Tag Archives: dating

The Fixer Of Broken Boys Part 14: Here’s Where The Story Begins

If you’ve been following along with my story, I seem to know how to pick them. Some would say I pick them, fix them, and send them on their way..

A fixer of broken boys.

Others would say I’m broken.

For the record I’m not a fan of that word. Broken.

Or victim.

Or unlucky.

I absolutely can not tolerate people who hold their past as excuses to be horrible.

“you don’t understand… this happened…”

Actually I do and then some.

Here’s the truth. Without all theses chapters I would not have the love of my life. She’s eleven. She’s perfect and while I am not… perfect, she makes me feel like I am about eighty percent of the time.

I considered wrapping this up neatly. Giving you the happy ending I teased in an earlier chapter. But that’s not the truth. Life is messy. Things have been hard. Dating as a single Mom is no joke. Dating as a single Mom who has been through some stuff,well… I recognize I can be a challenge. For a moment I want to acknowledge that some of this is hard to read, it’s hard to write…but it’s mine and you know what?

I’m here. I have walls. I hold my breath. I don’t always see what others do. But I’m here. My feet are planted firmly and I’m determined to show my daughter that you can be loved for who you are. That even when not so great stuff happens you can get through it. You can. Maybe the path there may not be very straight but it CAN be done.

Which leads me to my now…

I’m treading lightly here because it’s so incredibly precious to me. As I’m wrapping up my forties a switch has been turned on. I have finally realized it is ok to want hand holding, mushy, compromise, quiet days, ruckus nights,if someone loves you they won’t  judge what you want or who you are, but rather rebel yell for you.

They will go to Target when they’d rather be at a record store.

They will ask about your daughter.

They will ask you about your day.

Text you in the morning.

Send you a song

Let you send them a Dad joke

Hold your hand

Remind you they are there for you and keep doing so even when you try to push them away.

I’m crying as I type this because… let’s just say what’s mine is mine is mine and if I tell you it’s less mine… but it’s mine.

It’s messy and it may not work for you, but isn’t that life?

Life is messy! Who wants perfect? I will take messy and happy any day.

I’m finding out I don’t need to fix broken boys anymore…

The boys weren’t broken and neither was I. I just didn’t see who I was. I finally do.

I am a Mom. A friend A sister. An aunt. A daughter. A teacher. A shoe hoarder. A nerd. A pink haired, tattooed middle aged punk lady who still crushes on Henry Rollins. And that is more than ok… it’s kinda perfect.

~~Caprise

Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Teacher
Sometime DJ
T-shirt collector
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date

The Fixer of Broken Boys Part 10: The Guitar Player

The Guitar Player…

After college I dated but no one stuck. I will be honest I was why. I might have still been hung up on Captain of Sport I don’t understand. AlsoI was picky. Silly picky. Maybe unfair picky. I also had a bad habit of stacking the men I was dating. I’m not proud of it but it was not uncommon for me to break up with someone and have someone waiting in the wings.

I was young – I had some pretty set rules to date me. Contrary to popular belief I was a pretty tame dater. Which was not a deterrent.

The guitar player almost wasn’t. I originally was set up with the lead singer of his band who forgot to tell me he had a live in girlfriend. The exact quote “maybe that’s his sister, nope you shouldn’t kiss your sister like that.”

Lead singer is now a famous movie director- you have definitely seen his movies. I stand by my choice.

The night that all went down the guitar player who had never talked to me asked me to hang out with him after their show.

“I just want to know you.”

He had this incredible voice. I have a thing about voices. His is one of my favorites. He also has this smile not smile he does. There are so many things.  Some are too precious to share. Sorry not sorry.

No one had never said that to me. That they want to know me. He meant it. I was shyly grilled for several hours. He was older and I would find out later he and the lead singer played a game of Horse to determine if he could ask me out.

Aww romance.

We would date on and off for two very rough years.

Not because he was a bad guy. But I was not ready for what he brought to the table. I was 22 and trying to find my place in the world dating an incredibly handsome, incredibly talented older man dealing with crippling anxiety.

At that time there was no name for it.

Therapy was limited and the solution was lots of medication.

Our relationship became one where I felt I did all the work. 80% I did. Financially I pulled the weight. Emotionally I pulled the weight. At least it felt that way.

We loved each other.

I still love him. But when you struggle with your own self worth and want what everyone else has it’s hard to hold together a relationship with someone who is t healthy enough to be what you need.

When he could though… and if he had god damn I would have married that man.

But he couldn’t and didn’t.

We gave up.

I gave up.

My heart very broken. Still is  now.

The guitar player will be back- but unfortunately I spend the worst year of my life with the one that should have never been.

~~Caprise
Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Teacher
Sometime DJ
T-shirt collector
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date

The Fixer of Broken Boys Part 4: The Awkward Years

 Jason quickly took Jack’s place for the remainder of the summer as my poolside cheerleader. He became one of my very first guy friends. I think it is true when people say friendships start out between men and women, boys and girls because someone likes someone. In our case I think we liked the idea of each other but two hangs in we realized we were better friends.

