Posts Tagged ‘dating past fifty’

That’s All She Wrote

February 5, 2017

Life is full of stories, and I’m a storyteller. Perhaps it comes from my Irish ancestry. Perhaps it comes from my delight in hearing my father’s stories on the rare occasions he could be nudged into telling them. Writing is in my blood, and storytelling tends to be the expression.

When I began posting about my dating experience, it was largely at the prompting of a friend who wanted to hear the stories of my travels with an open heart. I took up the challenge because there seemed to be so many misconceptions about what it means to be over the age of sixty, let alone over the age of sixty and dating. Not all of us have put ourselves out to pasture at that age. Many of us view life as an ongoing adventure that we don’t want to waste, and many of us still consider love and a sex life as part of that adventure.

So I began blogging about my dating experience. I did so more than two months into that experience and after having my first bruised heart under my belt. I have tried to be kind on the page to the men I’ve dated, but I have done that while also being honest about my experience and my feelings. I have sometimes been philosophical and sometimes been more frank about sensuality and sexuality than some readers might have preferred. Hopefully, I have done both with at least a bit of appreciation for the humor in being human.

When I began the blog, I did so knowing that it might scare of a few men. My attitude was that any man scared off by the blog probably did not have the maturity, open-mindedness, and self-confidence for me anyway. I am not a wallflower, nor am I very guarded. But I did not anticipate where the writing would take me, nor did I anticipate just how the writing would be taken by the men who read it. I also did not anticipate how many men would put effort into vetting potential dates.

I told men I dated about the blog at the first meeting. It seemed only fair. I also changed my profile, stripping out information that might identify me, to improve my chances of actually having that first date. I didn’t like doing that, but I began to understand that many–or even most–people are not as open as me. A little less information might be helpful.

Now, more than eight months into it, I have decided to cease blogging about my dating experience. A big part of that is the result of being weary of scaring men off. But it is more than that. When I did an internal scan for the energy around continuing to do this writing, I found that I could feel no energy around it. And for me, that says it all. If I experience an internal sense of energy around something, I know that it is the right thing for me to do. If what I feel instead is a kind of energy black hole, I know that it is not the right thing for me to do.

Will I give up the online dating process? No. Not at this point anyway. I’m just taking my experience of it off-line. And it is the experience that is primary.

Will I have something else to say on this blog? Probably. Eventually. Over the years, the subject matter about which I have written has changed depending on what is going on in my life and what I have the juice to write about. I have to say, though, I’ve had more fun writing about my dating experience than anything else I’ve written about in some time. To that extent, it has returned to me more than I have given it.

If you are single and dating, all the best to you. If you are over the age of fifty and using online dating as a vehicle for it, I bow to you. You have guts, trust, and at least some sense of romance in your makeup. I’m with you.

If you want an ear, you can e-mail me at or just comment on this post.

Thank you for following these posts.

Blowing kisses at you,



Copyright 2017 by Melanie Mulhall


Changing My Profile

January 24, 2017

I had four choices when it came to dealing with the problem of scaring off men: do nothing, be even more transparent in my profile than I already was, strip remaining identifying information out of my profile, stop writing about my dating experience in my blog, or, the most extreme choice, give up on online dating.

Albert Einstein’s admonition came to mind: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. I abandoned the notion of doing nothing.

Becoming even more transparent in my profile by fessing up to my blog was appealing because it fit with my commitment to directness, authenticity, and transparency. Before I began writing about my dating experience, I had joked that to write about it might weed out the boys from the men. It had probably done that, but it seemed to be scaring off otherwise perfectly good men too.

The third possibility was stripping identifying information from my profile. I had already made a change to my profile by changing my online moniker. It had been connected with my business name, thereby making it almost effortless to find me quickly. I gave myself a moniker that could not identify me. I had also stripped out some of the references to shamanism because it obfuscated things. The primary identifying words remaining in my profile were writer and editor. It seemed easy enough to eliminate those words, and I reminded myself that close female friends had been urging me to give less information about myself on my profile for some time.

The fourth possibility was to just stop writing about my dating experiences in my blog. Of course, the blog posts I’d already written could still be found unless I took more drastic action, but anyone finding the blog would at least be able to tell, from the date of the latest post about dating, that I had stopped writing about it. I wasn’t ready to give up blogging about dating.

The last possibility was to just abandon the online dating world altogether. It seemed a defeatist approach, but I did want to consider it. I was a member of two paid online dating services. I received endless views and contacts through one of them, but some of those views and contacts were from men out of state and few of the rest were from men I would choose to date. And when I did a search using geographical and age parameters, there was almost no one I found appealing. The other site had a much larger pool of possible partners, but I had less views and contacts from men on that site, and I had enough experience with my messages to men being ignored to tell me that even when I reached out, I wasn’t getting much response. Of course, I had to admit that the problem of my transparency might be impacting that. I wasn’t ready to give up on the idea of online dating, though I was ready to look at what other sites might be better for me when my paid memberships were up.

