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Posts Tagged ‘on-line dating’

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Just heard an incredible statistic. Today, one out of three marriages is between couples meeting on a dating site. Thinking about it, I don’t know why I find this incredible. The average adult spends a lot of time on-line. If you are single and looking for the perfect match, such a huge marketplace makes narrowing the search easier. Definitely it narrows the chances of finding someone with the specific traits you are looking for in a life partner.  Was I in a room and the question asked “who here met their mate on a dating site”, my hand would be enthusiastically waving in the air.

Eighteen years ago Rick left me a message on one of the more famous dating websites. Truth be told we are an unlikely match. I believe I was number 221 on his list of suitable matches and he didn’t even show up on mine.  At the time I was working insane hours at a dot.com startup in the Bay Area leaving little time for socializing. Often I would leave work after logging in hours of overtime only to be called back into the office in the wee hours to edit a file or create a new one. Exhausting.

Originally I posted my profile during a winey night spent with a dear friend of mine long single and looking for love. After uncorking our second bottle of chardonnay, we made the decision to get her on a dating site. This is one of those questionable decisions associated with too much alcohol intake often leading to disaster. However, in this case it turned out quite well. For me at least. The first step began by creating the usual inane profiles for ourselves. You know, “I like dogs, walks on the beach, and candlelight dinners”. Then we uploaded a couple of flattering recent pictures, and promptly put the whole thing out of minds. Recent is highlighted in the last sentence because some people put pictures up taken after they graduated from middle school rather than what they actually look like at the time they post their profile. In the end if you meet the cat, as they say, will be out of the bag unless you have a particularly clever plastic surgeon on the payroll. About two weeks later we found ourselves again together and decided to look up the site and see what the results of our efforts were. Amazing. It was like panning for gold. You dip your pan in water once only to find a huge nugget nestled among the sand and gravel. Wow. Now, all these prospects are certainly not going to be either people you are interested in or necessarily even people seriously looking for a real relationship. Like everything in life you have to sift through the chaff in order to find the wheat.

Even though I was a novice at this type of dating, this was not my first rodeo. Through trial and error I’d hopefully picked up a few pointers along the way about the do’s and don’t of looking for a mate. Heavy emphasis on the hopefully. Dating to my mind is always a mine field. Aside from the benefits of finding a partner among such a wide selection of candidates there is, as always, a darker side to the picture. Predators feed on such a readily available population like sharks circling an area replete with an abundant food source. Discretion and good sense are the words of the day when taking on such an endeavor. Don’t meet anyone alone in a non-public environment. Trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, it probably is. Lastly, someone gave me some great advice once. “It’s not what people say that’s important, it’s what people do.” You can say you’re the C.E.O. of Ebay or that you are not married. This does not make either statement based on any semblance of fact.

At that time I was not looking for a serious relationship. Rather I was hoping to find several different people with whom I could perhaps share an interest like hiking, or someone who enjoyed the theater or visiting art museums. I adjusted my walks on the beach profile (actually my favorite pastime) to include other activities I also sincerely enjoyed. As the months progressed I met an interesting person here and a not so interesting one there but no one who felt like a good match. Though I became acquainted with some really great people no one enticed me to turn around for a second look.

When Rick popped up he was most unexpected. Though in the right age group and appealing according to his photograph, on scratching below the surface his profile indicated that might be where the commonalities came to an end. After he made several knocks at my on-site door I decided to open it a crack and see who was standing on the other side. Our first “date” if you will was just to meet and see if any fires were lit. From the moment he sat down across from me our conversation flowed easily. Still does. Always having a fascination with Egypt I was enthralled with his stories of growing up near Cairo and having access to all the wonders I had only been able to read about.

Soon we became regular companions and eighteen years later we still look forward to seeing one another across the table every morning (even before coffee).

So, if you are contemplating giving on-line dating a try I would. Perhaps you’ll be lucky like we were, perhaps you won’t. However shake the dice. Like playing the Lotto if you don’t buy a ticket you’ll never know if you might have been a winner.

This salad is just sooooo good. If you added chicken it would be a perfect light meal for those warm summer nights.

Vegetable Salad with Sesame Seed Dressing

2 1/2 cups Napa cabbage shredded
6 oz. Mung bean sprouts
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 hard boiled eggs cubed
4 radishes thinly sliced
1 avocado, diced
1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 English cucumber sliced thin
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
Salt and pepper

Serves 4-6

Sesame Seed Dressing

2 cloves garlic
2 green onion finely chopped
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp. Sriracha
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1/2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1/3 cup EV olive oil
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Whisk together all ingredients. Pour in cruet and shake well. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Toss with salad just before serving.

