Kathryn's Blog: For and About Men

Why men behave weirdly…

OnlineBootyCall does it again—horrid site with dreadful premise, but they do have a sense of humor over there. 

“Men get a bad rap for leading women on when we’re really just not that into them,” but according to Moses Brown, Founder of Online Booty Call, “women play a part in it too. If the ladies would relax and read the obvious signals we give them, they’d understand that most of the time it’s nothing personal. I’m just not that into you.”

Here are the Top 10 indicators that your date is just not that into you:

10. He tells you he’s just not that into you
9. He tells you he isn’t ready to settle down into a relationship
8. Doesn’t give you a hug or a kiss goodbye
7. He doesn’t call and makes poor excuses like his cell phone died
6. He suggests you date one of his friends, or asks for one of your friend’s phone numbers
5. Shows up with his wife or girlfriend to the party you invited him to
4. You find him at the club showing off his moves to some other girl on the dance floor
3. He doesn’t want to come upstairs and says he has an early meeting
2. If he doesn’t know your last name, he’s really not that into you
1. If he doesn’t call to thank you after taking him to a Lakers playoff game, lets face it, he’s just not into you


Niche sites for gay men who are HIV positive

Here’s a piece for the gay community, though as we know, HIV is an issue for gays and straights.  It introduced me to terms I hadn’t heard before—do you know what a pozzer is?  Well, read and find out.  But the sites listed offer a real service to an important and under served population.

HIV+ Dating Sites Offer an Alternative
by Ambrose Aban
EDGE Contributor
Friday Jun 27, 2008

“Poz-only” dating sites have finally arrived online. Their owners are hoping they help people infected with HIV meet others without the fear and exclusion they might encounter on other gay dating sites. Even more, they hope to foster a sense of belonging within a larger HIV-positive community.

The focus is one of being out and proud as an HIV-positive gay man--and away from the stigma of HIV. The sites also give the men a forum to talk about it. The hope is that, when the secrecy and shame of it is removed, HIV will lose some of its power over their lives.

The sites include BeOneCity, launched recently in Los Angeles, PositiveSingles, PozitiveLiving, PozMatch.com, PositivePersonals--all personals web sites for HIV+ people.

Angelenos Peter Brook and David Purdue created BeOneCity. Brooks says his site fills the void he found online when he seroconverted not so long ago. “We intend to expand our online services to provide a global HIV positive ’sister’ site within a year that will serve the heterosexual positive community,” Brook says.

BeOneCity isn’t your typical dating or meet-up site. For one thing, it offers relevant news. It also aims to be a forum for pozzers. But like the others, it is above all a relationship site catering to those living with the virus.

“We bridge the gap between the myriad non-profit and for-profit HIV organizations, all working against HIV,” Brook says. “We put a lot of effort into supporting other groups and partnering with them. This offers us a real-world focus for us and for our members, and gives us a community experience in the real world--something often neglected from our life with HIV.”

Why Self-Serosort?
The policy among many gay men remains “don’t ask, don’t tell” on dating sites. General gay sites like Manhunt also currently offers serosorting for its members as well. “We know being able to serosort is valuable to many of our HIV-positive members,” Manhunt’s new chief marketing officer told EDGE.

Robert Brandon Sandor founded Poz4Poz, a series of parties for pozzers a decade ago and the new HIV-UB2.Net (http://www.hiv-ub2.net). He has been a strong advocate for serosorting among gay men.

“Years ago, those who tested HIV-positive had few places to turn for support,” he says. “Fortunately, much has changed. We know more about HIV now. No one is going to be infected with HIV if they have sex with partners who are sharing the same serostatus.”

Many organizations and HIV experts have not embraced serosorting. Although serosorting is entirely based on the foundation of trust, it is still a good way to reduce (if not stop) the spread of HIV to negative men, Sandor argues.

The men who have developed these sites say they are driven by a strong social mission. They believe that their sites can be unifying places where they can mobilize together to help stop HIV. Part of the reason for such sites now is the movement away from HIV from an eventual death sentence to a far more manageable condition.

This is true for straight men living with HIV as well as gay men. Donald Johnson, who founded PositiveLiving.com in 1997 in Austin, Texas, shortly after he was diagnosed with HIV, created his site at a time when there was no way to meet other pozzers.

Like other most online dating sites, Johnson’s site lets users post statistics from height to education, as well a paragraph describing what they are looking for in a relationship. The site also includes advertisements from people looking for roommates or potential friends. If two people decide they want to meet, it is up to them to exchange phone numbers and addresses through e-mail. So far, the free Web service averages 100,000 unique visitors per month, many of them international users.

For Johnson, the success of the site is especially sweet because he met his new wife after she posted a personal ad.

A Safe Space
Chad Morrett, who created and runs PositivePersonals out of Seattle, said the Internet provides a safe, secure place to meet others living with a disease that can be difficult to discuss in person. “When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know anyone else who was HIV-positive,’’ Morrett told a Florida newspaper, recently. “It was a little frightening.’’

AIDS advocates say many people prefer to use online dating services because they provide a sense of control. Also, those on other dating sites might be scared off by the disease--or tell others, says Terje Anderson, director of the National Association of People With AIDS.

“If you do tell someone you’re HIV-positive and do it face to face in a small town, you don’t know what that person will do with the information,” adds Anderson. On these sites, they can put their HIV status out there with an ad, but still be anonymous.

PositivesDating, founded by best friends, Brandon Koechlin and Paul Graves, both 24, in Columbus, Ohio, in 2005, offers free and paid memberships. Visitors can log in to the site’s chat rooms and search through thousands of available member profiles. Paid memberships allow users to keep in contact via e-mail and see who’s been viewing their profiles.