It seemed that the most sensible approach was to revise my profile, stripping out any identifying information. There were a couple of others things I could do too. When asked my name, I had been telling men that I reserve giving my name until I have a phone or face-to-face meeting with a man. Instead of saying that, I could just as easily give them my middle name. I couldn’t be easily identified from it, and it is a real part of my full name. The other thing I could do was to avoid giving out my cell phone number. A reverse search made me quickly identifiable from that number. I had attempted using a Google number at one point, but that hadn’t worked well. Just holding the phone number in reserve until a meeting seemed the best route. Alternatively, I could give my land line number because, thanks to a quirky issue with how it is listed, I was hard to track down from it. But I would need to screen a man before doing that.

I went to both online sites and not only stripped out identifying information, but also refined my profiles. Then I sat back to see what would happen.

Just changing a profile or adding photos tends to bump a profile up in the page listings on these sites, so I had to take that into account. And I had read the first part of the year always brought an upsurge in online dating activity, so I also had to take that into account. But I not only received a bit of a burst in views, I received new requests for back-and-forth communication and, ultimately, meetings.

One thing I hadn’t changed, though, was my commitment to being up front about my blog once I met a man. When I had done that in the past, few men seemed to be put off by it. Would that still be the case? Or would the sheer number of posts, coupled with the erotic quality of a few of them, scare off any man who left a first meeting with me and did a little blog reading?

There were many unknowns, and I was back to being a dating anthropologist.


Copyright 2017 by Melanie Mulhall

Scaring Off Men

January 17, 2017

There was no question in my mind that I was scaring off men with my blog. I could only guess that was the case with some, such as the architect. And I knew that I had nearly scared off Ned, which I would not have understood if he hadn’t been so open about it.

Thanks to another open (if not fearless) man, I knew I was scaring off others. The first message from him suggested that we meet. We traded a few messages and set a day and time for a drink at a local restaurant. He gave me his cell phone number; I gave him mine. Then, a couple of days later, he sent me a message canceling the rendezvous.

In a moment of curiosity coupled with the belief that I had nothing to lose, I sent a message saying, “What happened? Are you willing to share?”

His reply invoked Greener’s Law. He was referring to a quote the origins of which have been attributed to many but called Greener’s Law because William Greener had once been quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying, “Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.”

I had to give him credit for being succinct, and there was something downright funny about his communication. I sent another message explaining what I reveal about my blog to men who actually get to the point of meeting me: I don’t write about every man I date and don’t write about any man who doesn’t want to be written about. When I do write about someone, I change their name and identifying information. And the blog is not in real time. I told him I appreciated his position and wished him the best.

I expected to hear nothing more from him, but he replied saying that my profile, coupled with my first message to him and ninety seconds (presumably of online research), told him everything he needed to know the day after is first message to me. He said that my “tells” were right out there. He had not only read some of my blog posts (including some written about my husband’s journey toward death), he had looked up my book online. In fact, he referred to a section in chapter four of my book and commented that he thought the concept I was presenting was an important one. He was touched by some of my writing. And in his final message to me, he referred to me as a good and talented woman.

Yet, he had been scared off.

The reference to Greener’s Law suggested that he feared if we dated and I became annoyed with him, I might lambast him in my blog. But I suspected it was more than that. The man might not have wanted to know about any of my dating experiences before him, let alone those that involved erotic activity, and he might have been put off by the fact that the blog was publically accessible on the internet.

I hadn’t been immediately drawn to him by virtue of his appearance, but I had been drawn by his profile, and after trading messages with him, it was evident that he was both intelligent and inquisitive. I was sorry he’d been scared off.

When I shared the story with my friend Melisa Pearce over lunch, she thought that he might be a man worth going out with and advocated sending him a message saying that I wanted the chance to be scrutinized by him as thoroughly in person as I’d been scrutinized online. His last message to me had sounded pretty final, and I doubted such an appeal would move him off his position, but I had to admit that Melisa’s approach was a brilliant one. Not only was I intrigued by the man, I wanted a chance to probe him a bit about the impact of my online profile and my blog on the men who saw them.

I sent the message; I heard nothing back.

Another man thoroughly scared off.

How many other men had I scared off? And what, if anything, should I do about it?


Note: The name Melisa Pearce is real. She is a valued friend and the founder/owner of Touched by a Horse and creator of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method.


Copyright 2017 by Melanie Mulhall

The Carrie Bradshaw of Broomfield

January 10, 2017

More than once, my friend Melisa Pearce suggested that I had the Carrie Bradshaw problem: scaring off men with my writing. It prompted me to binge watch (over the course of a week or so) all six seasons of Sex and the City. I didn’t have cable when the show was airing, though I’d seen a number of episodes and later owned entire seasons on DVD. But I hadn’t seen all of the episodes, and it was time to do so.

I have referred to myself as a dating anthropologist, so when Carrie Bradshaw referred to herself using the same language in one of the earliest episodes, I knew the fictional character and I had at least something in common. That wasn’t the only thing. Carrie Bradshaw wrote a newspaper column about sex and dating, and some of those columns were compiled into a book. I’d never written a newspaper column, but I had written magazine columns over the years, though not about dating. Likewise, I’d written a book, but not one that had anything to do with dating, unless you used romancing the next company you want to work for as symbolic of romancing a man. I do, however, have a blog about dating. And I have been encouraged to turn it into a book.

