Tag Archives: dating men

How to Enjoy the Super Bowl

If you’re not a football fan, but your date is, the first Sunday in February can be a dividing day. But it could be uniting if you knew how to enjoy a good game.

The last time the Giants killed the Patriots in 2008 during Super Bowl XLII (42), fans everywhere were on fire. New England and New York already have a legendary rivalry with the help of baseball great, Babe Ruth, who left the Red Sox for the Yankees helping both teams get to the World Series.

Suspense is in the air

This Sunday, the Patriots will be on the field with all their strength to win back from the Giants the title of Super Bowl champions. The competition will be fierce, and it will be worth watching.

How to enjoy football

Here are some ideas of what you might think about football and an alternate way of seeing the game.

  • There are a bunch of bodies in tights and armor running around a field, occasionally tossing the ball.
    • Pay closer attention and you might find that football is not just what you see. In the minds of the players, there is strategy, team work, challenge, foresight, and a lot of quick decisions. Get to know some of the rules and the running can get exciting.
  • The game seems slow.
    • The pauses between plays allow the teams to talk strategy, exchange players, and to reset at the line of scrimmage, which is the line where the ball starts at each play, or where it stops at the end of plays. Pauses also allow referees to review plays and make judgments.
    • Because so much strategy is involved in moving 11 teammates and a ball down the field, it takes a lot of thinking on the coaches’ and quarterbacks’ part. Watch the Giants’ Eli Manning and the Patriots’ Tom Brady closely. You will see in their body language how many decisions they have to make.
  • What’s a down?
    • Each down is basically a chance to move the ball 10 yards. When a team has the ball, its players are in offense and they get 4 chances, or 4 downs. Each time they are able to get the ball past 10 yards, they return to first down and again get 4 chances to move the ball another 10 yards.
    • Sometimes when a team is close to the opponent’s end zone, the players opt to kick the ball aimed at the field goal to gain 3 points if getting a touchdown does not seem feasible.
    • After 4 downs, if the offensive team is unable to gain 10 yards, the ball is turned over to the other team.
  • There’s a lot of pushing.
    • The quarterback has a huge responsibility. He decides the plays and, as the alpha dog, directs the team on how to employ their strategy. (See why I like football? For more on the alpha dog, visit my book’s website.) All the pushing happens so that the quarterback can complete the play either by passing the ball to his teammate or running the ball toward goal. But there are rules to passing. He can only pass the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
    • Sometimes the quarterback passes the ball to the runningback, who may also pass the ball or run with it. Whoever gets the ball behind the line of scrimmage, the passing rule still applies.
    • Some teams have great defense. The Patriots this season had become famous for their defensive skills, or lack thereof. But their coach, Bill Belichick, has had something up his sleeve as their defense improved during playoffs. You can see great defense work when there’s a lot of pushing and tackling on the field.
  • What’s with the waiting?
    • Sometimes plays are disputed and referees need to discuss between themselves whether a play is valid. Other times coaches want to communicate with the team before their opponent makes a great play and calls a timeout. Each team gets 3 timeouts per half. Sometimes a penalty is called, or a flag is thrown, and play is stopped.
  • The game is soooo long.
    • The clock runs only when the ball is in play. If the ball is fumbled, a pass is incomplete, a penalty is called, or a runner with the ball goes out of bounds, play is stopped. The clock runs again when an official sets the ball down for the next play.

For more on football, visit NFL.com’s beginner’s guide to football.

Enjoy the game and your date!

P.S. If the date is in someone’s home, impress your companion by bringing beer or food, like wings, chili, nachos, or a savory salad if he or she is health-conscious.

A Year of Hope – Part 3

(Continued from Part 2.)

For an entire week I neglected my motorcycle. The spark plugs are hard to get to, much like those incognito feelings that haunt us and make us feel lost. It’s because of these plugs my bike wouldn’t start.

I waited to see what James would do. How was his ignition working? Would his motor turn to put his words into motion?

We are ridiculously flawed. It doesn’t matter how together we look on the outside. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Our delectable second date at Blue Ribbon Brooklyn was followed by dinner the next night in the same neighborhood at a popular Italian place called Al di La.

Before we went in, James left me at Al di La’s wine bar while he jogged down the street to give an extra $10 to our waiter from the night before. Talk about extra mile.

He returned from his stalwart act.

“Was he there?” I asked.

“He was. He was surprised.”

Naturally. At this point something happened to my heart like a scab had been picked from it, loosening the skin underneath.

Our seating arrangement was unlike the first two dates where we sat adjacent to one another. By this time, however, it didn’t matter how we sat. We were so comfortable with each other that a little food stuck mid-bite was no embarrassment.

He reached his hand midway across the table where mine came to meet his.

“When can you fly out? Are you ready?” he asked.

“Friday, possibly Thursday. My bag is already packed.”

It wasn’t.

Our dinner ended on glasses of tawny port and discourse on the Republican primary.

We drove home.

“Sushi tomorrow?” He wanted to see me as much as possible before leaving town.

I wanted to trust James with all my heart. But I couldn’t. There were still old heart wounds with scabs still on them. Every invitation brought up in me a fear that he would not follow through.

But the next day he surprised me again showing up in the middle of the day while I worked from home. I had become sick with a cold. He didn’t seem to care, except that he didn’t kiss me that day. Then in the evening, he came over again and picked up take out from a nearby sushi restaurant. Four visits in three days.

He was a knight. Or he was over-infatuated.

 

The following weekend I got my bike running. Those damned spark plugs. To get to them, the fuel lines and gauge get disconnected, the seat and tank removed, and plugs unscrewed. Sure enough, the middle two spark plugs were fouled with wet, black oil. The valve seals were leaking oil into the middle two cylinders.

Troubleshooting an engine that doesn’t start requires a step-by-step analysis. Is the battery charged? Is there fuel in the tank? Does the starter turn? Are there sparks? The Saturday before, my bike reached the fourth question. The answer was no. This was unlike the new relationship on the horizon.

Every day we didn’t see each other, we texted, emailed, or called each other.

I wondered during his travels if he drank a lot. What kind of people he met. If women tried to pick him up. If he tried to pick up women. They were questions that arise with new relationships that are only answered by time, situations, and trust.

One week after our second date, he calls. “What do you think of Mendocino?”

“Sounds great.” I had never been there.

“Will you check out what’s going on there?”

Two hours researching built excitement about ocean cave kayaking, horseback riding on a 10-mile deserted beach, wine tastings, and Mendocino’s crab and wine event. Airbnb advertised the Elk Inn, a perfect oceanside B&B and spa not found on Expedia. I forgot about all the work I had to do that week.

Expectations are what you have when someone else convinces you to plan time out of your busy life.

The next morning he calls. “Are you ready? When can you fly out?”

“Friday. Maybe Thursday. I have to find a dog sitter.”

“How about if we go someplace warmer?”

What if this all fell through? What if I packed my bag, sent the dog to the sitter, and had no ticket?

Tuesday I pull my carry-on down from its storage place and speak to a potential dog sitter. In the evening, still no ticket.

Wednesday we meet the new sitter. Arrangements are set. James texts, “Can you leave Thursday?”

“Yes.” I had moved my schedule around. Wait, Thursday is tomorrow.

With all the effort to plan a trip with a guy I just met, the last thing I would allow is to be left with a packed bag and nowhere to go.

Before riding a motorcycle, I did other dangerous activities like skydiving and skiing double diamond trails. In spite of plenty of invitations, I hadn’t skied in over 20 years. So, I made it my plan B. It was too cold to ride a motorcycle, and the valve seals were leaking.