Or it could be because I realized I played for the minors and he played for the majors. Or it could be shortly after he met the most popular girl in our school and she decided she had to have him as hers. When someone who previously didn’t acknowledge your existence suddenly invites them self to your neighborhood pool, it could be because of your hot new guy friend.

It really didn’t matter to me. This is what I knew- Jason was always sweet to my brother and kind to me. Again maybe because Jason had a much older sister he liked the idea of having a little brother. As for me – to this day I don’t know and I don’t care.

He was there when I needed him and was on and off until we were done with high school.

He let me cry when we ran into Jack and that horrible girl at the end of the summer cook out in our neighborhood. Jack looked uncomfortable she held onto him tightly and gloated. Making a point to walk past us more times than warranted.  Jason through my tears kept telling me I would find my way this would not always be how it was.  Other guys would get wise to what he knew.

He was kind of right.

We will get there.

Some side notes.

Jack married that horrible girl immediately after high school and joined the army immediately after the wedding. They are divorced but have a sweet looking daughter who has her Dad’s freckles and brown eyes. Jack wears big cowboy boots, big belt buckles and big cowboy hats. I am pretty sure he is a Republican. So even if we HAD worked out, we WOULD not have worked out.

Jason to his credit remained one of my closest friends until he moved out of state with his family. He also married the popular girl. They also have a beautiful daughter. We talk once in awhile. Jason teases me because he says he lost all his looks as he’s aged and my beautiful insides finally oozed to my outsides. Time has been kind.

Every girl should have a Jason in their life.

I started high school with a broken heart but a hot best friend.

Life didn’t seem too bad.

Except when it did.

Being shy can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it gives you that instant out. A curse because you find it extremely hard to be able to hold solid conversations with anyone. Much like Jason – most boys that got to know me loved the fact that I blushed. I think every high school year book I have someone who has written,”I hope that you don’t blush when you get into college.”

Guys I am almost 46 and I still blush. 

The only difference is now people find it endearing. 

Rather than a literal beacon of how uncomfortable I am.

And yes some still like to make me blush. But I like them and they make me happy.

We’ll get there…

Shyness got the best of me my first high school dance. I was really lucky because contrary to what the movie Footloose would have you believe our small town encouraged dances and dancing and even our friends not very good punk bands to have shows.

All of which shockingly my parents encouraged me to attend.

Imagine if you will 15 year old me.

Not even 5 ft tall. Maybe 85 pounds. An attempt at mall hair. Stirrup pants and a baggy sweatshirt. Awkward. So very awkward. But I had those family doe eyes.

Standing with a group of my equally shy, equally awkward, equally smart baby posse of girlfriends we waited together until the right song came one. Shy girls still love to dance and it was when we all let go. We didn’t care and honestly we didn’t need to. We were good dancers and we had so much fun. 

While waiting for an excruciatingly long slow to end. I caught him staring at me. He was a senior and the quarterback on our football team. There was absolutely no way he was staring at me.

Yet he was. Poison’s Talk Dirty to Me came on and my friends squealed and started dragging me out on the dance floor. He came and stood in front of my group. We all froze.

“Hey, what’s your name?” “ME?!” “Yes.” “Are you sure?!” “Nice to meet you are you sure.”

He chuckled and walked away with his cronies.

My first week on the gymnastic team I had to go to the Senior hallway to give my team older sister a good luck flower. He saw me and yelled out “Hey are you sure?” I blushed. “You look more like a little monchichi to me” 

There are worse nicknames a girl can have.

Trust me – we’ll get there.

Aww man will we ever.

Side note time: Big popular football player went onto have a pretty successful college career and marry a woman who would have an incredibly successful career as a writer. Not me, sillies. We did cross paths a few years ago. I am waiting in an airport to fly to see my person and I hear a guy yell “Monchichi” 

Oh god no. There he was. Time I think is kind to people who are kind and he was a kind man. I knew it was him immediately. After the world’s clumsiest hug. I’m still short, so hugging a 6ft 3in man is tricky. “Monchichi! You glowed up girl”

Thanks. “How are you?” “Good – off to meet the wife at one of her book stops. I always liked the shy, smart girls. Lucky for me she knew her name when I asked her. And you? Wait a minute – you’re with that guy. The one…”

Oh no my friends.

Not yet.

As they say. You have to work for it.

Whether he knew it or not that very 80’s nickname guaranteed for quite awhile that my high school years were not too horrible. He had given me the gift of coolness. All because I was too shy to say my own name.

I also still lived in a neighborhood full of mostly boys. Who I got stuck carpooling with daily. I spent the first two years of high school wading through girls who really liked me or just liked me to get closer to those boys who I carpooled with. While again that odd relationship made sure I didn’t have any issues in high school. It also prevented any boy who might be interested in me or vice versa from asking. It’s hard to ask a girl anything when she is constantly surrounded by Motley Crue wannabes. It is also hard to be interested in a boy when said wannabes enjoy yelling out open car windows the name of your latest crush.

You learn fast to keep that information to yourself.

Don’t feel sorry for me though ok?

I did go to all the important dances.

Homecoming. Check

Twerp. Check

Prom. Check

Unfortunately I ended up getting a huge crush on my Twerp/Homecoming date. Who I found out later only asked me because he was the emcee, needed a date and knew as his buddy I’d say yes.