Carrie had a tendency to pose questions about dating and life. Sometimes she did so in question format; at other times in statement format, often beginning with, “I couldn’t help but wonder . . .” I too have a tendency to pose questions about dating and life, though mine are usually rattling around in my head or posed over a glass of wine with a friend instead of ending up in my blog. I tend to write my blog as if I know what I’m talking about, though regular readers can easily see that I am often clueless. So was Carrie.

Granted, Carrie Bradshaw was a whole lot younger than me in that series. But I found it strangely surprising that dating and sex were not all that different for women in their thirties during the Carrie Bradshaw era than women in their sixties in the current era.

Carrie and I also have shoes in common. While not rich enough to own an estimated forty thousand dollars in shoes, as she guessed hers to be worth, and while owning not a single pair of Manolo Blahniks, I do have somewhere over ninety pairs of footwear, which sometimes prompts me to refer to myself as the Imelda Marcos of Broomfield, Colorado.

Apparently, I am also the Carrie Bradshaw of Broomfield, Colorado.

But in watching six seasons of episodes, I could find only two occurrences in which Carrie had scared off men with her writing. Carrie did scare off the politician with whom she had a few dates. But as far as I’m concerned, she was well shed of any man whose career was in politics. Carrie also scared off fellow writer Jack Berger, but not because she wrote about dating and sex. She scared him off because she was a more commercially successful writer than him, which is another problem altogether.

After watching all six seasons, I couldn’t help but wonder (using the Carrieism) how Carrie Bradshaw would fare in the blogging world. The woman had her photo on the side of a bus, accompanied by the statement that she knew about good sex, for god’s sake. If anything could scare off all the right men and attract all the players and perverts, one would think that would do the job. But it hadn’t. Was she charmed? Was I doomed? Had the dating climate changed in the years since the series aired? Was the fact that men these days could find you online in a New York minute a part of the problem?

I wondered what Candace Bushnell would do in my predicament. And I also couldn’t help but wonder what her alter ego, Carrie Bradshaw, would do in my position.


Note: The name Melisa Pearce is real. She’s a friend I count myself lucky to have. Melisa is the founder and owner of Touched by a Horse and the creator of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method. Carrie Bradshaw is, of course, the famous character created by author Candace Bushnell.


Copyright 2017 by Melanie Mulhall

Alone for the Holidays

December 27, 2016

It wasn’t as bad as being alone on an otherwise deserted island, but it wasn’t ideal either. It appeared that I would be alone for the holidays.

Thanksgiving is the most difficult day of the year for me (search for “Cheating Death One More Time,” posted November 18, 2011). Fortunately, my good friends and neighbors, Kathy and Glen Hoff, invited me to spend Thanksgiving with them and their extended family. I had officiated the wedding of their granddaughter Paige, and I’d been to events with the family before, including Thanksgiving the previous year, so it was comfortable and family-like for me. I even went over Thanksgiving morning to help Kathy with food preparation, and I contributed a little food to the event.

I heard from three men that Thanksgiving. The first was my stepson Richard Cornell; the second, my friend John; and the third, Jake. While Richard is the youngest of my late husband’s sons, he’s still only sixteen years younger than me, so not quite young enough to be my son . . . unless I had been very precocious in my youth. But I love him as a son, and it means a great deal to me that he bothers to call me every once in a while. I was sorry I’d missed his call that morning when I was at Kathy Hoff’s house helping with food preparation. I had dated John a couple of times, but no romance developed. Instead, we became friends. He is bright and very active with a mind that likes to penetrate everything using the left brain. I make a good foil for him. Jake had texted me the night before Thanksgiving saying he hoped I had some fun plans. Then we traded a few texts Thanksgiving Day. Considering how careful he was to keep things from getting more than superficially personal, it touched me that he’d texted.

Once Thanksgiving was under my belt, my attention turned to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For some reason, Christmas isn’t quite as problematic for me as Thanksgiving. Even though Howard had an incident necessitating a call to hospice Christmas night and even though he’d died a few days later, I knew he was close to death on Christmas Day, 2010, and it was time for him to go, so Christmas is a rather benign day for me.

I have fond memories of many a Christmas Eve with my late husband. For many years, we had the Christmas Eve ritual of going out to dinner. Every year, we went to a different place. The most memorable was the Christmas Eve dinner just a month after I moved to Colorado. We dined at the historic Oxford Hotel in Denver. I have no idea what I ate. I was in love; it was a love fest. It was snowing gently when we left the restaurant. We didn’t hurry. It was like being in a Hallmark movie.

I had fond memories of Christmas Day with Howard too. Across many years, I served champagne and little food delicacies as we opened gifts on Christmas morning. Then, after phone calls to and from family, we would get bundled up and head for Rocky Mountain National Park, where we wished the elk a merry Christmas before returning home to Christmas dinner. I had been mostly fine with Christmas since Howard’s death, content to be alone. I didn’t feel that way this year.

Again, fortune was with me. One of my favorite people (who also happens to be one of my apprentices), Lynn Smith, had invited me to Christmas brunch at her house. I was looking forward to spending time with her and the others who would be there.

But as much as I kept myself occupied on Christmas Eve, I was restless. I wanted to create some new rituals and future memories with someone. And New Year’s Eve was shaping up to be another holiday alone too. Why was I bothered about being alone this year when it hadn’t bothered me previously?

Apparently, once Pandora’s Box had been opened with Derek, some interior muscle had been brought back to life. It had little to do with sex (though sex was a wonderful offshoot) but everything to do with relationship. I wanted to love and be loved. I still couldn’t see myself marrying again, and I still couldn’t really see myself living with a man. But I wanted love.

Though not usually petulant, I was feeling sulky and ill-humored, and I didn’t like it. Then I went out to get the mail, and the little boy from next door ran over to wish me a merry Christmas and give me a hug–the same little boy who had brought me flowers from his yard during the summer. I knew that little boy was going to grow up to be a magic man because I no longer felt petulant. I went inside to pack up some soap I’d made that I planned to give to three of my favorite neighbors. And while the boy next door might be growing into his magic, my soap has full-blown magic to it. The scent is of my own creation, a mixture of essential oils. But what makes it magic is the love I consciously insert into it.

When I went to Kathy and Glen Hoff’s house to give them one of the gift bags, they invited me to come over for a little Christmas cheer that evening. Their big extended family would be there, and Andrea, Glenn’s daughter, informed me that there was always at least one straggler. I was happy to be a straggler with that crowd.

When I got back to the house, there were two text messages. One was from Jake. I’d left a message to wish him a happy Christmas Eve earlier. He’d replied. The other was from John. I hadn’t texted him because he was out of the state, spending Christmas with his son. I didn’t want to interrupt that visit. But he had interrupted it himself long enough to text me. I didn’t like admitting to myself that being remembered and contacted mattered so much to me. It was a remnant from half a lifetime earlier when I’d left a thoroughly abusive marriage and attempted to prove to myself just how independent I was. I sighed and let myself accept the fact that being cared for enough to be contacted did mean something to me.

Before the holidays, I’d bought a new dress. I had nothing specific in mind for that dress, but it made my waist look about as small as Scarlett O’Hara’s, it hugged by bosom appealingly, and it’s crinolined underskirt made me feel like a princess. I looked great in it and had hoped I’d find a reason to wear it. It appeared that it would still just be hanging in the closet into the coming year.


But that fact no longer mattered so much. I’d been reminded that what I really need is to be able to give love to others, whether in the form of magical handmade soap gifted to my friends, my time and attention when a friend wanted it, or my body and full self offered up to a man. And I’d been reminded that I also need to receive love from others, which might come to me as an innocent hug from a magical little boy, an invitation to a holiday gathering, or a text from someone I care about.

I had given and received a bit of love, and I realized that I wasn’t alone for the holidays after all.


Note: The names Derek, Jake, and John are fictitious and have been used out of respect for the men involved. The names Richard Cornell, Kathy and Glen Hoff, Andrea, Paige, and Lynn Smith are real, and I am blessed to have these people in my life.


Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall


Crimes against the Heart, Part 1

December 20, 2016

In the dating world, there are many ways to commit crimes against the heart–the hearts of others and your own. Some are serious offenses, malfeasance. Others are minor offenses, misdemeanors. But crimes they are.

The concept of friends with benefits is a good example of something fraught with possibilities of doing damage. First, there is no real consensus about what a friends with benefits relationship is, let alone what the difference is between this arrangement and a f*** buddy. Some believe you must be friends before you can have a friends with benefits relationship. Others believe it is foolish to believe there is any friend component to a friends with benefits relationship. There are numerous and diverse “rules” about these relationships, and depending on who is coming up with them, they can be contradictory. In some quarters, it is believed that there should be no cuddling after sex, no sleepover, and no daily texting in a friends with benefits (FWB) relationship. Why? Because it is thought to be a short road between these things and both intimacy and emotional connection. And a friends with benefits relationship for many is, in theory, one that involves sex without the impediment of feelings, let alone deep feelings.

The problem with this is that the human being is a fourfold one with mind, body, spirit, and emotions. The head might be totally on board with the concept of a FWB relationship. The body will definitely be on board. If it is not, there is no point in such an arrangement. But what about spirit and emotions? Can you disconnect mind and body from spirit and emotions? If you can, for how long? And if you can, what does that say about you? If you cannot really disconnect them, what are the consequences of trying to do so?

My own view of what might constitute a FWB relationship was a work in progress. I didn’t necessarily think one had to be long-term friends to have such a relationship. I did think it needed to be between two people who had no expectations of one another, including no expectations of long-term romantic relationship, apart from the expectation of behaving with respect and human dignity. Compassion, kindness, affection? Yes. Bells-and-banjos love? No. Chemistry and sex? Definitely. Friendship or at least friendly connection? Yes.

