Do you remember that made-for-TV movie in the mid-80s called “The Deliberate Stranger” about Ted Bundy? Mark Harmon played Bundy, and he scared the living crap out of me. He was even nominated for a Golden Globe best actor award for that performance – as TED BUNDY. Honestly, after seeing that movie, I had a hard time picturing Mark Harmon as anything other than a woman-strangling serial killer/rapist. Poor guy. I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice man.

I was talking to a male friend recently about the Ted Bundy factor in a woman’s dating life. The ole bait and switch. It was a concept that was somewhat foreign to him as a man. But we women have to be super careful about the men we meet, especially with the popularity of online dating these days. I realized I’ve probably met some men from online a little too soon.

But what is too soon? It’s different for everyone. And you kind of have to trust your gut. But there are some general guidelines surrounding safety. Some of these might be completely obvious, but we tend to forget when the attraction hormones take over and turn what is normally a functioning brain into a ball of misfiring horny synapses:

1. Talk to him on the phone first. No, like actually TALK to him. Texting doesn’t count, as much as you want it to. Added bonus is you get to see if you can actually hold a conversation before the humiliation of sitting across a table from a potential dud. This isn’t fool-proof for weeding out a true psycho, but it might help. (An aside: One time I chatted with a potential suitor on the phone, and he was reeeeallly weird. I later told him I changed my mind about meeting. He kept calling me over and over, with me sending him to voicemail until he finally gave up. Glad I got out of that one.)

2. Tell a friend details about your upcoming date. That means details about the man you’re about to meet and the time and location of the date. That way, you at least have a starting point.

3. Always meet in a public place on a first date. I would do this for the first few dates, actually. It takes awhile to really get to know someone — and, of course, it’s always a risk, because you never know what might be lurking under the surface for years and years. But that doesn’t mean we should sit it out!

4. Google him. OK, I always kind of thought this to be overly paranoid, but what the heck? You may not be able to discern if he has victims tied up in his basement, but you could at least maybe find out if he’s married and has five kids.

Heck, even getting to know a man you met at a bar a bit more before a first real date isn’t gonna hurt. Well, perhaps in the “darn, I thought he was a nice guy” way, but at least you avoid getting strangled. Getting strangled on a first date would suck a lot.

So, the chances of actually meeting a serial killer on your dating adventures is like a million to one. I don’t mean to scare anyone. But a few simple preparations can help you dodge some potential bullets. So, go forth and Google, ladies. Google like you mean it.


I’m in a right hurry, so a little inappropriate joke that I made up  for today, but I think you guys can handle it. If not, you probably accidentally found this on your way to a “Celibacy is close to Godliness” kind of site. OK, here we go:

Sex with a ninja — what a great work out! Unfortunately, I never know when he’s coming.

Hardy har har! Yes? No? OK, I’m not a comedian. But I do promise to have a sexy, dating-related post next time! 😉


First off, I must apologize for my bad administrative management here — WordPress isn’t the most intuitive, and I’m having problems responding to comments with this account. If you left a comment and I haven’t approved it/responded to it, I greatly apologize! I’m working on moving this blog to my own space… more soon!

Until then, this “In the Trenches” segment will discuss real dating stories from real people — namely my experiences, my friends’, or my clients’. Names will be changed to protect the innocent — except when it’s my own. I’m no innocent. 😉

ImageA man I’m dating, “Bob”, lamented to me a couple weeks ago about a woman he met before me with which he had a great first date but it quickly went awry. She invited him to her place to play some sort of board game — yes, we see where this is going! However, other than the board game, no great moves were made, so he was beginning to think he was the victim of some mixed signals…. until just about the time he had to leave and she invited him to her bedroom. He had to get up early for work the next morning, but being a typical red-blooded American male, um, he obliged. They had a great night together.

And then she disappeared.

I wondered if something had happened to her, but he said he’d seen her online quite a bit on one of the popular dating sites.

Now, at this point, if it were me, I would have just let it go after not getting a response the first time. This is where I think Bob took the more difficult path. He followed up with a message to the effect of: “Did I offend you? Was my dick too weird? I’m not sure why you didn’t get back to me.” He said he just wished she would have said SOMETHING, even if it was, “oh yeah, I just used you for sex.”

Eeek! I cringed. My darlings, no matter what, protect your pride and never appear needy and pushy. Sometimes we just have to suck it up and find our own closure. How do we do this? By focusing on ourselves and our needs. Do you really want to give this one-night-stand power over your emotions? So not worth it. Learn from it. Relish the good moments. Then change your thought patterns, and go do something you love. There are so many other wonderful people out there for you!

On the other side of the coin: admittedly, what she did was crappy. What’s so difficult about being honest? Technology today — for all its benefits in bringing people together — can make us truly lazy. And even cruel. At the end of the day, we’re all human. Can we please just treat each other as such? The truth shall set you free.

dating meme for blog post

I was perusing my Facebook news feed the other day and stumbled upon this gem. So many “gems” on Facebook! Once I got over my initial irritation at such a stupid generalization (and the horrible grammar), I felt the bitterness radiating off this thing like the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, leaving poor, wittow “nice guys” facing barren towns and throat cancer in its wake.

Dear Men of the World, whom I love but sometimes totally stick in my craw:

Seriously, guys, can we please drop this? Here’s a little tough love for you: the “Nice Guy Curse” is a myth. But you’re going about this thing the wrong way. It’s not about you losing out to the “dicks” in life. It’s that you’ve allowed this myth to crush you into a mere shell of what you could be. You accept this to be true — that women want to be treated like shit — and you won’t let it go.


Want to know what it’s really about for women? Confidence. And if you keep hanging onto the “Nice Guy Curse” myth, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. A Catch 22, my friend. Yeah, I’m mixing metaphors: IT’S THAT SERIOUS.

Rather than hanging on to the myth, work on owning your stuff and being comfortable in your own skin. Focus on your interests, your hobbies, your fantastic-ness. “To thine own self be true,” said Mr. Shakespeare. The more you know yourself and identify your own needs (and I mean beyond sex), the more confident and happy you will appear, and the more women you will attract. Even if you think it, it’s going to come across in your body language. So, stop it. Stop it right now.

Are you willing to choose something different for yourself? This one’s on you.

Apologies to Dickens.

But it feels right. These days, I don’t make dating the scary, life-consuming chore it used to be. I’ve come to a point in my almost-40 years in which I’ve finally made myself a priority and have lightened up on the whole idea of meeting a “soul mate.”  So, even if it’s the worst of dates, I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything. There’s always something you can learn from these experiences, even if it’s to not take everything so damned seriously. And this applies whether you’re like me and not looking for The One or if you’re ready to throw the bouquet/garter at your beautiful, perfect wedding.

In fact, simplifying your expectations on a first (or even second, third, and fourth) date is the key to putting the fun back into dating. It really is. Think about it: if you constantly have a serious end-goal in mind, you will most likely be disappointed. So, right here, right now, start managing your expectations. Zero in on one. And I mean a simple one. Here are some examples:

  • Make a new friend.
  • Practice my eye contact.
  • Work on not saying “um” or “like” after every word.
  • Enjoy the movie/dinner/alligator wrestling/whatever the date entails

Or, if you’re my girlfriends and me who made a fun little pact at the beginning of 2013 when we jumped on the dating sites:  get a free meal. Sure, it’s a little sexist — and I mean, who knows who pays the bill these days (we’re in the Wild West era of paying-the-bill, people!) — but it’s a low expectation we could have fun with.

What will yours be tonight?