had some pretty good times. Other times, I find that there is no meeting of the minds. I could write a guidebook for dating at this point in my life given my various amusing experiences. I know someday I will find the right person, but meanwhile there is no rush. I am still young and have a lot of time to settle down and start my real life. That’s how I think of it. For the time being I am in a no man’s land of trial and error.

It is a good sign if I accept a second date. I have had too many first dates, so it means that there is a connection if we go out again. It takes five dates in my opinion to know someone. Before that it is all guesswork. You get hints about personality and special interests, but you don’t know what is deep down inside. You hope to discover a person’s values as time goes on. When you finally see where they live and how they furnish their environment, you have made a lot of progress. I make assumptions all the time, however, that have to be corrected. I was on a second date recently and was invited to the guy’s house at the end of the evening. I was absolutely in awe of all the electronics around. I instantly labeled him a geek or a nerd. First I had to see how many computers existed.

What I saw first was a strange space age contraption sitting in the middle of the living room making odd whirring noises. It was plugged into the wall and a red light was visible showing that it was “on.” I had no idea what this odd gadget was doing, nor some of the other “appliances” around. I assumed that they had some specific function, but what I didn’t know. It turned after some questioning that my date like to control the air in his home. He had a humidifier that could emit steam, which he demonstrated shortly. He also had an ion machine and an air purifier so that pollutants and allergens could be removed daily. I asked him if he was that sensitive, and the answer was yes. These machines made it easier for him to breathe, especially when he was asleep. He particularly credited the air purifier for making him healthier. You should try it, he suggested.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to populate my house with a bunch of metallic beings but I was open to maybe one. Since I seldom felt dry in the nose and throat, I nixed the humidifier. I don’t like dampness in my midst. The air purifier, however, seemed a logical choice. I do have allergies now and then and do worry about airborne toxins. I keep the windows open for fresh air but it brings alien elements with it. I am glad that I learned something valuable while on a date.

I have been out of the dating world for quite a while pretty much my entire adult life. I wasn’t clueless, though, about the changes brought about by technology. I have had friends who were single and tried to find companions. There are parts, however, that I wasn’t prepared to handle. I have never had to worry about being alone on a Friday night or not having a date for a new movie I wanted to see. In fact, I have not had to be alone much at all. Now, I find myself in my brand new apartment, unpacked and staring blankly at the new pictures I had just hung on the walls. I had been caught up in moving and setting up my new place, and I haven’t had time to feel the solitude.

What now? How do I go about meeting some new men? Do people still go to bars to find dates? Should I ask my friends to “fix me up?” Somehow, these ideas seem outdated. I spy my computer and think about all the commercials I have seen touting impressive profiles and soul mates just waiting to be discovered. I will just take a look… I think to myself.

Online dating is a new world to me and it takes a few tries before I find the right one. There are sites for Lonely Farmers, Single Parents and even one for self-proclaimed Nerds. I decide to try a more commercial one, and I am soon involved in answering questions about my hobbies, exercise level, body size and favorite things. I am amazed at the degree of detail this questionnaire demands. Then, I am challenged to write an interesting, brief, witty synopsis of my life that will impress and draw in the men I want. It must be funny and original; welcoming without being needy and it has to stand out amongst a thousand other reads.

After many nail-biting hours of writes and re-writes- I finally have a profile that I think will charm any man. Now comes the real challenge-I must post profile pictures! These photos can make or break your dating life. As I look through some of the pictures of other profiles, I see everything from the duck face photos to the obligatory photo with your pet. I search my photos to find just the right ones. I want to look active and happy; fun but not trashy; successful but not too independent. These are crucial decisions that could impact my entire future.

I finally decided on two pictures and completed my profile. As I wait for it to be approved, I start glancing through the profiles of the men in my age range. There are many handsome guys show potential and my spirits lifted. This isn’t so hard, I think. I can do this. I can find Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now-depending on my mood; I decide with a big smile. Little did I know that the fun was just beginning.

One of the things I looked forward to the most, after becoming single, was a girl’s night out! I had heard tales of dancing on tables and groups going to male review shows. I envisioned a night of drinking, laughing and adventure. I planned such a night with some of my single friends. They were more experienced ones because I was the newest single there. We very responsibly picked a designated driver and rode together to a favorite club.

I must say that the excitement started on the ride over, but it wasn’t what I had expected. The drama came from two girls fussing and screaming because they both wore the same dress. I didn’t see the problem because the club would be dark but the fight was on. It got so crazy that the two girls got out at a stoplight and began wrestling around in the street. One of my best friends was driving and after telling them to get in…she just drove away…leaving the girls, in their identical dresses standing in the street.

Before I could react to that, we pulled up to the club. One of the other girls admonished us to keep her in the middle of the group when we went in because she had a fake id.

“What?” I asked.

“Yeah, she is only 18…don’t worry…we do this all the time.”

We walked as a mob to the front of the club, and several girls flashed their id and were allowed in. The underage girl was in front of me, and when she tried to flash her id, she dropped it. We both bent down to get it and bumped heads. I saw stars when the bouncer rejected the fake id.

“Not happening,” he growled.

“And you, you look like you are already drunk. Get lost!”

He was pointing at ME! Now, wait a minute…I started calmly… Get out of the way, he suggested loudly. So, now “underage” and I were left alone under a lamplight. I tried texting my friends inside the club but either the music was too loud, or they just ignored me.

We finally flagged down a taxi and when we got in…whom did we see but the twin friends left in the street? They were still arguing and pulling each other’s hair. I screamed my address to the driver and after 45 minutes of listening to the catfight… I got out at my apartment. Wow! What a great girls night out, I thought. I looked at my watch, and it was all of 10:00. I got into my pajamas, with warm milk and watched Netflix until I fell asleep. I couldn’t handle many crazy nights like that one!