When you ride a motorcycle, it’s important to have emergency phone numbers and a tool kit at all times. Motorcycle riders are infamously known as organ donors, and their bikes are infamously known to crash or break down. Perhaps this was experience enough to be prepared at all costs.

Wednesday evening arrives. Still no ticket.

Thursday morning the phone rings. It’s him.

 

Bag packed, I looked back into my apartment and bid farewell to the dirty dishes and piles of paperwork.

On Friday, I arrived at my destination, took care of business, and settled down to watch smiling faces as they laughed with the delight of their day off.

The chairlift carried me into a snow-blurred sky.

I thought about James’ phone call. I had answered. He hung up.

A Year of Hope – Part 2

(Continued from Part 1.)

Mr. Flawless opened the passenger door of his seasoned German convertible coupe. It impressed me that he drove this little vehicle instead of some gas guzzling monster of conspicuous luxury. He dressed casually, again in cashmere but this time no collared shirt. Remembering our first date’s wardrobe mismatch, I had dressed up and donned a silver mink stole my mother bought at a yard sale and a black silk John Varvatos dress from a secondhand shop. He liked it.

We headed toward the middle of Brooklyn reaching a neighborhood densely populated with occupied storefronts, more than half of which were gated shut for the weekend. Neither of us knew where to go.

While I looked for restaurants on Yelp with a rating of at least 4 stars, he checked Zagat’s guide and came across an establishment saying, “Oh, this one has a 27.” I put my phone away. Even with 4 stars, places reviewed on Yelp can still be hit or miss depending on who you want to please. Settling on this dimly lit enclave in the middle of Park Slope, we parked and headed inside.

Blue Ribbon looked like a Saturday night. Fitting for a New Year’s Day evening. In spite of the crowd, James secured a table in a cozy corner with a long view of the rest of the dining room. One thing is certain. We both enjoy the energy of a crowded room.

 

The day before, my motorcycle wouldn’t start. Missing the beautiful unusually warm weekend before, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to take a winter ride. Subways on the weekend are to be avoided. Taxi cabs on New Year’s Eve few. Instead my motorless bicycle got me around town. Perhaps the bicycle was a better ride after all, since riding a motorcycle requires 100% attention on the road.

On a bicycle, it’s okay for your mind to wander while riding on paths with no cars. It’s a great way to reflect, think about life, maybe even grow a little wiser.

I thought about James and his confession. According to some psychologists, about two out of 5 men have a tendency to get emotional about romance. Two out of 5 women are less emotional. I’m one of those two. Was I insensitive to ignore “I thought about you all day”? I stopped my bike and texted back. “I thought about you too.” A day later isn’t too late. Or is it?

The rest of my ride that night consisted of thinking about the guy at the New Year’s Eve dinner who asked me out, wondering why my motorcycle wouldn’t start, avoiding stumbling drunks, and feeling happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I can do the quirky silly things I like whenever I want.

Coming across an abandoned and stripped bicycle frame on the sidewalk, I wondered if James would have fun re-purposing forgotten objects with me. This thought made me feel lonely. I tried not to hope too much.


“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

-Proverbs 13:12, English Standard Version

At the table, James and I talked and laughed through three courses of dishes paired with a full-bodied Super Tuscan. We had Malpec oysters and Cherrystone clams, roasted endive salad, and lamb shank with sautéed white beans. The wine worked well with all three plates.

Doubts I had about the potential of our relationship melted with every smile and touch. Though not completely.

We got so comfortable in our corner that our legs intertwined under the table.

We spent the rest of the evening at my place, impassioned.

Completely at ease with our spent bodies, we slumped back on the couch. “I want to go someplace warm next weekend. Will you come?” He was leaving for the west coast later that week he said for business. He would be gone for two weeks.

I looked at him wondering how long his infatuation would last. “Sure.” The thought of going someplace warm while New York temperatures dropped below freezing was enough of a lure to not care what happened to our potential.