I had seen Jake twice, and we had over a thousand texts between us. Despite the fact that we had not really known one another beyond a phone conversation and some messages before our relating went from dinner to dessert, I thought of the connection as a friends with benefits one, in part because there was an underlying kindness in his behavior towards me, in part because I gave a damn about him beyond the bedroom, and in part because we had actually conversed about things other than sex. I knew he did not see me as a potential long-term partner. As far as I could tell, some of that hinged on the age difference between us and some of it hinged on the fact that I was not connected to the dance world that was so important to him. Beyond those two things, I had no idea.

Did I view him as a potential long-term partner? No. It wasn’t about age. It was more about lifestyle. I doubted that Jake had the breadth of interests I need in a man. And I doubted he had the depth I need either. But I liked the handful of things I was coming to know about him, I had affection for him, and I had a level of trust in him as a sexual partner. For me, trust in the bedroom is related to what happens outside the bedroom. If I am dismissed, disrespected, or demeaned by a man outside the bedroom, there is no way that man is going to be invited into my bedroom. There will not be enough trust to get him there.

Was a friends with benefits arrangement or something similar sustainable between us for anything beyond the very short term? I knew that some people had sustained such relationships for a matter of years, though I doubted there were many such people.

My heart had cracked open a long time ago, and every time I thought it could not crack open any further, I was proven wrong. The heart, it seems, has an infinite ability to expand. Thus far, I had been able to feel affection and compassion for Jake without any sense of attachment but with a desire for his happiness, whatever that meant to him. I wasn’t concerned about committing a crime against my own heart or his. And I knew that if I began to feel I was at risk of committing such crimes, I would end the relationship.

I wasn’t so sure about Jake, though. I was pretty sure he would drop me like a hot wire if he thought I was getting too attached. And I was pretty sure that he thought he had command over his own emotions, at least where I was concerned. But what about the state of his heart?

Jake professed to want a long-term relationship, and he had what he frequently referred to as parameters for that relationship. It had been a dozen or more years since his divorce;  he’d been single for a long time. From what he had told me about his experience, I knew  he’d formed his own rules around whatever casual sexual relationship he had with a woman. A kiss, a hug, getting naked, and going home afterward were the essential components of it. In his way of thinking, the next time he saw a woman might be the last time, either by his choice or hers. He should not get too close. Which was why, I suspected, he used diminutives when referring to me instead of my name. But he was sufficiently savvy to figure out enough of what a woman’s boundaries and needs were  to stay within her good graces, at least for a time. Still, he was very self-protected. He attempted to keep things completely out of the emotional realm.

The problems with that were three-fold. First, the next time we see anyone in our life might be the last time we see them. Life is fragile. So are human relationships. Any attempt at utter control is futile.

Second, he was not just a nice guy, he was a basically kind person. To the extent that he could keep his heart and his sexual contact with a woman bifurcated, he risked committing a serious crime against his own heart. I did not believe it was in his nature to be hard-hearted. And the longer he tried, the more calcified his heart was going to become.

The third problem was that he had spent enough time attempting to keep emotions out of his sexual relationships that I had serious doubts he could effortlessly turn the emotions back on with a sexual partner he loved and wanted a long-term relationship with. He wasn’t risking a Madonna-whore complex because this wasn’t about a woman he would necessarily have a child with. He was risking something more fundamental: a beloved-whore complex. Would he be able to have abandoned, fun sex with a woman he saw as his beloved after keeping his heart out of the bedroom for so long? I had my doubts.

Jake was at risk of malfeasant crimes against the heart. And if he committed them, he would get a ticket from the karma police he might not want to pay.

Note: The name Jake is fictitious and has been used out of respect for the man involved.


Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall

The Supermoon

December 13, 2016

The supermoon was inspiring. At more than fourteen percent larger in appearance and thirty percent brighter than the average full moon, it mesmerized me as it rose between the neighbor’s tree and house. It hadn’t been this large in appearance since before I was born and wouldn’t be again until November 25, 2034. I did the math. I didn’t want to think about how old I would be in 2034 . . . if I was still alive then.

I texted Jake. “Stop whatever you’re doing and look at the moon.”

I heard nothing back from him, but the supermoon was spanning two nights, so I texted again the next night. “If you missed it last night, you get another shot at seeing the supermoon tonight. Best seen as it rises (shortly after five). Powerful moon influencing feelings, passion, earthly pleasures. (And you just thought it was your testosterone.) Take a deep breath, surrender to it, and imagine the juiciness. As they say, the goddess is alive and magic is afoot.”

He texted back saying that he had actually seen it the previous night while on his way into a dance and jokingly admitted he had, indeed, thought it was his testosterone.

“Men always seem to think that the juice rising within them is all their own testosterone,” I texted back. “We women (the embodiment of the goddess) usually just let you think that.”

He found that funny and said that a thought had crossed his mind about that moon. He was fantasizing an assignation, outdoors at my house while watching the moon. He was graphic about the details of what he had in mind. But . . . he had a lot to do that night. He was busy the following two nights and then would be leaving town for an extended weekend. Still, he wanted to know if we could see the moon from my deck.

The deck was not the place for what he had in mind. Too visible. The gazebo was the place for it.