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Dating sites are really fine tuning their viewing audiences these days. If you are a lactose intolerant, Trekkie, with a house full of cats there’s probably a site dedicated to people who are perfect matches for you. Refining your likes and dislikes narrows the playing field when it comes to dating. Preferring men with hair to those without, would make signing up at a site promoting mostly bald men a waste of time, for example. Having religious or ethnic preferences certainly would be something you’d want to make clear before entering into a first date. Children in the house a really big check mark. There are men and women who simply are not interested in dating partners who have already started their families without them. There are sites targeting certain age groups, sexual preferences, even those honing in on occupations such as farmers, or chefs seeking fellow foodies. Researching this writing I was surprised to find there were sites specifically targeting people who have like diseases, or those having a preference for a particular breed of dog. Pug lovers have a site targeting other pug enthusasts. Who knew?

Lactose intolerant? No worries. Go to Gluten Free Singles to find your soul mate. Perhaps you want a financially secure man, or are married but like to leave the barn door open? Literally, there is something for everybody. Was I in the market for a mate I believe it would be like showing a starving man the door to the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Bellagio.

Before dating sites, your choice of mates was limited to your surroundings or your capability of attracting one I would suppose. People you worked with were an option. Not always a good choice, however. Should you break up, unless you quit or work in a different building, you’re going to run into your ex every day at work. This left those potential love interests outside of the workplace doing whatever activities or lifestyle you pursued outside of work. These were pretty much the pools we laid our lines in back in the day. Nowadays the world is a dating playground. Many sites fill their photo albums with people from all walks of life hailing from all parts of the planet.

We are funny when it comes to romance. Often we do more research when purchasing a few shares of stock then we do when choosing a mate for life. I’m not one to talk. I’ve said “I do” four times. My mother suggested after the last I do laundry on Saturdays or find a suitable hobby. Pheromones, I would suppose, have a lot to do with why we jump into relationships perhaps not the best for us with both eyes wide open.

Often I look at couples and wonder what brought them together in the first place. People have said this about Rick and I, very different people. We met on a dating site. I was number 241 on his list of suitable partners. The only thing we shared in common was being on the same site. Other than that if his favorite color was blue, mine would be purple. Chinese food number one on his list, would be found on the bottom of mine. Looking back I would have had ten children if life would have worked out that way, Rick sometimes questions in decision to have two. Yet, we cohabit beautifully, having few disagreements and finding each other endlessly interesting. Perhaps it is our very differences that imbue the life into our relationship? As usual I have no answers, only questions.

Looking for love seems to continue to present challenges for us humans. Keeping it once we’ve found it, the enigma. Perhaps we should take our lead from other members of the animal kingdom who mate for life. Swans, for one, are known for their lasting bonds as couples, sometimes swimming next to one mate for life. Wolves, belying the use of their name to identify philanderers, are very family oriented creatures. Family units, or packs, usually consist of mom, dad, their offspring, and their offspring’s offspring. Bald eagles, our national symbol, are known for choosing one mate and remaining with that bird until either its death or theirs. I had a friend who had lovebirds. Aptly named, Wilbur, the male of the duo, lost Ruby, his one true love, after the birth of their first eggs. Inconsolable, the bird stopped singing, lost his feathers, and no matter how many potential mates were introduced to him following Ruby’s passing never formed an attachment again. Awwwww. Poor old Wilbur.

With Hallmark gearing up for Valentine’s Day coming up next month love will be in the air. I know Valentine’s Day is around the corner because while in the drug store I noticed hearts filled with chocolate commingled with the discounted Christmas decorations on the shelves. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find Easter bunnies commingled with the hearts before the end of the month.

Yesterday we cooked together making moussaka. One of our favorite dishes, but a bit of a production, it was fun to share the stove for the afternoon and enjoy our yummy creation in the evening.

Greek Moussaka

3 large eggplants, sliced 1/2″ thick
salt
1/3 cup olive oil (plus or minus)
1/2 lb. ground lamb
3/4 lb. ground beef
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fines herbs
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
8 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Bechamel

1/2 cup butter
4 cups whole milk
6 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. white pepper
Salt to taste

Preheat oven t 350 degrees.

Brown lamb and beef in large frying pan with onions and garlic over med-high heat. Drain on paper towels. Return to pan. Sprinkle wit cinnamon, fine herbes, nutmeg, and parsley. Add tomato sauce and red wine. Mix well. Simmer for 20 mins.

Remove stems from eggplant and slice in 1/2″ slices. Toss ends. Sprinkle salt over both sides and allow to sit for 1/2 hour. Rinse well under cold water. Pat dry.

Add 2 Tbsp. of oil to large frying pan. Heat over high heat. Add eggplant in batches cooking each bath until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Spray bottom of 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.

Layer 1/2 of cooked eggplant on bottom of pan. Top with all the meat mixture. Top with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add remaining layer of eggplant and top with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Bring milk to scalding temperature (do not boil). Melt butter in large deep frying pan. Whisk in flour. Keep whisking and cook for 3 mins. on low. Gradually pour scalded milk into flour/milk whisking continuously. Allow to cook, whisking all the time, until mixture becomes thick. Add white pepper and salt.

Pour evenly over the top of the eggplant/meat in pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Bake uncovered for 1 hour until bechamel is lovely golden brown. Allow to rest for 5 mins. before serving.

Serves 6

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