This wasn’t the first time he mentioned taking me away. During the first date, he alluded to it telling me about his racked up frequent flier miles and “if things work out…”

Whether or not things work out, I try not to hope. Besides, I don’t know what expectations are.

To Be Continued.

A Year of Hope

My last boyfriend and I split up during the holidays of 2010. This past holiday season – and I’m not the only one who felt this – didn’t feel like the holidays at all. I bought 3 gifts for my 3 best girlfriends. No boyfriend, no gifts for family, not even for my dog.

I rode my bicycle after a party in the freezing air on Christmas early morning across the Brooklyn Bridge. There were a handful of pedestrians on the bridge at 3 a.m. and no other bicycles. No tourists! I stopped and took pictures of I-don’t-even-remember, but I do remember feeling happy. I’m single, 40, and happy.

A week later, similar circumstance. New Year’s early morning, just before 3. Several more walkers – or should I say, stumblers – and no other bicycles. One thing was different. I had met someone.

Actually, we met the Friday before Christmas at a party in the home of a warmly hospitable host. Only two degrees of separation. He and I talked about exploring areas of the city, namely Brooklyn, my home. I wasn’t even interested in him during that conversation. But he wanted me to show him Brooklyn, so I decided I would introduce him to my friends’ restaurant. How could I not bring them new business?

I forgot about him by the next day, Christmas Eve.

A few days later, he texted. Darn it, what was his name? Mike? He lol’ed and corrected me in jest. All I could remember was his perfectly formed hair, flawless skin, and clean manicure. Totally not my type. Not for a girl with grease under her fingernails, a six-month old haircut, and unkempt cuticles, not to mention skin blemishes. Still, business for my friends.

When our “date” was about to begin, I hadn’t changed my clothes from work. In fact, I got off my bicycle after a 5-mile commute, and greeted him with a “Hey”. My makeup had not been touched up. My hair was windblown. My clothes were damp with sweat. He looked like he just stepped out of a limo at a Newport, RI mansion. What did he see in me?

First, a drink at a local hangout. Superfine is run by the coolest women who keep the 20th century alive with weekend DJs, bluegrass bands, and occasional burlesque extravaganzas. The food is locally-sourced, except for the California citrus and Hatch, New Mexico green chilies. I ordered a margarita. Better to bear with this man wearing cashmere and an oxford shirt. Certainly is not the guitar slinger nor the geek I usually date.

The drink was followed by dinner at my friends’ place, AlMar, at the bar. Surprisingly, he was okay with sitting at the bar. Personally, it’s a preference when the only seating options are across from each other. Why, when the food is to be savored and enjoyed, should one be distracted by a dining partner’s presence when familiarity and comfort is at a minimum? How self-conscious can a person get with a new date at dinner? No wonder so many people prefer just drinks for a first date. But this wasn’t a date with a prospect in my eyes. Dinner was devoured.

The third place we went to, Jack the Horse Tavern, in my opinion has the best traditionally-mixed cocktails in Brooklyn. By this point, after he disdainfully refused my inquisitive financial contribution, it was with pleasure to bring him here. Not because he was paying, but because showing him great places was the least I could do to as a courtesy.

Fortunately, on this last Thursday of 2011, he surprised me once again.

Granted, by this time we each had had a cocktail and a half bottle of wine. In spite of the reduced judgment ability, his conversation locked my attention to the point where words flowed from my mouth without the need to edit. I can’t remember the last time I sat with someone with this conversation ease. We talked about our post-9-11 experiences, our families’ highlights (or dysfunctions), travel destinations, and things our fanciful drinks reminded us of. The more we talked, the easier it became to see our similarities and reconcile our differences.

He walked me home. I didn’t need to be drunk to kiss him.

The next day he sent a text. “Last night exceeded my expectations.” Expectations? What are those? I tried not to think about a possible future with this atypical date. It’s pretty easy to do that when you can think of all the reasons why it would not work out.