“Stop talking and get over here, ” I texted back.

But this was the only night he had to do laundry before he left town. If he did come over, it would have to be a very short visit to fulfill the fantasy that was not only in his head (actually, both heads), but now also in mine. He was not even sure he needed to do laundry. He had to check.

“Again, stop talking and get over here,” I texted back.

He left his phone to check on the laundry situation.

While he was doing that, I decided that he was going to lose points, big time, if he tossed me aside for his laundry–or maybe be tossed aside himself. I’m an understanding woman, but there are limits to it.

Ten minutes later, he texted saying that he did have to do laundry, but it might have to be done a little later than he’d planned. Still, he was concerned about whether I was actually okay with him coming and going (so to speak) as quickly as he would need to.

I admitted that I didn’t find it optimal, but also admitted that I wanted him.

He had worked late and had just gotten home before my first text came in. After a quick shower, he would make the drive from his end of the metro area to mine. He texted again as he was leaving with a suggestion about what I might consider wearing, though he admitted that he thought I should wear anything that would keep me comfortably warm. It was November, after all.

I have never needed a man’s help in putting myself together, and I didn’t that night. I was already dressed by then anyway. I thought he would be pleased.

I kept an eye out when enough time had passed for him to make his way across the city, and I was at the front door by the time he got out of his car.

“You . . . look . . . so . . . sexy,” he said in a low, deep voice filled with hunger as he walked toward the house.

The inside door wasn’t even closed before we reached for one another. It had been two months. I was way overdue for the physical presence of him. Whatever the past two months had been like for him, he was totally with me in that moment. My knees nearly buckled. When we finally pulled back long enough for me to close the door, I held up a foot so he could see that downstream from the white bustier and gauzy skirt, I was wearing ankle strap stiletto sandals. My best friend and I had referred to shoes like that as hooker shoes when we were in our early thirties, but one of our friends would have called them find-me-f***-me shoes. Whatever you called them, they seemed like the appropriate footwear for fulfilling the fantasy he had described in his text.

I led him up the stairs, through the house, out through the kitchen door to the upper deck, down the deck stairs, and out to the gazebo. Before he arrived, I’d had the presence of mind to bring out a blanket, just in case we needed it to stave off the cold. I doubted we would need it. Heat was radiating off us.

The moon was as inspiring as it had been the night before. We took the inspiration and ran with it, picking up where we had left off at the front door. In short order, I turned to look at the moon and find purchase on the gazebo railing. The railing was just a little high in relation to my height for what I had in mind, but I struggled to get a foothold. Jake had his own struggles. He was fumbling with his sartorial trappings, as well as his corporeal ones. Behind me, his arms around me and his head close to mine, he murmured, I mumbled, and we ultimately laughed at out ample fervor coupled with our deficient dexterity. In essence, our enthusiasm outstripped our ability to gracefully engage.

Despite the fact that I had quickly abandoned the railing for one of the chairs, I was not a masterful mistress, and he was not quite the adroit master. We were, however, both fearless right up to the moment that he knocked over the iron and marble table. It went down with a decisive, loud thud. I was having too much fun, despite our ineptness–or maybe even because of it–to care. But Jake was concerned about attracting the neighbors’ attention.

We gathered up what we needed to, left the gazebo, and made our way to the house with him in the lead. My skirt got caught on both the heel of my shoe and the railing, and I murmured a little sound of distress. Jake stopped in his tracks.

“Are you hurt? Are you okay?” he asked, his voice carrying a tone of honest concern.

And that small act represented one of the primary reasons (chemistry aside) I was willing to engage in spontaneous, uninhibited, intemperate activities with him despite the fact that we were not candidates for a long-term relationship. There was an underlying vein of caring and kindness to the man.

Once inside, our physical deftness returned. Hands and legs, mouths and torsos, hips and fingers were all back where they belonged, and our muscle memory of their use eventually kicked in. The ankle strap sandals remained on. Later, he accused me of almost growling at one point. It had inspired him as much as the supermoon.

I had been committed to keeping the rendezvous brief because he needed to get back home, but he stayed longer than he’d planned. I’m pretty sure, though, that he had a smile on his face when he did his laundry.


Note: The name Jake is fictitious and has been used out of respect for the man involved.


Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall


December 6, 2016

When you have a combination of affection, respect, and lust for a man, but neither your lifestyle nor his allows for seeing one another very often, texting is not a bad alternative to pining away for the guy. Not only is it often faster and easier than either a telephone conversation or an e-mail, it is also more spontaneous.

It began innocently enough about five weeks after Jake came for dinner . . . and dessert. He and I had texted one another sporadically, and I sent him a text asking how life was in his corner of the world, and in particular, how his dating life was going. We were becoming friends, after all. He gave me an update and asked about my dating life. I admitted that while there had been men to date, there had been no one I wanted to kiss in that little notch below the throat since him.

The text back said that I’d just given him a rise. Clearly, the man was easily aroused. And that began a series of texts suggesting how much we’d like to . . . ahem . . .spend more time with one another.

