Adventures in Mid-Life Dating, Part 3: Pasta Projectiles Are Not A Dating Strategy
I don’t have time for men who still do everything their penis tells them to do.
A recent chat exchange happened with your typical lazyboy on Spinal Tap, my pseudonymous online dating service. Of course he didn’t fill out his profile, and naturally he didn’t read mine, or he would have known I’m a lost cause (see: No profile).
So what do I know about him? He’s 36 and he cruises Spinal Tap making decisions about who to message based solely on pictures.
His penis is still calling the shots for him. It’s the Little Sergeant issuing orders -- “That one. She’s attractive,” to the obedient jarhead.
I’m sorry, but if you’re over thirty you’re too old to be second-in-command to a total dick! (Sorry, had to say it) :)
Sometimes I don’t ignore the lazyboys. Sometimes when a no-profile guy messages me I take the opportunity to do a little research and/or educate him, whether he wants it or not.
Maybe this lazyboy will consider my words about his profile and maybe he won’t or maybe, as we like to say in sales and marketing, he’ll have to hear the message seven times before he gets a clue. Or never.
Too many people are still throwing spaghetti at the wall. Especially men, who too often have zero qualifications for a woman beyond, “Would I f**k her or not? Y/N”.
If you don’t let your crotch make all your decisions for you (and some women do this too), I believe your dating experiences will grow less painful. As the old ‘70s song goes, “Good-lookin’ guys come a dime a dozen, try to find you one who’s gonna give you true lovin’!"
A dating strategy for everyone
There are a lot of fish in the sea, and many of them are not worth catching. (I’m talking to you too, guys! I’ve heard the stories about the Crazygirls.) After nearly 25 years now of the availability of online romance, starting with the early pre-Internet days of BBS’s, we all need a more effective plan.
In sales, we qualify new leads with BANT – Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline. Do you have budget for my product or service? Do you have the authority to make a decision? Do you have a real need? And do you have a specific timeline?
A sales manager will rate the quality of your leads by determining how many of these points are met, and in what combination. Authority, Need and Timeline are useless without Budget. Someone who lacks Authority is still a good lead if the other three points are met – you just need to engage at some point with the decision-maker. Budget and Need are good, and if the need is strong enough there will be a Timeline (especially if a legal/regulatory deadline must be met.)
In dating, one needs to figure out the truly important deal-maker or -killers. This should be a short list of 3-5 points in my opinion. This is not the long list of requirements we think we must have and the sometimes longer list of things we think we can’t tolerate (often based on very specific traits of past individuals). In place of BANT, for myself I offer RIBS:
- Relationship – Genuine desire for a long-term one.
- Inner life, emotional intelligence, self-awareness
- Brains – He must be intelligent and possess common sense
- Sense of humour – Because he’s gonna need it with me!
The most important, most critical point for me is I – Inner life, self-awareness, emotional intelligence. Lacking that point alone is a major disqualification. If I don’t see some sign of self-awareness in a profile, he’s not going to get the time of day from me unless I feel moved to educate him some how. Or chat for a few minutes to educate myself.
It’s the most difficult of the four points for many men. Some possess the other three points without much effort, but men’s traditional unwillingness to deal with emotions or self-analysis eliminates a good chunk of them. But not all. When I go fishing I usually find A Few With A Clue.
I have a reminder in case I forget.
They’re not the only four deal-killers for me, but they’re the most important, the ones I use to eliminate the emotionally avoidant and clueless. And there are a LOT of men, particularly middle-aged, who are exactly that. I’ve read plenty of articles now about how they find themselves divorced later in life, have no idea what went wrong, and, most critically, will never ask themselves what they contributed, along with their ex-wives, to marital failure.
This is why it’s so important to screen. So that you don’t get some nice but clueless guy like The Toothpicker who wants to pick up where he left off and treats you on an initial meeting like he’s been married to you for thirty years.
I don’t care how good-looking, well-off, funny, intelligent, and desirous of a true long-term relationship a man is, if he’s emotionally clueless someone else can have him. Maybe that gal from my research a few weeks ago whose picture showed her in skimpy tight exercise garb and an equally skimpy profile. I hope her marketing message is aligned with her objectives, thinks my Inner Salescritter. A lot of women are looking for men who are emotionally supportive and don’t realize they’re swimming in an ocean of emotional zombies.
It gets better, I promise
Once you’ve set down your 3-5 sticking points, you qualify, qualify, qualify and, contrary to the advice of your Nonna, get more picky rather than less.
No date will be a waste of time if you learn something important from it. Just remember: Being more focused and targeted doesn’t mean you’ll find Mr./Ms. Right in a few weeks.
Like this guy I reached out to last week. He’s bald and slightly above average-looking, not someone who’d turn your head on the street, but his profile was well-written, content-rich and he was a bit of a geek like me. So I messaged him. Haven’t heard from him, but that’s okay. Not being into me is a deal-breaker, n’est-çe pas? Just not worth making an Initial Qualification Point because you don't know until you reach out. Not worth agonizing over why. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s him. Maybe he doesn’t know. Who cares?
I live in the fourth-largest city in North America by population, so there are always more fish in the sea, and I believe that by adapting my lifelong professional sales methodology to my dating strategy, I stand a much better chance of defying the odds and finding a really great partner even in middle-age.
Recently I met up with The Bay Streeter. (Bay Street is the Wall Street of Toronto, in the heart of the Financial District.) It turns out he wasn’t actually a Bay Streeter, but I call him that because he was in finance and dressed better than most men on Spinal Tap. He was young, good-looking, and when I tried to put him off in messaging and mentioned The Toothpicker, he responded that I needed to be taken out for a glass of wine and civilized conversation.
I put him off. He stated on his profile that he wanted children, and I said honey, that ship has long since saaaaaaailed for me, and he said oh he didn’t really mean that, kids weren’t that important to him, and I said oh, you men! You’ll say whatever it takes to get what you want! And he pursued it a bit more and over that weekend I grew more and more curious about what an actual date with a civilized man over a glass of wine might actually be like. I knew I’d been on them before but it had happened so long ago I couldn’t quite remember what they were like. That's soooo 20th-century!
So on a grey Saturday I schlepped downtown to meet The Bay Streeter at a nice slightly upscale restaurant with a classy lounge. I had a nice time. He was good-looking, fun and had a sense of humour. Even though he was really too young, I would have met up with him again, but he wasn’t interested. I was a little disappointed, but also reminded myself that I did this out of curiosity because I figured I was entitled to a civilized date after years of numbnuts.
And he delivered. Nothing more, nothing less.
The big take-away for me is that I could actually be attracted to someone I barely knew. That is huge. I’d begun to think there was something really wrong with me because I wasn’t much attracted to men much anymore.
And oh yeah, that there is such a thing as the Good Old Days when some men M.A.F.E. (Make A F’n Effort, if you missed my initial post on the subject).
This despite living in Toronto which is famously one of the most singles-challenged cities in North America, even for younger women. The men here are largely terrified of women. I’m pretty sure I’ve been out with a few virgins or near-virgins. (No, I haven’t deflowered any. I’m pretty sure.)
I’m supposed to meet up with another one this week. (A guy, not a virgin. At least I hope not!) I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen because first he had to put me off due to illness, and then I had to put him off due to Thanksgiving in the Ignited States. But, I messaged him last night and since I last talked to him, he’s started a new job a ten minute walk from me and still wants to meet up.
I call him The Writer. Stay tuned.
(Didja miss the first three installments? And do you wonder why the first one isn’t Part 1? It’s because I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a series yet. Anyhoo get caught up here):
Nicole Chardenet is a freelance writer and software schlepper who expects it will take many months, maybe years to find the right person and also that he probably won’t be Canadian-born. But she could be wrong. It’s been known to happen. She never knows. He could turn out to be a mutant Canadian with testicles and stuff. She implements her four-point RIBS dating strategy from her Den O’ Iniquity in Toronto, which may or may not be the Land o’ Virgins. Toronto, that is, not her apartment.