Early New Year’s morning I rode my bike with hope. The memory of this man would not go away. If anything, he gave me a glimpse into a different life. Fifteen hours later, I answered the phone to, “When should I pick you up?”

To Be Continued.

A Good Man is Not That Hard to Find

Reposted from GoodMenBook.org (November 18, 2009)

My mother used to pressure me to settle down. “Get married,” she pestered. In spite of this being the modern world and all, it’s still not as easy for a woman to get a husband as it is for a man to get a wife. And I don’t mean finding the “right” spouse. I mean getting someone to say “I do” before witnesses. Let’s face it, women, in general, want to get married before men do.

Granted, people overall take more precautions today before jumping over the broomstick than they did thirty or forty years ago. Just look at the median ages of first-time wedders. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1971 (when I was born), the median ages of Americans marrying for the first time was twenty-three for men and twenty-one for women. Thirty years later–when Mom really started bugging me–the median ages were twenty-seven and twenty-five. I’m sure those ages would be even higher if not for the increasing number of women doing the proposing. Perhaps these women are tired of being kept up at night by their biological ticking.

A few years ago, my boyfriend of four years broke up with me. My thought was, “Cool. I’m glad I didn’t have to do it.” Don’t get me wrong. We had a great four years, and I was sad. But it was time to move on. He was and still is a good man. He just wasn’t for me. You see, I think a lot like a guy; I’ve tested in the top percentiles in subjects men tend to do better in, such as mechanical comprehension. I enjoy working on my Honda CL360 and watching the Giants kick the Patriots’ asses. But my boyfriend watched football only when the Super Bowl was on–and only when the Steelers were playing. Baseball? Forget it. He wouldn’t even watch the World Series.

At age 36, the age my mother gave birth to me, I decided it was time to consider what she wanted. So I dated–a lot. I had a date almost every week, sometimes two or three in a week. I don’t remember how I met most of those guys, never mind their names. After about six months of this, I started asking my dates, “Can I give you a suggestion?” Then I’d tell them what bugged me about going out with them. I did this as much to help them as to figure out exactly what I was looking for.

All these men were great guys. I saw something endearing in each one, even the guy who didn’t want to hear my suggestion–definitely can’t remember his name. But none of them lit my fire long enough to consider marriage. Relationship, yes. Marriage, no way.

Their grateful responses to my dating suggestions encouraged me to write a book that these great guys would want to read. I researched high and low for issues to write about. I Googled dozens of keywords and read articles six-links deep. In the process I came across a book by clinical psychologist Dr. Alex Avila, LoveTypes: Discover Your Romantic Style and Find Your Soul Mate.

In a nutshell, Dr. Avila says that each of us has one of 16 personality types based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that is romantically compatible with another particular personality type. One out of every 100 American women has my personality type. Go figure.

Six out of every 100 American men have the personality type that perfectly matches mine. So that means that six of the last 100 men I dated were my type, right? Not. A man with this personality type marries earlier, and he is compatible with other types besides mine, the types belonging to seventeen out of 100 women. The math = not good for me.

After I learned about the MBTI, how relationships work made more sense to me. It was as though scales had fallen off my eyes. I could see why that good man I was with for four years never rang marriage bells to my ears.

To test Dr. Avila’s theories, I decided to look for my perfect match. I found an abundance of my perfect match at my favorite hangout, the Soho Grand Hotel in New York, but all those men were married. Not so perfect, actually. Then I looked online.

I realized that it’s possible to determine a guy’s MBTI type by examining his online profile. Once in a while, I’d find someone, but he either never responded, was much younger than me, or he was married. Yes, married and dating online. At this point, I just wanted know if Dr. Avila is right. So I wrote to a guy who was married but separated. He wrote back. Twelve emails and two phone calls later, we met. It was eighteen months after breaking up with the Good Man.

The doctor is right. And not only is my now-boyfriend my perfect match, he is also a good man. His story is another blog.