Some days later, I alerted him to the fact that I had published two blog posts (“Jake” and “Jake for Dessert”) about him. He had given me the okay to write about him, but I thought it only fair to warn him when the posts hit. I didn’t think he was reading my blog, but I thought he might want to know when I posted about him. I held my breath after sending the text because I feared he might be annoyed by the true-to-life account of activities he’d participated in.

He did not have the time to read the posts just then, but he did say he liked the title of the second post, proclaimed it accurate to the events, and thought it had been a great dessert. He also liked the fact that I was writing about the two of us.

Was he an exhibitionist?

He began reminiscing about that night and then sent me (with my permission) three photos of himself that served as good visual reminders of our time together without being utterly and completely graphic. That is, there was no unclothed photo of the southern half of his body. Not that he wasn’t willing to send one. I urged him to send no such photos to anyone on the grounds that once they left his hands, he would have no control over them.

I sent him a couple of photos that were tamer than those he sent me. Everything nicely covered. I had never sent sex photos of myself to anyone, nor would I ever. It just does not represent the woman I am. Being unbridled and untamed does not mean that I am willing to document my physical self or my uninhibited behavior in photo or video form. Not happening.

That didn’t mean the photos of him were unwelcome.

Yes, I can refuse to participate in tit for tat (so to speak), unless in person. Unfair? Just taking advantage of my womanly prerogative.

Mostly tame and infrequent texts passed between us for a time. Then I sent him a photo of a holiday dress I had bought. I told him he would have to imagine the woman in the dress. Again, it seemed innocent enough. His text back said that he remembered the woman dressed . . . also. And that led to another series of sexts, on and off over several days. They were apparently working him up into enough of a frenzy that he offered to send me a photo of himself he’d taken in the shower–soapy lather and all–from the neck down.

My nipples immediately stood at attention with the very thought. The woman who has been disdainful of such photos, mostly because men you haven’t known intimately are all too willing to send them, was not only willing but eager to be on the receiving end of that photo. I had been intimate with him. I knew his body. I had affection for it and the man living in it.

Let’s just say that if you have to delay gratification, a photo like that is a good thing to have.


Note: The name Jake is fictitious and has been used out of respect for the man involved.


Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall

The Mystery of Men, Part 2

November 29, 2016

Like the fundamental laws of physics, there seem to be online dating laws we women have to deal with, just as we have to deal with gravity. And let me tell you, the older I get, the more I resent gravity.

One of those laws is that the men you are uninterested in will inevitably be interested in you while the men you are interested in will be uninterested in you.

I am uninterested in some men for a variety of reasons: They live out of state. They live within the state but at too much distance to make dating them enjoyable or even feasible. They are too old for me, whether chronologically or by virtue of my sense of their robustness. They are too young for me. I don’t find them attractive. They either seem to have a feminine side that is overdeveloped or a masculine side that renders them little more than one step above Neanderthal. They have religious beliefs that will probably make us incompatible. There is too big a gulf between our lifestyles and interests. They smoke.

Why are some men uninterested in me? I’m clueless. It is one aspect of the mystery of men. It might be for reasons similar to those that make me uninterested in some men, or it might be for reasons I have not plumbed. Actually, I often do not know if a man I might be interested in is, in fact, uninterested in me. He might have simply not provided me with enough clues to tell me that he might be interested.

I kept returning to one man’s photos and profile. He had asked a question on his profile and suggested that the woman who could answer it might be old enough for him. This was an approach I had never seen before, so I finally sent him a message giving the answer to his question and telling him that is profile and photos had made me smile.

I heard nothing back from him.

I was disappointed.

He was a few years younger than me, but no so much younger that he was age-inappropriate. He appeared to be an architect or at least in the building design/construction field. He had referred to a rather iconic structure in the mountains as having been his opus. I figured that a man who could use the word opus probably had enough mental horsepower for me. But apart from that, his connection to architecture appealed to that part of me that has long appreciated architecture and design. I own a copy of A Pattern Language for heaven’s sake.

He kept cats instead of dogs, something unusual in a state where dogs probably equal humans in numbers. I had lived with three cats for the better part of their entire lives. They all died of old age with me. And while I haven’t lived with felines for many years, I still have a fondness for them and am of the opinion that there is a fundamental difference between cat and dog people. I liked that he was a cat person.

He didn’t seem to work out as much as me, but he liked to hike. And he liked to skinny-dip in mountain lakes. That he actually had skinny-dipping in his profile was also something I had never seen. Did that suggest a sensuous man? I hoped so. But aren’t mountain lakes frigid? I wanted to know more.

He wanted a woman who is self-confident and comfortable in her own skin. His backyard was one of his favorite places, and he enjoyed gardening. He was into woodworking and photography, and he’d read How the Irish Saved Civilization.

There were numerous other indications that he might be a man I’d find devastatingly appealing. But there was no reason to believe that the man was going to message me. I could let it go or I could send him another message, a longer one that spoke to at least a few of the things I thought we have in common. So more than two months after the first message, I reminded myself that I really had nothing to lose, except maybe my pride, which was worth losing, and sent the message.

I had no expectation of hearing back from him.

