Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No recession for online dating

Is it a coincidence, or are all of my formerly wild and crazy free loving girlfriends suddenly talking about being in monogamous relationships again? And even the wildest, craziest players among my male friends are suddenly pairing up with just one girl, or moving in together and getting married.

That's right--two incomes are better than one, and suddenly it's very chic to be paring up with someone practical and reliable.
After all, two can live cheaper than one, and dating is expensive.

According to this week's Time Magazine and the LA Times, the fast and freakish free fall of the economic recession has generated a sudden bull market for online dating.

Match.com reported its largest monthly membership growth in seven years in November, while Perfectmatch.com reported a 47% jump in membership over the past quarter.

Monday, December 22, 2008

If you feel lonely during the holidays - reach out to others

On Sunday, while I was dancing with my friends, one of my exe's exes broke down in tears in the corner of the room. Two people embraced her as she cried. I have no idea what she was upset about, but I have a feeling she is sad and lonely during the holidays. Perhaps. like many single women over 40s, she feels abandoned and unlovable.

So many of my friends, male and female, are breaking down in tears right now or feeling isolated and alone. The connection we seek isn't just with a partner or a lover -- its a connection we want with each other, will all of humanity, with community. Right now, I feel like many of us--the ones who are awake and not snuffing our our emotions with drugs and alcohol and distractions -- are feeling this collective pain, and it's starting to well up inside of us and pour out.

When I received this essay today, I realized I am not alone. Reach out to someone this week. Dance with them. Hold them. Give them an embrace. Send them a note or a card and remind them that you love them and that you care.



I should be really happy to be in charge of my life,
to live the way my heart calls me to. But I also feel emptiness now, in spite of the
seeming full, interesting and down right adventurous
life I lead. There is something missing, and this year
it has become painfully clear, not just for me but for
so many. I feel emptiness because I do not have a deep
and intimate personal relationship.

Victories and
adventures are dulled when there is no one home to
share them with. When I was finished, Connie said,
"Sounds like you have all the icing without the cake."

Now Connie has led a blessed life with very little
chaos, at least from my perspective. She married her
one and only, and still to this day glows from the
love they share. They have raised 3 sons together who
are all exceptional adults and delivered Connie, and
husband Pete, with a house full of beautiful
grandchildren. The respect they have for each other is
amazing and the glow of real deep intimacy shows.

Connie knows what cake is, and she works hard to keep
cake in her life.

And what stops us from having it all! Why do so many
on the spiritual path endure traumatic relationships
or have no relationship at all?

This conversation -- cake icing theory -- led me into
a whole process of thought over the next few weeks. I
looked at where I was not fulfilled and where my
extended family felt unfulfilled. I knew of some who
had lived the solitary life for many years were now
coming to a place where they were beginning to feel a
deep loneliness, and I had to ask myself why.

I looked
at the world in general and looked at how we try to
fill those empty spots inside of us. And I had to ask
why the empty spots seem to be getting larger, rather
than smaller, with our spiritual growth
. Maybe this
has something to do with the Star Elders statement
this past March about this being the year of the

I began to see a pattern in various groups. First
there are those who crave the depth in life, but seem
to have an abundance of sweet icing. They want the
home, the intimate family and loving partner, the
garden in the back, and a kitty in the window still.
It isn't that they do not appreciate the icing, they
do, it's just the icing has no home base, no roots in
which to rest after a great adventure or victory. The
icing doesn't fulfill the spirit and these ones know
there is more to life than they have been getting.

Then there are the ones who would rather grab the easy
fix and go for the icing. They feel if they get the
new car, the big house, the perfect job, or Barbie
Doll girl friend or Prince Charming, that they will be
happy. Let's face it -- the new car will get
scratched, the house will have to be cleaned over and
over, and the job will become a boring routine once
again... and Barbie doesn't have a brain, and Prince
Charming never gets off his white horse. It's all
icing, very sweet upon first taste -- but it will make
us sick if we eat too much of it.

We run from fear
of being hurt and from the hard work it takes to bake
the cake that is the very foundation for the icing we

Then there is the really sad group who forgets there
is cake at all. They are like squirrels on a treadmill
going around and around working night and day to keep
the icing up high. These ones have no idea what they
are missing. They have only tasted icing and the cake
has eluded them completely. My question is, if you
never tasted the cake how do you know what you are
missing.... Maybe you don't.

Don Miguel Ruiz in his book "Mastery of Love" says
that we need to fulfill ourselves first before we can
fulfill ourselves in a relationship. I believe we need
to know ourselves to be able to draw in the right
person, BUT still in nature nothing exists without an
intimate connection with something else. We are part
of nature. Do you see anything under the sun that does
not need something else to survive?

We are not
autonomous beings, as much as we would like to be. Are
we using spiritual new-age concepts and teachings to
avoid intimacy? Are we using them to protect ourselves
from getting hurt? Are we using this kind of teachings
to build a wall in which to protect our wounded hearts
and to avoid possible future pain, instead of risking
and opening ourselves to God's magical gifts of Love?

Now don't get me wrong here, I love Marianne
Williamson and Don Miguel and other teachers like
them. Without a doubt they are opening us to look at
ourselves in new and expanded ways. These teachings
are profound yet they also seem to create a lot of
confusion about relationship -- relationship to
ourselves and each other. We are torn between living
in the idealism of spirit and the reality of being

Christ said to go into the kingdom of heaven as a
little child. Children do not approach life with fear.
They don't worry that if they take their first steps
they will fall and hurt themselves.. . and when they do
fall, they feel it, get up, and go do it again and
again until they get it right. They live with wonder,
curiosity, and LOVE. Most of all their hearts are not
yet closed, their minds not programmed with limiting
concepts. They take life as it comes to them.

Do we? Have life's challenges closed us down? Have our
painful experiences made us jaded, cautious, and
overly discerning?

Icing needs
cake! Cake needs icing. And we need each other, so
let's quit pretending that we don't. Let's quit
twisted profound spiritual concepts to hide behind.
Let's quit professing everything is wonderful, when it
isn't. It is time to get real. It is time to feel the
heart not just speak about it. It is not codependent
to desire a deep relationship with another human being
to feel fulfilled!
It being human, it is being real,
it is natural.

I began to think in deeper terms about relationship
and how it relates our planet. If we can't get real
with each other, how can we assume we can get it right
with humanity and manifest harmony!

We crave relationships and
community that will support us on our worst days and
that will be there to celebrate our victories.

One day all that we have owned, created, and done here
on this plane will pass away. It is a fact. All that
we will take with us is the love we shared, the
connectedness we have experienced with one another,
and the lessons we learned. This is the real stuff --
the stuff that makes life rich. It is the soft and
crumbling cake we need -- to gobble up every crumb
while it is still warm from the oven like it was the
last crumb and to lick the plate like a child when we
are done. We need deep and intimate connection with
others, and with God. What we crave most is eternal.

The Star Elders say this is the year of the Heart.
They didn't say it would be easy. Opening the heart
and living with love takes work.

We are all working together -- to deny
this fact is to deny nature itself. I am beginning to
see that the days of the spiritual hermit, the lone
seeker are over. We have all done the hermit thing. We
have fasted on the mountaintops and we have gone to
the desert. We have isolated ourselves from each other
because of hurt and trauma. We have learned who we

Maybe the loneliness many are beginning to feel is a
universal push to bring us together once again.
a partner, then community, country, and planet.

The Maya have a saying, "In Lak'ech - A La Kin". It
means, I am you and you are me. It reminds me we are
simply wanting to re-connect the other parts of
ourselves. It is time to recognize that we need each
other to create our dream and to feel fulfilled,
because we are a part of each other. In fact we have
never been separate. It has been the greatest

I don't have any more answers than when I began this
quest for understanding relationship. In fact I seem
to have more questions. I have shared many things I
have been feeling. Sometimes it scares me to do this,
but I try with all my heart to live open and be

I know things are changing and we are not
really sure how things are going to end up. All we
know is what we have been doing is not working anymore
and we are all looking for the answers, the new path
But the one thing I am sure of it that the answers can
only come from our open hearts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Single (again) during the holidays.

Sunday, my girlfriend broke down in tears in the middle of a dance. It's been a rough time for her -- her grandparents just passed away, she has the same economic struggles we're all facing, and her boyfriend seems kind of indifferent to her emotional turmoil. She wanted to be held, supported, you know -- cuddled. So she dragged me to a brunch party hosted by Reid, the suddenly famous host of the Cuddle Party.

Even though a cuddle brunch seems innocuous enough, I had a bad feeling in my gut about it, but I wanted her to feel better, so we picked up some eggs and went there.

We left our shoes in the hall of a small but beautifully decorated classic San Francisco flat, and Reid, who has shaggy blonde hair, was much cuter and, well -- huggable -- that I possibly expected, welcomed us with, of course, a fabulous warm hug and a big beaming smile. He was wearing printed flannel pajamas, though it was at least 3 in the afternoon. (Reid always wears PJs -- that's the de rigeur attire for the Cuddle Party.) I was starting to cheer up. But still, that vague "this is not right feeling" was stalking me.

When we walked into the kitchen I knew why: there was my ex -- and the (boo, hiss!) woman who snagged him away. I'll call her Bozo Hair, to protect her identity. She's a frumpy middle aged woman with this enormous pouf of frizzy hair dyed Ronald Mc Donald Red. Ok, Bozo the Clown Red. It is not a color of hair that exists in nature, even if you're Celtic. Contrasting the frizz of hair (in which, as usual, there were about an inch of gray roots showing), she was wearing one of her typically unflattering, loud, garish neo Goddess outfits -- a pair of widelegged printed purple hipster yoga pants that shouldn't even be manufactured in her size. (Some people do not have a licence to wear stretch pants.) It looked like they had both been out partying all night and rolled in still awake and wearing whatever they had on the night before. He had deep dark circles under his eyes, and they both looked kind of gray. Ex put on a show keeping himself busy fetching heaping plates of food to feed Bozo, which she scarfed up nervously. It was like watching someone fatten up a calf for slaughter.

Bitter? Moi? Nine months have passed. I recovered, therapized, workshopped and soothed myself into a wiser woman with higher self esteem. I tossed out every card and gift he ever gave me. (Except the vibrating razor. It's a wierd narcissic gift, but my legs have never been smoother.) I abandoned my communities and avoided every possible party where I might run into him. But once in a while, I run into THEM -- and in Eckart Tolle's words, it retriggers the "pain body" of grief.

So here's my worst nightmare, right? Him with HER (boo, hiss!) in a VERY small cuddle party! Yikes.

I looked around. The flat was cramped. There was no possible place for cuddling to happen except the bedroom. This was not looking promising.

I pulled my girlfriend aside and whispered, urgently:

"Get me out of here!"

"Let's eat first, I'm starved," she said.

There was one seat available -- of course, the one directly across from "them." Bozo made an awkward attempt to be polite (she always has this nonchalant touchy feely attitude of: "Why won't you be friends with me? We're all just one big polyamorous happy family, why can't we love one another, blah blah blah, San Francisco New Age Double Speak.)

The fact is, she "got" him for only one reason: She was willing to stalk a partnered man, she knew he was a cheater, and she was willing to tolerate it. I asked for respect, honesty, transparency and commitment. He didn't give it to me either, so I left, with my self respect intact.

She continues to look the other way. He continues to "pretend" to be her boyfriend while he continued to chase me for months and still blatantly sees others on the side -- business as usual, nothing changed. Maybe it works for them.

We scrambled some eggs, ate nervously, made some polite small talk, hugged everybody (except you know who!) and scrambled out nf there.

It was the latest in a string of "he's a cheater" experiences in my dating life.

Is the Internet and all of our high tech toys (like instant messaging and cellphones) to blame for what seems to continue steamrolling into a total erosion of traditional values in our culture?

Or is it just me? Am old fashioned and out of step in this new age of "polyamory" and NSAs and FWBS and "hook ups" -- and just not getting with it?

It just feels like an avalanche of cheating, dishonesty and two-timing is falling all around me, and I sit here in the midst of it, wanting just one simple thing: Someone to hold, to trust, to love, to unwrap gifts with, to share the warmth with. And I wonder why something so basic, so human, so simple to ask continues to elude me?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ten rules for dating in the zombie apocalypse

If the end of the world is coming, better find a hammer--and don't make the first move.

Stumbled on this in PinkRaygun.

As the worldwide zombie uprising continues and worsens, we should stop for a moment to consider how this will effect our dating lives. Unless you have mad mixed martial arts skills, you’re not going to make it on your own, no matter how Mary Tyler Moore you think you are, and will have to revise your ideas on dating. To this end, Pink Raygun has developed 10 Rules for Dating in the Zombie Apocalypse.

1. Lower your standards - Dates will be hard to find. “Breathing” should be your top priority. “Teeth” should be optional.

2. Cultivate plumpness - If you look well fed, it means you’re near a food source. A steady supply of food is attractive.

3. Carry a hammer - A hammer can be used as a building tool, a food preparation tool and a self-defense tool. It will be the new must-have accessory, so set yourself apart by bedazzling your hammer. A bedazzled hammer says “I’m practical and trendy!” Extra points for preparedness if you name your hammer. “Mjolnir” and “Smashy” are great names and show your date that you appreciate your hardware.

4. Don’t make the first move - Its easy to mistake a newly dead guy for a guy with no social skills or coordination. Let him make the first move, so you know he fulfills the “breathing” requirement.

5. If his first move is to bite you, whack him with your bedazzled hammer.

6. Don’t meet him halfway - When it’s time for that magical date, you’ll only increase your chances of getting nabbed by a zombie as you try to cover ground. Make him pick you up at the door.

7. Don’t talk too much - You’ll only give away your hiding place and draw more zombies to your location.

8. Learn to love poor hygiene - Body odor, haggard looks and missing teeth help a guy (or girl) blend in with the zombie landscape and helps prevent attacks, thus ensuring your continued safety.

9. Let him take the lead - That way, he’ll take the brunt of the zombie attack.

10. Be kind to zombies - You don’t want to thin out the zombie dating pool too much because one day, you’ll be a zombie, too. You may miss out on “Mister Right,” but you’re almost guaranteed to find “Mr. Bite.”

Dating RIP? NY Times says now it's just hooking up.

This week, the New York Times posted an obituary to dating, (well an opinon piece) called: "The Demise of Dating." I think Mr. Blow (what an unfortunate name for someone writing an essay about hookups!) is definitely on to a trend that is not just sweeping teens and the Generation Y, but has pretty much infected our relationships ever since the dawn of the Craigslist hook up ad.


The paradigm has shifted. Dating is dated. Hooking up is here to stay.

(For those over 30 years old: hooking up is a casual sexual encounter with no expectation of future emotional commitment. Think of it as a one-night stand with someone you know.)

According to a report released this spring by Child Trends, a Washington research group, there are now more high school seniors saying that they never date than seniors who say that they date frequently. Apparently, it’s all about the hookup.

When I first heard about hooking up years ago, I figured that it was a fad that would soon fizzle. I was wrong. It seems to be becoming the norm.

I should point out that just because more young people seem to be hooking up instead of dating doesn’t mean that they’re having more sex (they’ve been having less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or having sex with strangers (they’re more likely to hook up with a friend, according to a 2006 paper in the Journal of Adolescent Research).

To help me understand this phenomenon, I called Kathleen Bogle, a professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia who has studied hooking up among college students and is the author of the 2008 book, “Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus.”

It turns out that everything is the opposite of what I remember. Under the old model, you dated a few times and, if you really liked the person, you might consider having sex. Under the new model, you hook up a few times and, if you really like the person, you might consider going on a date.

I asked her to explain the pros and cons of this strange culture. According to her, the pros are that hooking up emphasizes group friendships over the one-pair model of dating, and, therefore, removes the negative stigma from those who can’t get a date. As she put it, “It used to be that if you couldn’t get a date, you were a loser.” Now, she said, you just hang out with your friends and hope that something happens.

The cons center on the issues of gender inequity. Girls get tired of hooking up because they want it to lead to a relationship (the guys don’t), and, as they get older, they start to realize that it’s not a good way to find a spouse. Also, there’s an increased likelihood of sexual assaults because hooking up is often fueled by alcohol.

That’s not good. So why is there an increase in hooking up? According to Professor Bogle, it’s: the collapse of advanced planning, lopsided gender ratios on campus, delaying marriage, relaxing values and sheer momentum.

It used to be that “you were trained your whole life to date,” said Ms. Bogle. “Now we’ve lost that ability — the ability to just ask someone out and get to know them.”

Now that’s sad.

E-mail chblow@nytimes.com

Have you Googled your date yet?

In the old days, when we met "In the real world", at church or school or in community, it was easy to tell if your date had a "reputation" or was a cad -- the word would be on the street. But in the anonymous world of Internet dating, when we're meeting someone from a different sphere, across town or maybe another state, you get "Googled."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oldest online dating cliche in the book

Ok, anyone who has been reading this blog knows I am not a big fan of online dating. But after relentlessly getting spammed by Chemistry.com, I decided to give this service a try. Immediately I got 29 messages from "Men who want to meet me."

Here are a sampling of the tepid personal ad cliches that have arrived in my in box so far. I wish these guys would say something halfway original so I have some sort of clue as to who the human being behind the cliche might be. With generic names like "Ralph" and "Bill" and these deadly dull headlines, I really don't have much to go on.

By the way, I am not making this up. These are real, authentic responses to my personal ad. Aaaaack!

Who would you click on?

Looking for you

The one you've been waiting for!

Adventure Awaits

Total intimacy

“Cold hands, warm heart”

Looking for a connection

Passion and Adventure

WORLD'S GREATEST GUY (The whole letter is written in ALL CAPS and I imagine a guy who shouts a lot.)

Me Tarzan, You Jane

Sincere, Compassionate, and Sensitive Man

Nicest guy you will ever meet

Have broom. Ready to sweep. (You. Off your feet.) <<---ok, this one is at least kind of clever. In a "groooooan" knock knok joke kind of way.

And...drum roll please....

Your search is over!

Aaaaaaaagh! Delete, delete! And I'm supposed to pay money for this?

Here's a blogger's advice on tired dating cliches to avoid.


Holding hands while walking on the beach in the sunset, anybody?

Friday, December 12, 2008

The new Web 2.0 way to humiliate your ex and get revenge

Now on Breakkup.com, you can expose that jerk (or jerkette) for the world to see, and the community will evicerate him/her on line -- sort of a modern version of the public gallows.

I found this today on Thrillist.com:

"When suffering through the throes of relationship trouble...get intimate advice from people you don't even know, with Breakkup.

A Digg-styled community dedicated to exploring relationship issues, BKU lets users post predicaments to a "Latest Drama" page, where community members vote on whether to Break Up or Chill Out, as well as leave specific comments, with the most pathetic active posts being slapped up on the homepage.

In the event you have no stones, the site's augmented by a Breakup Assistant. Submit a name, address, and grievances, and personal assistants will send your formerly-loved one a letter ranging in tone from You Really Hurt My Feelings to Don't Ever Talk To Me Again."

There are communities for online dating. So it only makes sense that there would be communities for breaking up. Could divorce networks be next?