You win some you loose some.

I feel lucky in that I never experienced the angst and heartbreak in high school that my friends around me seemed to.

This might be because my parents were extremely honest about  their situation. Graduated high school in June, married in October, baby in November. I am not great at Math but…

Besides I had the eyes on the prize.  I was going to college. Away. No one was going to mess that up.

Except someone almost did and it isn’t even who you would think.

A caveat to going to college was trying to figure out how I was going to pay for it. My Dad worked in a factory. My Mom was a waitress. What I wouldn’t find out until months ago is they’re still paying off my third heart surgery well into my 20’s.

Which meant money was tight. The minute I could make money babysitting. I started doing that when I was 11. When I turned 16 I got a work permit and immediately started working in the same restaurant as my Mom. My poor zoo date worked there too. We will get there. I had a really small nest egg started. A thousand dollars. Which at that time and honestly even now was a lot. 

Not long after getting my acceptance letter.

Side note: I got into every college I applied for. Why I settled on Whitewater, the world will never know. This one could have been learning about marine biology in Hawaii. I am part hippie after all. Insert smirky emoji here.

I get a frantic phone call from one of my friends.

“Caprise I’m pregant and I don’t know what to do.”

I met my friend at McDonalds- her mascara running down her face. “The guy won’t help me. I can’t tell my family. You can’t tell your family” 

I’m going to take a pause here. Normal world that statement would cause me to tell my parents. However my world and my relationship with my parents was tight to say the least.  

“What can I do?” “I need your college money.”

I didn’t mean to but I started crying. 

“Caprise I will pay you back, please you have to help me.”

I would like to tell you she would pay me back. I would like to tell you from there on out money was never a constant point of contention. I would like to tell you when my ex husband kicked me out of our paid off house making $75k a year and me making $8.50/hr and with a  21/2 year old and no insurance and nothing.

Please guys, it is ok. This works out. It really does. I will tell you how. But first how about that infamous zoo date?

His name was Charlie. He legit looked like Opie from Andy Griffith and was about to start college at a Baptist college. So many things that did not check the boxes for me. The story goes my Mom who BTW not only forbid me to eat sugar (bad teeth) would not allow me to have a boyfriend. Yes a few brave souls tried. However, when the story got out about how my Dad broke his ankle running down icy stairs to go beat the shit out of two neighborhood boys  who called me a series of unfortunate names and later pulled the stitches out of his hernia chasing after a peeping Tom… let’s just say I am just as surprised as you I went to any dances with boys.

There were times in not too far from then I wished my Dad was around. But he wasn’t.

I am not sure if we will get there.

Back to the story. My Mom worried about me going away to college wasn’t sure I would know how to go on an actual date. Asked her waiters/hosts if someone would take me out. Later I would find out the one I wanted to take me out offered and was told no. 

We WILL get to him later.

Sweet. Kind. Very holy Charlie said yes. I still don’t know if Mom paid him and honestly I really, truly don’t want to know. He picked me up we went to the zoo, it was fun, I tore my pants getting out of his car. Nothing really great. 

Charlie to his credit is still very sweet, still very kind and is the Deacon at some church down South. His wife is also a red head and they have four equally lovely red headed children.

We are about to enter my college years. Which means yes I figured it out. Not without some help. 

I think every person deserves a champion. Several if possible. Mine came in the form of my Dad’s parents. Who lived down South which to this day seems like a foreign country and home at the same time.  They have supported me my whole life. The first time I got drunk was with my Grandmother. I was 16 and we were on a cruise. We had docked on some Caribbean island I was in a room with them. She introduced me to rum and cokes. She also was the one who told me about sex. Not at the same time. Later that summer before I went to college over several glasses of red wine.

Before you judge don’t. She was amazing and I am crying while I type this and I can’t put into words how many times in the last 10 years I wish I could have called Duchess Three Sheets to the Wind. Princess Running Mascara misses you so much.

Heartbreak number four…

My Grandparents made sure I went to college. Ever since I was little they have made sure there are pockets of time where it is just us. I sometimes think it is so they can check up on my parents. When I was 2 they had to intervene to prevent me from living on a commune. I think to this day they still don’t trust them. 

So every visit they would take me somewhere just us. Sometimes out for food, sometimes shopping, sometimes fishing but just us three and we would talk.  Before they could even ask I started sobbing. I told them about my friend borrowing from my college fund. How it happened more than once. Now you know too. My Grandfather clicked his bridge. His tell as I call it when he had something to say but wouldn’t. My Grandma hugged me and said we will help. 

They did. I still graduated with student loans but I think I only had to use laundry money a few times for party money. I did work during college but luckily and thanks to my Grandparents it wasn’t as much as some of my friends. 

To this day my Grandfather finds time for just us. The conversations are sometimes harder. Sometimes they aren’t. Lately he is particularly interested in a certain young man in my life. Although in your 40’s it is pretty funny and fantastic to have your Grandfather ask how is that young man of yours in my most favorite voice.

I am smiling as I type this…..