The following day, I got a message from him. Yes, he was an architect. He’d been the principal in charge of development for a large, well-known organization. He thanked me for reading and understanding most of his profile notes, and he said that I was the first to do so. But he also said some mysterious things: He was struggling that day, he said, with an attack of some kind on his nervous system, which, he added, made him anything but the strong man I had referred to needing in my profile. If he could beat what was trying to beat him that week, he would be in touch.

Once again, I was reminded that men are a mystery to me. What in the world did he mean by an attack on his nervous system? And when he said he was struggling “today,” did he mean that calendar day or some longer part of this moment in time? Did he have a disabling chronic illness or just some passing virus? I had no idea.

I waited a week with no message from him. Had he just been trying to let me down in that indirect way that men sometimes do online? My second message to him had given him permission to be direct: “If you’re curious at all or might be interested at all, I’d love to hear from you. If not, I’d still like to hear from you by way of thanks but no thanks.” I’m a pretty direct person. Kind, but direct. I like directness. Was he being coy instead of direct?

I was back where I’d been before I’d left that second message. Should I just let it go or should I check in with him to see how he was doing? If I did send him another message, would he view me as that self-confident, comfortable-in-her-own-skin woman he said he wanted, or would he view me as desperate and pushy?

And would men ever stop being a crazy-making mystery to me?


Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall

The Mystery of Men, Part 1

November 22, 2016

I like men. I have more than liked a number of them, I have adored them. One was my husband; a couple were lovers. Some have been friends or colleagues. But I do not profess to understand them. In fact, the older I become, the more I realize that I don’t really know much about anything, and where men are concerned, I suspect that any woman who thinks she understands them is delusional.

Men are mysterious creatures. I would liken them to dragons or griffins, except that I understand dragons much better than I understand men and griffins were said to mate for life, which makes the comparison to men completely unsuitable. That men are mysterious creatures has become all the more obvious to me as I have navigated the online dating world. Trying to make sense out of them from online photos and profiles, along with message and text exchanges, phone conversations, and dates, has proven challenging. And it is not for lack of trying or lack of accumulated understanding about the way things work in life.

I am lucky to live in a state that attracts and supports people who are active and appreciate the outdoors. I’m one of those people. But the online profiles of Colorado men are heaving with enough vigorous activities to make even a Colorado woman wonder how they bear the weight of them: bicycling, hiking, tennis, running, weightlifting, skiing (snow and water), snowboarding, rock climbing, kayaking, and football among them. Some of the same profiles also refer to less strenuous activities like golfing, motorcycling, fishing, playing pool, and walking.

Let me be clear: Many men are not talking about participating in just one or two of these activities, but profess to be regularly involved in several. And many don’t have much else about themselves in their profiles.

One man I know regularly (as in more than once a week) bicycles, hikes, golfs, and plays tennis, weather permitting. He and other men I know have admitted to taking naps. Does this not tell them something?

I’m a pretty physical person myself. In fact, I have been told that my astrological chart reveals my need to be more than usually active. Apparently, I will blow a few circuits if I don’t expend energy. I work out at the gym for three hours, three times a week, to stay fit. Do I enjoy it? Yes. There is a certain creature pleasure in using and challenging my body. But the fact that it makes the rest of my life more functional and viable is an important part of my commitment to it. It is what time at the gym does for me that keeps me coming back, not the mere heft of the weights, the whirr of the treadmill, the torture-rack-extension of the stretching equipment, or the bullying dare of the innocent looking thing called the mat.

My life outside the gym also gives me plenty of opportunity for physical activity because I don’t hire someone to do the manual labor I can do myself. I get the added benefit of being outdoors when I do yardwork. And yes, I love beauty, including the beauty of flora, so I get a bit carried away with gardening (which is not a passive pastime). I like to hike too, but I prefer having a hiking partner to either hiking by myself or being in a hiking club.

I don’t do any of these things merely to fill time. And I wonder if some of the men whose profiles I am looking at are.

Surely, most of the active men experience the same creature pleasure that accompanies using the body that I do. Surely, they like to be outdoors. Surely, they like what physical activity does for them. Many probably like some competitive aspect of what they are doing. But does the laundry list of physical activities suggest that some of these men are filling time with physical activities because they lack breadth and depth of interest in other things? Or are some of them just doing the online written equivalent of flexing their muscles to attract the female of the species? Is it a testosterone thing?

I admit that I am mystified.

It is true that the profiles of some of the men who have caught my attention have included an interest in the arts, an attraction to kicking back with their woman over a bottle of wine and steaks cooked on the grill, an appreciation for books and movies, or a boast about their ability to fix things. To the extent that there is something other than their sports activities listed in a profile, I hold out hope for an interesting (not just fit) man.

But I am still mystified by how men represent themselves and what it means. Do those men with the long lists of sports activities have room for a woman (beyond merely bedding her) in their lives? Do they want a woman as addicted to sports as them or do they want to partake of the sports with their male buddies and leave the woman to her own devices? If the latter, I refer back to the first question: Do they have time for a woman?

Or is all or most of what is on the profile fantasy and posturing?

And if it is, where does that leave me?


Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall