Another Dimension in Dating

Better ways to get your groove back in your ’30s, and triumphs in post-breakup ex-sightings.

Q: I’m back on the singles dating scene, and it’s been a nightmare! At 35, I’ve been out to bars and clubs, and I can’t help but feel like I’m in the twilight zone. I’m surrounded by 20-something women who look fantastic in mini-skirts, and after a cocktail or two, seem to think they’re auditioning for an MTV video. First of all, I’m not comfortable showing half my ass to a bar full of strangers anymore, but on the other hand, all male eyes are locked on Miss MTV. Do I really have to compete with this to find a mate? – Not a Bar Babe

A: Dunno. Are you looking for a mate along the lines of The Situation? Then, yeah, you’re up against legions of entire-ass-and-then-some-baring, pole-dancing, girl-on-girl-grinding chippies and their ilk. But if you’re shooting higher than that – and, lord, I hope you are – then perhaps it’s time to start hanging out elsewhere.

First of all, though, give yourself a pat on the back for your efforts at reentry into the dating scene. It can be tough as hell to get back out there, very Twilight-Zone-ish indeed, and just the fact that you’re doing it shows you’ve got moxie. Well done.

Onto some takeaway: Focus not on the where, but the what, when you’re trying to meet new people. In other words, veer away from spots where hooking up is clearly the objective, and venture toward groups and/or gatherings that are more about your interests – you know, the things you did before you got into a relationship. For example, if you love wine, then start scoping out tastings around town. If you’re an active type, then look into a running or hiking group.

Also consider online dating. The stigma that surrounded it just a few years ago has all but faded, and at the very least it’s a great way to ease back into the dating scene and build some confidence.

Finally, if you do end up getting dragged to the occasional club, just grab a drink, sit back and enjoy the action. Sure, you might have mini-skirt envy for the 20-something set, but take heart knowing you won’t wake up the next day covered in bronzer stains in a stranger’s bed.

Q: I was out the other evening with a group of great girlfriends. We met for dinner then went to a wine-bar down the street. It was a great, fun-filled, relaxing evening until my ex-boyfriend, “Aaron,” walked in — with his new girlfriend. I completely froze when I saw him (and nearly choked on my wine), hoping he wouldn’t see me there. But of course, like some law of the universe, he looked right over and our eyes met. To my utter disbelief, he turned away like he didn’t even know me! Are there rules for ex-etiquette? – Still Sad

A: Yes, but they’re so dependent on context and situation that I’d need an entire column to go into them. More importantly for you: You should be doing a little happy dance that YOU WON, hands down, the First Post-Breakup Ex-Sighting Contest.

Why? Several reasons: 1) If there’s any “law of the universe” to consider, it’s that an overwhelming majority of the time, you’ll run into your ex for the first time at the drugstore, while he’s looking dapper and buying an economy box of condoms and you’re wearing sweats and no makeup, with a basket full of Ben & Jerry’s and gossip mags. Instead, Aaron saw you out and about, carrying on with your fabulous life with a passel of great girlfriends, AND all gussied up for a night on the town, to boot. Tiger Woods in a Buford Highway massage parlor couldn’t get any luckier than that, sister.

2) You might be understandably “still sad,” but take heart in knowing that Aaron is still shaken up, too. Otherwise, he would have been able to muster at least a cursory “hi” instead of silently shuffling off with his new piece.

3) You can be damn sure that said new piece noticed his awkwardness at running into you, asked him about it and is still analyzing what it all means. (And it’s ok to laugh demonically over this one.)

4) You didn’t choke on your wine. Now, go pour yourself another glass and toast to the universe for sending you such a glorious crutch to help you move on. Seriously. You couldn’t have orchestrated it any better if you tried.


  1. I’m writing you this note from my blackberry as I have just read your advise/letter (The Singles Game:April 25-May 1). Specifically as it concerns the 2nd letter to “Still Sad”. I must say I find your writing amusing and advise solid most of the time. However, to that advice seeker you dumped a larger load of bullshit on her than the PBR tour dumps in a year. How cruel and misguided are you to write her “YOU WON, hands down….” Perhaps I should ask won what: the silly sappy dame award for still caring enough about an ex to write a letter to a stranger? Clearly, she is not a winner on many levels she possesses no self respect nor worth, she has a weak support group because none of her “great girlfriends” could mend her wounded heart, or soothe her battered ego upon seeing not just her ex but his new “piece”. Which brings me to the real winner in this so called “game”. If there is a definitive uncontested winner in all this it is cetainly her ex, and for the very reasons she wrote to you in the first place. 1. He moved on with his life, and got him a new “piece”, 2. struted out in public with her cause he is proud, free and she is probably hot 3. Walked in made eye contact with his ex and didn’t give a damn! He kept it real and kept it moving. He probably shows more emotion after he gets up off the toilet and looks down before flushing. she might as well have been a fern in that bar. 4. You can be certain he didn’t talk about her with his “piece” and absolutely didn’t write a letter whinning to a strange for advise about the proper “ex-etiquette”, whatever that is? She would have come out better with the sweats, no makeup and a basket full of Ben & Jerry’s. Remember she is “still sad”, she “completely froze”, she “nearly choked” and she is “utter disbelief”. Meanwhile, her ex is happy, with a hot dame and is most likely making her choke every night. Still Sad needs to depart her hoilday in fools paradise and you should cut the dose of whatever your on that made you give such insane advice.

    Comment by Alpha Male — April 29, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  2. My answer to the first question will be, it depends! the reason behind my answer was its okay if you want to because i believe in a saying that you dont need to let your age stop you from what you want to do in life. Its never too late. If you think you can compete and that will make your heart fulfilled then show them what you’ve got.

    Comment by Aldrin — June 30, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

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