There was the bartender who asked for my number when I came in on a below-zero night in search of a stiff drink before a party where my college ex-boyfriend — the first to break my heart — would be in attendance.
There was the restaurant owner who I met one night over a plate of perfect French fries. There was that other bartender — the one who worked at the same place as my best friend — who took me out for drinks at a dive bar, then to a five-star restaurant just before midnight to split a full tasting menu. It was only after that breakup that apps like Tinder and Bumble and Hinge entered the picture.
It was this challenge, this discovery, that first drew me to writing, too. Only later on in my career did I come to appreciate the construction of a strong sentence, the beauty in a perfectly placed word, the beat of cadence; at first, I just fell in love with narrative. And so, what I unintentionally found myself doing again and again was recreating my work life in my romantic one to both good and bad effects , and utilizing the skills I had picked up interviewing sources, getting scoops, and finding material in the uncanniest of places. While it is possible for good interviews to happen on the fly, going into one prepared is usually a key step to success.
In journalism, that often means reading up on a source and researching small biographical details like where they went to school or grew up.
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While it can feel pretty creepy, doing a little bit of digging before a date can be helpful, too, especially in an era with overflowing options to swipe left or right. Knowing a few details about a person before meeting them can better prepare you to really listen to the good stuff, to ask the right questions, or to feel comfortable sharing your own story.
And when they do it, I see people — shop clerks, strangers at cocktail parties, Uber drivers — relax around them and open up. Writers know that asking questions and creating an atmosphere of interest and trust is crucial to getting a source to talk. The same is true on a date — be interested, ask; be vulnerable, share.
In my first newspaper job, my editor used to make me stay till the very end of any meeting I covered. Ideally, she would say, be the last one to walk out.
This came true one night when I was thinking about skipping out early on a meeting that included things like shellfish licenses and stone wall regulations on the agenda. There was my lede. On dates, I usually apply this rule. People are rarely at their best or most authentic in a first meeting or in the first hour of a meeting.
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You never know when or where your lede might come from, so stay for that second drink, walk that extra block, or go for that next date. At least you tried. My first stab at online dating was a three-month stint on JDate. After an unsuccessful date with that Irish man in which he pulled nail clippers out of his pocket after coming up to my apartment for the first time , I went out with only one other man — a sweet guy, but there was no spark.
I took a break from online dating for a while, which translated into a full-on dating rut. When she met the man she would ultimately marry, they became something of an editing team for me, with her now-husband offering his male take on my profile, dates, or current partners.
My mid-life adventures in online dating | Life and style | The Guardian
The dating site for bibliophiles, Alikewise asks users to combine a profile with paragraph-sized reviews of their favorite books. Web developers Matt Sherman and Matt Masina launched the site in , though Alikewise's future seems to be up in the air. As of last year, they have been looking for someone to buy the site from them.
Because much of dating is eating together, there is VeggieDate , a site which is geared towards vegetarians but allows users to get much more specific. A go-to for sci-fi fans is Trek Passions.
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Seeking the Dagny to your Galt? Check out The Atlasphere , the dating site for devotees of author Ayn Rand.
My mid-life adventures in online dating
The site, founded by Joshua Zader in , says it has 17, dating profiles—so evaluating each and every user for an adequately productive and independent mate may take slightly less time than reading Atlas Shrugged. Mouse Mingle creator and Disney fanatic Dave Tavres, who established the site in , told Mashable that friends badgered him about his lack of online dating profiles. Most of us have to wait a good while before seeing our dates naked.
You might get to take it all in sooner at Naturist Passions Beware: