Archive for the ‘Dating’ Category

Little did I know when I wrote my previous post, Bird in the Hand that my week in Johannesburg would be a real life variation on the same theme: birds. How strange is that? What was Mother Nature trying to tell me?

First there was my early morning wake-up call at 6:00 a.m. Somewhere in my jet lag induced unconsciousness I could hear honking. I’ve heard of cell phones that chirp but never hotel phones that honk. Now fully awake, I realized the noise was not coming from inside but rather outside on my window ledge.

A pair of bickering black-billed geese, husband and wife, no doubt, had pitched up on my window ledge high above Sandton City on the 14th Floor of the Sandton Sun Hotel. It was my own personal (wake-up) call of the wild.

Bird with a View

How in the world did they get there? And just what were they arguing about at this hour? And why had they picked my window ledge? I got up and went to the window and looked down the ledge to where they sat bickering.

I watched her walk off in a huff. (I guess some things are universal.) He followed her down the ledge honking as if he was trying to convince her of something. By now they had arrived in front of me. It certainly looked like I was in the middle of some domestic squabble. Geese may mate for life but they’re not necessarily faithful so maybe there was another goose – or gander – involved.

I pulled back the curtains slowly trying not to frighten them so I could get a better view of the unhappy couple. Sensing the presence of an intruder, they turned their ire on me. I was about as welcome as the paparazzi at a Hollywood marriage meltdown.

Determined to keep their argument private, he puffed up his chest and spread his wings in an attempt to intimidate me. And then united as a couple they began to peck at the window. I was impressed, and then I realized they weren’t attacking me. They were attacking their own reflections in the window. Having spent their anger on something other than each other, they waddled off to other end of the ledge and I heard nothing further from them. They were back to being lovebirds.

The next day I packed my bags and headed for the comforts of home – my friend Julie’s home in a city suburb – the same Julie whose thought-provoking comment was the genesis for my book, Any Color but Beige. (See Chapter 25) The same Julie who generously whisked me away to the Veld for some much needed downtime last year. The same Julie who hosted a Girls’ Night In to celebrate the launch of the book in South Africa. (More on that later).

I was content to sit in her garden and soak up the summer sun while I watched the brightly yellow-colored birds called weavers build their nests. That day there was one weaver who had just put the finishing touches on his new nest when a curious female alighted on a nearby branch.

(The females are a dull brown but that doesn’t bother the males. Oh to be as free as that female weaver and have the male of the species chase you in spite of your dull plumage. I mean really, ladies, try getting away with a mousy color on the top of your head or half an inch of regrowth showing at the roots.)

At last someone with whom he can share his love nest. The little male weaver wanted to strut his colorful stuff and so he hopped onto the branch next to her and started to make small talk. Like a good female, she studiously ignored him.

When another male tried to muscle in on his girl, our brave little weaver ran him off. When I second male moved in, our little guy ran him off too. How’s that for defending your home and your castle? I heard him chirp. When he returned to put the moves on the female, she failed to return his romantic overtures. He flew up to the nest to invite her in to see his etchings but no dice’ she wasn’t budging.

He looked dejected. The tree was full of nests and so maybe she was waiting for a better offer. Finally, tired of waiting, for what I’m not quite sure, she flew off. I felt sorry for the male but Julie told me that it just may have been a blessing in disguise. Had the lady accepted his offer and flew up to the nest she might have found it lacking and tore it apart bit by bit. He would have to start over and try again until it pleased her. How like life.

And so the little yellow weaver went back to decorating his pad and waiting for the next pretty bird to come along. It’s like his mother once told him, “There are plenty of fish in the sea and plenty of birds in the sky.” How like love.

So what was Mother Nature telling me this week? Life, like love, is for the birds.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/amrishwad

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When I mention to people that my book launch was the best night of my life, reactions vary from agreement to doubt. It’s interestingto note that only the men appear to doubt my claim. I find this puzzling because, given the differences between the sexes; I would have thought men would just get it. So this reaction surprised me.

Oh yeah?

Men, who by their very nature, are competitive beings, have played some sort of sport at least once in their lives or have “lived” an extraordinary moment: a game-saving tackle on the goal line, a home run in the bottom of the ninth, or a three pointer at the buzzer. Or maybe it was closing a million dollar deal, landing a new account, or cashing out a winner in poker. Whatever the event, it will go down in their memories as probably the best “moment” of their lives.

So why is it so hard for men to make the leap from pitch, playing field or boardroom, where the glad-handing and back-slapping of buddies is commonplace and where solo efforts of prowess are lauded, to the softer side of life where creation and not competition reigns supreme.

The cynic in me postulates that any achievement not involving at least the advice or counsel of a man is somehow lacking. How could she have done it without me? How dare she do it without me? It can’t possibly be the best without me. This last one may have a slight sexual undertone depending on whom I’m talking to. Wink, wink, nod, nod.

But the explanation is quite simple once I juxtapose it for them against a bigger picture –the marathon race we all run called “life.” People come and go and add and subtract from our lives (hopefully they add more than they subtract). And the memories created “a deux” can sometimes be tainted with sadness, despair and regret, should things end badly.

Our memorable solo moments, days, nights or seasons are the best because we own them. We are the sole architect of those pieces of happiness, achievement or glory. A moment, day or, in my case, night, is something, not even time, can take from us, nor memory taint. Savor them!

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Ulvestad

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Here they are as promised, a selection of opening lines to help you capture the moment the next time you bump into a potential Mr. or Ms. Right. Since they were inspired by my friend Lara, I have dubbed the list: Lara’s lines.   

One word of advice, it’s important to be light with your approach and don’t take things seriously. Remember the idea is to have fun.

The Moment

YOU:  “Did you feel that?  (Pause for his reply).

He’ll usually say something clever, like… “Feel what?”

YOU:  “I think we may have just had a moment”

If he says nothing you can finish his thought for him.

YOU:   “This is where you say, I think so too.”

If he’s receptive, you can introduce yourself.  If he’s not, you can always say over you shoulder as you walk away, “Well it was nice not quite meeting you.”


Compliments are always a safe bet. I mean who doesn’t like receiving a compliment.  Obviously the more sincere they are the better they will be received and the less superficial you will sound.

“That’s a great color on you.”

As women we’re already perceived as experts.  This line leads to several possibilities of follow-up conversation.  You can ask about his favorite color.

If he’s not good with color, you can joke and describe the difference between men and women when it comes to color.

YOU:  “Count on men to know at least two colors: black and brown.  Most men are satisfied with the Crayola 8 pack while women require all 64 colors.”

Some men may be offended when you make broad based statements like this.  If that happens, you can always say that you’re just generalizing for fun.  However, if he’s that uptight run.


You can always stop and ask for directions or recommendations.  Obviously you know where you’re going but he doesn’t have to know that.  This line of questioning takes some advanced planning as it is situation based.  Are you home running errands?  Are you in a city on vacation or business?

YOU: “I’m so tired of eating in this hotel, would you know a good restaurant near by?”

YOU:  “I’m new to the city, I only just arrived yesterday, can you recommend a good way to spend a few hours in the afternoon?”

YOU: “I’m looking for Crescent Street can you point me in the right direction?”

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/MichaelDeLeon

Compliment what he is wearing and ask him where he got it.  Tell him you have a 30-year-old nephew or godson and you’re looking for a birthday present.  Never tell him you’re shopping for your father, as he will question his own fashion sense, or that you’re shopping for your son – save that for later. Conclude by saying that it really suits him. And if you sense things are going well then introduce yourself

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/visi.stock


There are days when you look good and you know it. These are days for taking chances with a more playful approach. Innuendo is a good approach with a man that you find very attractive and would consider sleeping with but nothing more.

YOU:  “How about a few fast furious rounds?” arch your eyebrows and smile mischievously.

Of course, you were talking about tennis; what was he thinking?


There is something refreshing about a person who is open and honest. It makes us pause for a minute and often times catches us by surprise. You begin by introducing yourself and then follow up with:

YOU:  “I find that there are too many “what if…” moments in life.  And I don’t want this to be one of them. Would you like to have coffee with me? “

The variation on the “what if” theme is that of regret,

“A wise person once told me that it’s the things that you don’t do that you end up regretting.  I think I should very much regret not having met you.  Would you like to have coffee?”

Parting Shots

Of course, there is always a risk that you run into a jerk or a man lacking a sense of humor.  Rather than feeling flattered, as most men would, he is offended. That is his issue and not yours. You can make a graceful exit with the following:

YOU:  “Are you always this charming, or are you making a special effort on my behalf?  In that case, please don’t put yourself out.” Make sure you say it with just a hint of sarcasm.


YOU:  “Oh by the way, the lost and found is just down the street, in case you’re looking for your sense of humor.”

So there you have it, Lara’s List of opening lines…Now go out there and capture the moment!

NB:  I was going to end the post here but I just couldn’t leave it without mentioning my all time favorite capture the moment line. Charlie McArthur a Chicago journalist and playwright said it the first time he met the legendary actress Helen Hayes.  They were at high-society part together when he approached her and offered her some peanuts.  As he put them into her hand, he said, “I wish they were emeralds.”


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Seize the Moment

On a recent business trip to Sydney, sandwiched somewhere in between client dinners and early morning calls to my office back in Canada, I managed to catch up with my dear friend Lara. Artsy and cool in her trademark black, Lara is an amazingly talented make up artist with a wicked sense of humor. Her line of work often puts her in the company of some of Sydney’s best looking and most talented men – many of whom also happen to be gay.

To supplement the film and commercial work that often comes her way, she also does weddings.  What she does is nothing short of magical as she transforms people, at least on the outside, with the stroke a blush brush.  In her line of work, she has given more than her fair share of pep talks, reality checks and advice to nervous brides and even the occasional bewildered groom.  So when Lara says most of the great guys she knows are either gay or married, she knows from whence she speaks.

Over a couple of glasses of Yarra Valley Chardonnay we updated each other on our respective close encounters of the sexual kind.  The trouble is Lara lamented; it’s been so long that I don’t think I even know how to meet a man let alone just have sex with him.  She went on to describe those “moments” we’ve all had where we pass a stranger on the street, meet in an elevator, or exchange a glance across a crowded room and we connect. And just as quickly as it happens, the connection is broken and the moment is gone.

Given her outgoing nature and her ability to talk to anyone, I wondered why she didn’t say anything. She, like many of us over 40, said she felt that it was up to the guy to make the first move.  Yes but if you’re waiting for a guy to make the first move, you have to offer a little encouragement, right?

I thought about my own situation and concluded that the key to either creating or prolonging those moments is to look “approachable”   In fact; the last man who approached me did so because I smiled at him when we made eye contact.  However, as I explained to Lara, unbeknownst to him I wasn’t exactly smiling at him, I happened to be smiling to myself at that particular moment when our eyes met.  He’s the one who took it as a signal to proceed.

I wondered if it was that easy why didn’t I do it more often?  Why do I leave so much to chance?  What about deliberately taking chances? Why not smile and mean it. Why not be the one to seize the moment?

What’s stopping us I asked Lara?  Two things Lara said, lack of a good opening line and fear of rejection.  You have to back up that smile up with something.  She was right of course as my mind went over a mental list of “what ifs…” all because I was either too tongue tied or too proud.

Neither of those two issues is insurmountable.  The first requires a bit of preparation and practice and the second is just an attitude adjustment.  What we need is a list of opening lines that prolong the moment and lead the conversation forward Lara said.   I would come up with a list and we both agreed that we would take a chance and try it out.

“What’s the worst that could happen?” I asked.

“Nothing,” she replied.

“So how bad is that?”

In the end we’d be no worse off. And if we had any qualms about what the guy thought, we quickly laid those aside because after all who cares what a stranger thinks?  It’s what we think that counts.  And at that moment we were thinking that this could be fun.

Coming soon…Lara’s lines

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/DNY59

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Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.  ~Winston Churchill

Telling the truth to a stranger is easy. Telling the truth to a lover is much more complicated and delicate. And in the handful of relationships I’ve had over the last few years, I have yet to meet the man who could speak his own truth. I have always had to do it for him.

My brother Mike shakes his head in disbelief at the sorry state of manhood today, one that requires his sister to “man-up” and do all of the work. But on some level he gets it. Breakups aren’t easy and sometimes they can be messy. Still it’s as puzzling to him as it is to me.

In an attempt to get some clarity, I once asked one of these men why he just didn’t tell me he’d had a change of heart.   He said it was because he was afraid I would get too emotional because I got emotional just asking the question.  I will admit to watery eyes but at least my voice was steady.

The shift from boyfriend to let’s be friends happened so quickly I was caught off guard – thus the watery eyes.  Believe me; I’d rather chew broken glass than break down in front of a man. In most cases goodbyes come as no surprise. The signs are everywhere.

From the male point of view, it seems it’s much easier to be the gradually disappearing man, to show me rather than tell me that he has changed his mind.  As the daily phone calls, e-mails, texts evolveto every second, third or fourth day and then a week or two, you can hear him asking himself, “How much longer do I have to keep this up, so I don’t look like a complete jerk, and she gets the message?”

Sadly, his thought process has nothing to do with me and everything to do with his self- image and his ability to look himself in the mirror every morning. It’s the age-old question of: is it better to rip off the Band-aid with one tug, or progressively, painfully peel it back?

I am an advocate for the former method.  Tell me and tell me now! Gradually peeling the Band-aid back allows all sorts of nasty things to get between your skin and that protective covering you called a relationship. It keeps me wondering, waiting and — worst of all — hoping.  I magnify every contact and examine it for hidden meanings.  Didn’t we just have a great conversation?  Didn’t he compliment me over dinner?  He just said “we…” But false hope is nothing but a false friend.  Don’t count on it.

If you allow the connection to linger, your confidence and self-esteem become infected by doubt.  All of a sudden, you’re questioning your looks, career, even your taste in décor.  And you’ll find yourself asking:  What could I have done differently? What do I have change in order to heal the wound?

Sure, ripping off the Band-aid does sting, whether you do it or someone else does it. But when it’s done, it’s done.  Tugging at it a little at a time only opens you up for a prolonged and painful separation.  Either way the outcome is still the same.

Given the fact that, today, there are so many ways to break up — e-mail, voice mail, texting, via your personal assistant (located in India), and the infamous Post-It note — it really begs the question: Is breaking up all that hard to do?

If you have a good/bad break up story, I’d love to hear about it.

*Excerpted from the book

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/jrroman

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I don’t think anyone can go to New Orleans and not leave without out at least having her cards or palm read. Psychics and readers abound, with a few of the more daring souls having set up shop with their folding chairs in front of the venerable old St. Louis Cathedral. As prognostication is a black art and usually frowned on by the church, I thought I’d play it safe and have my cards read around the corner on Royal Street.  But not before stopping into the old Cathedral, lighting a candle, saying a prayer, and making the perfunctory “first time” wish – granted to all Catholics every time we visit a new church.

Talk about hedging my bets.  Hey, we’re talking cards here, right?

Play the hand you’re dealt

I took the cards and shuffled the deck and laid out my choices before Shelley the Seer.  As I turned a card over and saw the very scary face of what looked like the devil – I wondered if I could trade in a few cards for a better hand.  I asked Shelly, and she told me, “This isn’t poker you know. You play the hand you’re dealt.”  Okay, okay I thought.  This is why God doesn’t allow us to see around corners, and why shortcuts to the future are only for fun.

Shelley gave me a dream reading, one that all single women would love to hear. The scary card was actually my karma card – uh oh!   And the card that went with it – some sort of tree with lots of branches – foretold a new love … a love like no other with someone I would recognize the moment I finally met him.  It was someone from a past life and thus the connection to karma. But she warned me that I had to be open.

What me, not open?  Of course I’m open – you only have to look at my recent dating / relationship history to see that I was perhaps a bit too open.  Upon further reflection, however, it occurred to me that there is a big difference between being open and being available.  And now fate was presenting me with a good opportunity to learn the difference.

In this case, being open meant looking at all of the possibilities regardless of who they were.  And since I have been wandering in a non-dating desert for several months now, any karmic strangers appearing on the horizon now would be hard to miss.  All I had to do was meet him for the first time – again.

The reading made me think of the newly released song, by Michael Buble about not yet meeting the right person.  It’s a love song about being open to the possibilities despite previous set backs in love.  It’s a song about keeping the faith with yourself and with the whatever the universe, or God, has in store.

Who knows if it’s really the cards or the candle that dictates one’s fate?   In the end it doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is the belief that secret hopes or silent prayers are always answered.  Perhaps it might not be in the way Shelley or I had imagined, but hey that’s the future for you; it’s always full of surprises.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/creatista

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A little knowledge..


If  I’ve learned one thing since my divorce it’s  this —  When it comes to having sex,  men are like apples.  All you have to do is pick  one.  Having said that keep in mind what happened to Eve.


Photo: © iStockphoto.com/DNY59

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