`Caprise
Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Teacher
Sometime DJ
T-shirt collector
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date

Dating Safely Series-Part 4: Meeting Up For Dates

This is the final article in the four part series on dating online safely.  In the previous articles we decided we are ready to date online, and we decided to put our safety first.  We learned to keep our private information private, and we put in the effort to qualify persons of interest.  Now that we have weeded out obvious unsavory attention we can feel much better about meeting an individual in person.  However, even though we did qualify this person, any person can behave well for a short period of time to get what they want.  So we are going to put in the effort to ensure we choose a safe first date.

  1. Prep an Excuse to Leave

Make a list of a few reasons to leave in a hurry and make the decision

to use them, if necessary.  Give yourself permission to trust, respect and take action on your gut instinct.  Refrain from talking yourself out of it if you feel uncomfortable.  If something doesn’t feel right, it’s most often because it’s not.  If you leave and don’t feel safe, drive to a police station instead of going straight home.

 

  1. Check in with a Trusted Friend

Be sure to keep a trusted (and capable) person in the loop about when and where and how long you expect to be on a date.  Let them when you are on your way and again when you leave safely.  Also, talk to this person about the individuals you are choosing to date.  Sharing with trusted friends our observations, feelings and experiences makes it more unlikely that we will be able to miss or accept unacceptable behavior.

 

  1. Meet at a Public Location

They may have a beautiful house on the lake or offer to take you somewhere secluded and romantic but insist on a public first meeting.  Even though we have qualified this person, nothing takes the place of that initial gut feeling when meeting someone for the first time.  Remember and respect that first feeling, for any person you meet, ever.  Whether you drive or take an Uber, be sure to have a quick getaway planned for an emergency.

 

  1. Take a Self Defense Class

Self defense training is something that is best when taken regularly, at least annually.  These are skills that are to be developed.  Find a class that addresses situational awareness, avoidance and defensive communication skills.  If you have Krav Maga nearby, go with that.  If you are limited to police, dojos or community centers then take them all as they cover different approaches and perspectives.  If possible, a female instructor is ideal.

 

  1. Carry a Personal Safety Device

A tool that you are unwilling to use is a useless tool, so don’t bother if you don’t see yourself using it.  Take the time to look into local laws (as well as practicability) as a salesperson will often sell you anything.  You can call the police department or a defense attorney with questions.  There is no perfect tool, only the tool that is right for you.  Get training in anything you choose to carry, especially retention – even if you think it’s unnecessary.

Stay Safe!

 

Carrie Conrad

***

Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit.  To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training.  From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children.  You can find out more at

Dating Safely Series-Part 3: Potential Qualifying Pursuers

So we are dating online.  We made the decision to make safe choices.  We are prepared to keep our private information private.  Now we are ready to start interacting with – hopefully – available and worthwhile potential mates.  However, we treat every single person as the complete stranger that they really are.  Unsafe and abusive people are often easily picked out once you know what you are looking for.  Take the time to qualify persons of interest before allowing yourself to become vulnerable or emotionally invested.

 

  1. Know What You Want

Making a list of what is negotiable and not negotiable in a potential partner will greatly improve safety.  If you are open to everything you may accept anything. Take the time to think about it and become willing to reject unwanted attention immediately.  Prep a generic response like,

“I don’t want to waste your time. We aren’t compatible based on my needs.  Good luck!”

Absolutely no explanation or response is helpful or required after rejection of a candidate that falls into the “Not Negotiable” category.

 

  1. Use Generic Responses

When answering questions, use the already planned out generic responses and pay attention to reactions.  Multiple questions about you may be genuine curiosity, but if a person is not accepting or is prying or you feel uncomfortable, that’s a red flag.  A normal person will be willing to be patient while you build trust before giving out private details.  Belittling, challenging or insulting blatantly shows you they are not respectful and is a sign they are potentially unsafe.

 

  1. Share Your Feelings

Share your feelings to see how they respond.  Be disagreeable at least once.  It doesn’t have to be intentional; an organic opportunity should present itself at some point.  A person who tells another they are wrong for feelings or that they should feel differently is disrespectful.  Please note when a person is insulting or belittling of your thoughts or feelings.  There are safe people who can be disrespectful, or it could also be a sign that they may be an abusive partner.

 

  1. Trying Saying No

If you have been turning down unwanted attention, then you may have already noticed some are not accepting of being told “No.”  Every explosive response is a bullet dodged.  Any person who discredits, discounts, argues or sidesteps your “no” is risky, too.  Be sure that the people you are messaging and potentially interested in have the same opportunity to show their true colors, too.  This is another time where we are paying attention to their reaction.

 

  1. Recognize Risky Behavior

There are typical and telling methods used to keep a potential victim from recognizing survival signals – like discomfort, concern, worry, apprehension.  If someone you just met seems too nice, too generous or if they give way too much information or offer a loan, take note and think about how you feel.  When someone challenges your character or willingness to take risk, pay attention.  Note the mention of violence or physical safety, especially offering a promise of safety, and even in jest.  No matter what, trust your gut.

 

Stay Safe!

 

Carrie Conrad

***

Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit.  To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training.  From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children.  You can find out more at

Dating Safely Series-Part 2: Keeping Private Info Private

So, we are ready to be dating online, and we are willing to do it safely.  The purpose of the suggestions in this specific article is to keep our private information private.  We don’t want to provide anything that allows a person to find us when we don’t want to be found.  Keep the mindset that all of these people viewing our profile online are complete STRANGERS.  We have never met them.  We don’t know anything about them.  And we don’t even know if they are actually even safe, available or moderately attractive, so keep your private information private until you consciously choose to share it.  

  1. Create an Email & Phone Number

It’s ideal to make an email account and phone number with limited or false information specifically for dating.  Then when you sign up for your dating site, you can use an email linked only to this dating account.  If you create a Google Voice number, for example, that number won’t be attached to anything other than the information you provide for it.

 

  1. Make a Generic Profile

List the county you live in or use the zip code for a nearby city instead.  You can always widen the miles of your search to encompass a further distance, if desired.  Also, generalize your career: “Finance”, “Healthcare” or “Fitness” are all appropriate answers.  Same with information about your children keep it all general: “I have kids in grade school”, etc.

 

  1. Use Safe Pictures

It’s ideal to take pictures specifically for and only used in your dating profile, as images can be searched online, too.  Pay attention to what’s in the background.  Look for identifying information.  Omit pictures wearing clothing with company, school, gym, team or children’s school information on it.  Block out your children’s faces in photographs – or do not use them.  You may love your car or have a favorite coffee place, but it doesn’t need to be pictured.

 

  1. Communicate Using the App

No matter how inconvenient, use the messaging, call feature and video chat through the dating site.  (Be mindful of what is in the background when doing a video chat, too.)  It’s much easier to block a profile on the dating site than to change your number, block someone on social media, or get a restraining order.  Personally, I don’t give out any private information until after at least a few dates.

 

  1. Prep Generic Answers

Have generic answers ready for basic questions so when someone asks more about work you can say something like, “I work for a bank/hospital/gym”.  Have a secondary general answer ready for if they ask further, like: “I provide training”.  With effort we can be honest without being revealing.  If they ask for more details we can tell them we are happy to share more in person.

 

Stay Safe!

 

Carrie Conrad

***

Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit.  To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training.  From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children.  You can find out more at www.BeatingDisaster.com or follow for safety tips and tricks at www.facebook.com/BeatingDisaster.

My First Date Post Marriage

My first date was with a guy from Tinder.

Don’t read that twice.

I did not expect that one date would turn into a dozen dates. I did not expect that he would make me laugh so hard my stomach hurt or that I wouldn’t even eat most of my meals we shared because we would be talking so much. I did not expect that when we would go places he would grab my hand, kiss my forehead, or pull me into him while waiting in line. I didn’t expect that I would love nothing more than walking into the door and seeing his face and wanting to literally wrap up in his arms. I didn’t expect how easy it would be to not only be emotionally but physically drawn to this man.

My therapist warned he was a rebound. Rebounds never work. I nodded, secretly thinking this could maybe be different. I justified that my husband was actually the rebound as he was my relationship right after my high school boyfriend. My therapist glared at me.

“Jessica, he is a rebound.”

One session he asked me very frankly what he was like.

“He feels like one gigantic sigh. I walk into his presence and I immediately relax. I am not a mom, I am not a manager, I am not an ex-wife. I can just be a woman and I can say and do as comes naturally, and I just…exhale.”

He was, and is, my first relationship post-marriage fail and he was…and still is…a great, big, sigh.

I love being a mother. I love my job. I adore my friends. I have a wonderfully supportive family. But I had no idea what I was getting into, what my actual intensions were for the long-term. I just knew what I no longer wanted and that was to feel like I was invisible and unimportant.

I liked having someone ask me about my day, my job, my children, how I slept. I liked having someone really look at me as they talked. Hell, I even liked when he pointed out stupid shit I did, like when I would walk to another room of his apartment and begin talking, totally facing the opposite direction of where he was located and expect him to hear me. The things he noticed made me laugh.

He loved how my eyes squinted when I smiled.

He loved my smile.

The way he caught my attention was by sending me a message that said something to the effect of “How many children do you have or do you want to show me your pile of mismatched socks and I’ll guess?”

A man with a child and a man who also had a pile of socks that never matched. You could have even called it foreplay.

An odd revelation I quickly had upon seeing him and emotionally finding myself positively smitten was that I had no idea how to have a relationship with a man and not be his wife.

I didn’t know how to not be someone’s wife.

It scared me. I didn’t know what dating was. I didn’t know what sex with a new person was. I didn’t know what you were supposed to say, or not say, how often to call, or text or see each other. So, I was myself.

And I felt alive.

I loved the way he listened to what I said and I loved that when he asked me questions he seemed to actually care how I replied. I loved the way he touched me, I loved the way he hugged me, I loved that he was well read, cared about current events, and history. Call him a humanitarian or a socialist, a man with a dry and crazy sense of humor, but just be sure to call him mine.

I loved the way he kissed me even though he kissed me differently than I’d been accustomed for twelve years.

Do you know what your first kiss is like after you thought you already had your last first kiss of your life a dozen years prior? Totally terrifying. Scarier than sex. It was a moment of no going back. My life had changed. It wasn’t ever going to be what I thought it would be when I walked down the aisle. The act both saddened me and freed me.

I was nothing but myself any time I was with him or spoke to him.

Within 90 days of saying goodbye to what I thought my life would be, I regained my life. I lost, and regained my home, traveling to stay between a half a dozen places with two children and two rabbits, living out of suitcases and laundry baskets for almost two months. My boss resigned. I helped host the largest, most important, global, annual event for my company. I assumed 100% financial accountability for every aspect of my life. I didn’t jump out any windows, run over anyone in a parking lot, stomp my feet and ugly cry in too many public forums, completely change my appearance or buy a one-way ticket to a mental institution. I had been through a tornado of hell and still managed to find my way in a relationship with a man who I found myself trusting, opening up to, and falling for.

I will admit it. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t like it. It feels uncomfortable for me. I like companionship. I like love. The house feels empty. So does my bed. This is what is supposed to happen to you after the last chapter ends.

This is the pain, the thrill, the punch in the gut after the curtain to one life closes and another opens.

I am just beginning a relentless journey toward simple, honest, uncompromising happiness.

Either hop in for the ride or get out. Because I deserve so much more than where I came from.

-Jessica: Awesome Single Mama

Introduction to the Series: Dating Safely

When I recently joined a dating site I became concerned over how in the heck other women are able to safely navigate the risk infested waters of online dating.  I don’t want to talk about all of the bad, horrible things I’ve seen so far or the statistics of what happens or could happen.  It’s more important to me to provide the reader with suggestions and tools to immensely increase your level of safety and reduce the risk of something happening to you, so that you can safely get through the remaining madness of the online dating experience.

First and most important is the foundation of anything you can do to keep yourself safe: make the decision to put your safety first.  You are responsible for picking your priorities; no one else can do it for you.  You get to decide whether or not you make your safety negotiable.  You currently may not know better, but I’m hoping that after reading this series you will not only know better but be willing to do better, too.  The cold hard facts are that making safe choices is uncomfortable, unpopular and almost always inconvenient.  But it’s worth it because whether or not you believe it: You are worth it and deserve to be safe.

You are worthy and deserving of a safe and respectful dating experience and relationship.  If that statement is something that doesn’t sit well with you, please stop dating and invest in yourself until you are able to accept that fact. It doesn’t matter what route you take; there are many.  You can use therapy, yoga, meditation, inspirational speakers, mantras, affirmations – to name a few.  The method is irrelevant.  You will not decide to make your safety a priority unless you accept that you have value and deserve to be safe.

In this short series, we are going to address a few different types of concerns relating to online dating.  The first is having a safe online presence and ensuring we aren’t providing identifying information that allows unwanted followers.  Next, we are going to talk about qualifying the people we find of interest to ensure we aren’t picking unsafe or abusive partners.  Then we will discuss staying physically safe while meeting on a first date or dates thereafter, and lastly we will cover leaving carefully.  Keep in mind, the foundation for everything covered and addressed, is making that decision that your safety is not negotiable.

Stay Safe!

 

Carrie Conrad

***

Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit.  To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training.  From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children.  You can find out more at www.BeatingDisaster.com or follow for safety tips and tricks at www.facebook.com/BeatingDisaster.

Four Steps To Tinder-Time aka How To Build The Perfect Profile

After WAY too much experience on Tinder, I have gleaned the essence of the perfect profile – something that will increase your odds of attracting a man who is halfway decent and better than a serial killer.

If you are looking for a hook-up, a shag, a slam-bam-thank-you-man and nothing more, put up your sexy pics, don’t bother with a blurb, and watch Looking for Mr. Goodbar – because you’d be  safer meeting a dude at a dive bar in Barstow (look it up), where you can at least check out his friends and assess how he smells in person.

The world can be a dangerous place, especially for us gals.

If you are like the rest of us over-forty female fun-seekers, you probably have hopes of meeting a decent guy, dating a bit, falling a bit, fu$%-like-bunnies, then enjoying a blissful life of romance and love. This is why building your profile carries a weight equal to writing a Presidential inaugural address. This could be the rest of your life… and the world is counting on you to keep us out of war, stop global warming, and save the planet.

Be savvy when creating your profile.  Don’t rush.  Think about it.  And create it with Tinder Loving Care.

STEP ONE – SELECT YOUR PHOTOS:

Tinder feeds off your Facebook account for your age, education, and photos, so if this concerns you, create a private album only you can see. This way, you post photos you might not normally post on your Facebook (aka shots of your cleave).

1st photo – Primary photo:

You have five seconds to grab his attention. Ergo, your primary photo is where you put your best foot forward.  This is the picture that flies across the Tinder screen as men frantically search for the perfect woman (aka Jessica Alba).

Your primary photo should be some sort of headshot – showing your bright eyes, your sparkling smile, and the color of your hair.  Your face should reasonably fill the screen so that a man will stop, attention captured, and explore the rest of your profile to learn more about wonderful YOU.

PRIMARY PHOTO NO-NO’S :

* You making duck face. (Only chicks dig chicks making duck face.)

* You making cross-eyed, dumb “I’m-so-fun” face. (If a dude wants Goofy, he’ll go to Disneyland.)

* You with your tits pushed up and out. (You reap what you sew.)

* You and five of your bff’s.  (Where’s Waldo?  Swipe left!)

* You way, way, way far away on a beach or a ski slope. (He’s not looking for an ant.)

* You kissing your pet (especially if it’s a cat).

 

2nd photo – Full body shot:

I do not mean a naked body shot – rather, a photo that shows you head to toe.  We want him to see that you do, in fact, have legs. (And if you don’t, own it!  There’s someone for everyone.)  The same goes for weight.  If there’s more of you to love – so be it.  A lot of dudes dig the zaftig gal.  And the ones who don’t, you don’t want to meet –  because they will be pissed that you aren’t the size of a thirteen-year-old girl.  (Even if he’s a bald dude who wore a hat in all of his own photos).  With profile pics, honesty is the best policy.

NOTE: I know it’s what’s in your heart and mind that matters.  Today’s culture, where photo-driven technology has made looks more valued than intellect, modern romance has been reduced to the superficial (at least at first).  Connection starts with the physical and one can only hope to find a man with the depth to hang around long enough for the physical to grow into something more.  Moms, raise your sons well, because your daughters are the yous of the future (aka dating existentialism).

FULL BODY SHOT NO-NO’S:

* You in a bikini, twenty years ago.

* You twenty pounds lighter, twenty years ago.

* You… twenty years ago.

* A full body shot of anyone who is NOT you right now.

 

3rd photo – Sporty shot:

Remember, these are men we’re dealing with.  They want to know you live an “active lifestyle,” you care about your personal appearance, and that you will somehow manage to never, ever age.

 

SPORTY SHOT NO-NO’S:

* You athletically eating a cheeseburger. (Doesn’t count!)

* You bench pressing 200 pounds. (He needs to think he can take you in a fight.)

* You zip-lining. (Nobody looks good zip-lining.)

* You in a football uniform, padded up. (You’re on the wrong site, sister.)

* You in world’s tiniest bikini, hand-standing on the beach, with your tits hanging

out. (You reap what you sew.)

 

4th photo – You have TWO choices:

  1. Intellectual shot:

You looking “intellectual”: reading a book, wearing glasses, playing the piano, contemplating the universe. If you are a teacher, a shot in front of your class; if you are an attorney, you in the law library; if you are a stripper, you in the law library.

AND/OR

  1. Homemaker shot:

You baking, planting, wearing an apron, painting a house, anything that says “Martha Stewart,” because every dude wants to bone Martha Stewart.

If possible, include A and B, as men ultimately don’t know what they want.

 

5th shot – Sexy shot:

I did not say “sex” shot.  Remember the song, “Man! I Feel Like A Woman?” (If you don’t, you are too young to read this and should pick up a copy of Teen Vogue).  You want to capture the essence of sex.  Let him know that underneath all your fabulousness, there is a real woman.  Tits and ass don’t equal sexy.  Tousled hair and a smile, LBD and heels, even barefoot in a man’s shirt – a woman owning her femininity is what grabs the good ones.  When you feel sexy, you look sexy, and men like sexy.

6th shot – Optional – for the moms:

If you are a single mom, you must mention this fact in your blurb.

You also have the option of putting a photo of your kids with you in your pics (do not put a photo of just your kids.  It is super creepy and just wrong). This is a personal choice.  If you are divorced, assume your ex will come across this photo – because I promise, he is Tindering as well.  Ask yourself if this will cause unneeded stress in your already strained relationship (even though he has a photo with your kids in his profile pics). If you decide to include a family photo, use it as your final shot.

You don’t want to give the impression you are pimping out your kids in order to get a date.  Personally, I did include a family shot for several reasons:  I think I am a good mom and am proud of this; my kids turned out great and I am proud of them; and the photo shows we love each other.  Most importantly, the shot was taken in Southern France, so if a dude recognizes we are on the beach in Nice he gets bonus points!

MISCELLANEOUS:

– Don’t use photos without you in them. (We’ve all seen sunsets and puppies.)

– More than six shots make you a narcissist.

– If the photo is blurry, you are hiding something.

– If the photo is over or under exposed, you are hiding something.

– Dudes don’t care about your baby picture (or any picture that isn’t you NOW).

 

STEP TWO – WRITE YOUR PROFILE BLURB

 

You have 200 characters to make a blazing first impression.  Something is better than nothing, but less is more.  Do not use deep quotes or song lyrics.  Do not be too specific.  Lead with what efficiently sums up the type of person you are and list an interest that gives a dude something to connect with. Then briefly state what you are looking for in a man.

 

CAUTION:

Do not leave your blurb blank.  In Tinder speak, blank blurbs mean you just want to get laid.

Do not say you are looking to “Netflix and chill.”  This is Tinder code for you just want to get laid. (Unless this is what you want, and if so, see WARNING: Stupid Girls.)

Consider the following two blurbs:

  1. “Fun-loving astrophysicist enjoys scuba diving, salsa dancing, and Fargo. Seeks honest, intelligent man for coffee, conversation, connection – and perhaps more, should the stars align (pun intended). No hook-ups please.”
  2. “I.T. professional, Stanford grad, sports fanatic; enjoys yoga, the outdoors and a good Hemmingway novel; vegetarian, but not overtly so; non-drinker, but able to limbo. Seeks fun and relaxed partner. Hoping for LTR but happy to date.  No hook-ups.

(NOTE: LTR is a Tinder acronym, aka “Tindernym,” for lifetime romance and/or long term relationship.)

 

These blurbs have it all: personality, profession, sport, hobbies, a dash of wit, and relationship goals.  These profiles will get hundreds of hits.

Now consider this blurb:

“Overwrought, unemployed single mom with deadbeat ex seeks guy to take her to dinner, so she can get blindingly drunk, forget her problems, and make out in the car.  No hook-ups.  Gluten free.”

Unfortunately, this profile will also get hundreds of hits.

Finally, there is this blurb:

“Happily married, gorgeous movie star with rockin’ bod, billion dollar company, perfect children, and the initials Jessica Alba seeks YOU! Middle aged man with a paunch and mid-life-crisis who refuses to grow up and give any decent woman a chance because he thinks he can get me.”

Still, the same amount of hits.  Let’s face it, dudes don’t read the blurbs. Or worse… they do and don’t care.

 

STEP THREE – DOWNLOAD THE TINDER APP

* Go to the App Store on you cell phone.

* Tap on the free Tinder application.

* Done!

STEP FOUR – MOVE IT ALL ONTO TINDER

* On your phone, open your Tinder app.

* Go to “settings” (the nuts and bolts icon).

* Once inside, tap on your photo over “view profile.”

(This will show you what your Tinder profile looks like.)

* Tap “Edit Info.”

* Pull photos from Facebook and arrange them as desired.  Insert your “blurb.”

* Once completed, tap out to the main menu and go to, “Discovery Settings.”

* Select the parameters of your potential mate.

* Tap out and tap on the flame.

YOU ARE READY TO SWIPE. GET BUSY!!!

 

If you would like to read more of P.Charlotte’s musings, you can find her here:

pcharlottelindsay.com

Also be sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook at pcharlottelinsday.

 

My Stretch Year

November is my birthday month, and as I come close to turning another year older, I feel like it’s a good time to reflect on the past year.

Have you ever had a period of time in your life where you tried different things that just didn’t work out? I have and as I look back on 2017, it feels like the whole year has been that way and it’s been a real struggle for me.

Earlier this year, I was feeling extremely anxious with the thought that something needed to change in my life but I wasn’t sure what that was – was it my personal life or my job or something else? So, after 2 ½ years of being divorced, I decided to join the online dating journey, even though I had many reservations about it. I also decided to see if it meant making a change with my job. Around the same time this anxiety started, a couple of jobs in the communications field opened up in the local area and friends at those companies reached out to me. If you know me well, you know I’m a type A personality and like to be in control of things. But, I decided to try something new and take an alternative approach; I was just going to see what happened in both scenarios and live by the mantra, “Whatever is meant to be, will be.”

On the job front, I went through multiple rounds of interviews for two different jobs, but at the end of the day, neither one of the jobs panned out. Although it was somewhat disappointing, I reminded myself that maybe they weren’t the right fit for me. Honestly, I love my job and the people I work with; if I got an offer for a new job, it would have to be a great one and closer to home for me to even consider leaving my current role.

On the dating side, I joined a few different dating sites and it was definitely interesting. I was married for almost 18 years and I met my ex-husband when I was a junior in high school, so I didn’t date at all growing up and obviously, the dating world has changed a lot since that time. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into and I was extremely nervous. I may have to cover this in another post, but at a high level, I came across guys who told me all these sweet nothings from the minute we started chatting and one man who told me he loved me after a week. I also came across a few guys who were trying to scam me for money and one amazing man whose wife left him but later decided to come back and try to reconcile; he did what any loyal husband would do and exactly what I would expect him to do – he went back with his family and is trying to work things out with his wife. Needless to say, after the last guy I talked to for over a month ended up trying to scam me for money, I decided that I needed a break from the emotional toll and blow to my self-esteem that online dating was taking on me and quit all the dating sites.

When I look back over this year, I can’t say it’s been a bad year because it hasn’t really, but I can say it’s been a challenging year. I feel like many of the things I have tried haven’t really worked out, but I have to give myself credit for the fact that after each disappointment, I kept going and tried again and remained hopeful that something would work out in the end.

So, instead of looking at the year in a negative light, I’m calling this past year my “stretch year”. I may not have materially accomplished a lot over the year, but I have done a lot of growing. Every experience we have teaches us a lesson in life and I have to keep remembering that.

In the midst of all of these lessons, I still managed to get my Zumba certification, start a blog, complete a large extra project at work on top of my day job and keep my kids thriving (for the most part). So, all is not lost. The job search helped me to use my interview skills again and network with some new people and the online dating journey gave me some great stories to tell and I did meet one great guy out of it, even if he may be unavailable. At least I have a better idea of what I want and don’t want and during all of it, I am very aware that I put my whole self out there and didn’t try to play any games or be something I’m not.

So, at the end of the day, I guess you can still call that progress, right?

~Laxmi~

You can follow Laxmi at her blog, https://onedesigirlsjourney.wordpress.com/.