The founders told Entrepreneur, that during the first four months, PositivesDating operated as a free site to build membership. They also sent out informational postcards to support groups all over the country, such as AIDS Project Los Angeles. PositivesDating has close to 2,500 paid members. Monthly memberships start around $14 a month.

As on dating sites like eHarmony, users can take a personality profile survey, after which they receive an analysis of their personality type and what kind of partner would best suit them. They also receive a list of possible member matches based on their characteristics and personality.

These sites tell you that testing positive is not the end of your life or the end of your chances at love. They certainly tell you that it is not the end of your great sex life. The sites are saying that testing positive is, while a tough thing to hear and a tough challenge to overcome, also offers a new beginning.

In fact, the sites’ growing popularity could lead to a battle against the non-serosorting sites like Manhunt and Adam4Adam.

The sites can make the claim to be fighting AIDS in other ways BeOneCity donates 20 percent of proceeds to charities, the American Foundation for AIDS Research and Keep a Child Alive.

Brooks considers it his mission to help educate people to the fact that HIV is not a death sentence. He became HIV positive fairly recently. Although he was gay, he was fairly naïve about the disease. He thought of HIV as a disease that would never happen to him.

“I was simply too smart and too careful to get it,” he says. “I realized my criteria for understanding HIV and indeed understanding myself, was quite lacking. Very quickly I realized that I was ’blessed’ to have contracted HIV in a new era when it is no longer aligned with death and decay; rather it is now a chronic and fairly manageable disease and thankfully, I can expect to live a long life.”

BeOneCity’s articles and links are selected to help people cope with HIV. “You Are Not Alone”, for example, was recently published for the newly diagnosed. Authors Jim Lewis and Michael Slocum, formerly of BodyPositive (http://www.bodypositive.com), discuss the difference between HIV and AIDS.

All the sites also share a common love of sharing and listening.

Finding out that you are infected can be overwhelming. Testing HIV-positive has led some people to quit their jobs, quickly write out their wills, and say goodbye to their friends and family, only to discover that they aren’t sick and will probably live for many years to come.

But one of the truths of joining these sites after you’ve been infected with HIV is that once you know, you can never not know again. Life will always be different. You may be experiencing great feelings of loss about this. You may feel that certain areas of your life are now in the hands of doctors, insurance companies, or symptoms. This can make you feel as though you have less control over your own life and may cause you incredible anxiety. And you’re far from alone: Today, over 1 million Americans are infected with HIV.

“A lot of people afflicted with HIV become social outcasts,” Brook says. Maybe that’s why BeOneCity and other sites have attracted members from as far away as India and Africa. Membership encompasses men and women gay and straight, aged 25 to 70 and from several ethnic backgrounds.

“There is no need for you to handle your loneliness and fear by yourself, and it is probably a mistake even to try to do it alone,” Brook says. “Just hearing how someone else has adjusted to living with the virus can be enough to help you realize that life is still good, that you can still have love and laughter.”

If there is one complaint, it comes from Sandor. Ever the activist, he believes that these sites should discuss serosorting itself. “There are three forms of serosorting,” he says, “and two involve safe sex--but none of the sites stress the importance of serosorting.”

“BeOneCity is a nice site and I understand its usefulness, but I really wish sites like these weren’t necessary,” says Nir Zilberman, the founder of Just One LA (http://www.justonela.com). “As gay men and women, we are all one community. I don’t understand why we need to divide ourselves into smaller segments”

Brook obviously disagrees: “We offer a safe place to unite together. At BeOneCity we can be ourselves, without the judgment or the stigma we often experience from the outside world because of our HIV status.”

Research shows positive guys want to date, hang out and hook-up with other positive guys. But Brook disagrees with Sandor’s straight-down-the-line position on serosorting.

“It takes the disclosure, the worry and any legal issues out of the equation and it provides us with the assurance that there is no chance for us to spread HIV,” Brook says. “We do not suggest that positive guys should not be with negative guys. I have had negative boyfriends myself, and you cannot stop love or lust with your serostatus--nor should you.”


Finally a site for gay men who want a partner

I met the man who’s behind myPartner.com, a site for gay men looking for long term relationships.  Pat Perrine is just the guy to do this, too.  This site fills an important niche (how come when you you start talking about finding love, everything sounds sexy?), thanks, Pat!

Single Shot: Finding Mr. Right


So I met a fabulous new man the other night.

His name was William and he was funny, handsome, smart and loaded with Southern charm. He also was gay, as were all the guys I met at the Finding Mr. Right party down at the W last week, a swanky singles mingle sponsored by myPartner.com, a relationship-based matchmaking service for “today’s gay man.”

What was a straight girl like me doing at an event like that?

Not looking for a new boyfriend, obviously, although everybody else was. And not just for an hour, a night or a weekend. Despite those crusty old assumptions about gay relationships being strictly about sex and nothing else, these guys were looking for a sweetheart, a soul mate, the old ball and chain.

And I was there to check it out—to hear a few dating stories from the other side of the fence and see if gay matchmaking events were every bit as dorky and awkward as straight matchmaking events.

At first glance, signs seemed to point to yes. There were the obligatory name tags: Hi, my name is Fish Out of Water! The corny cocktails: the Pink Twink and the Man-Trimony. And there were those all-important reindeer games—or at least the promise of them. Sprinkled around the bar and entryway were light blue “flirt cards” imprinted with icebreakers like “I could bring you home to Mom” and “Is it hot in here?” A matching blue flier spoke of a “fun, interactive dating game” to be held later that night. Men fidgeted on one side of the room. Guys shuffled their feet on the other. In the middle, a clutch of confident kids sipped and socialized.

Why is it that no matter how old we get, singles events always manage to take us right back to seventh grade?

Sidling up to the bar, I ordered a martini (straight up, naturally) and started commiserating with William and my buddy Frank about the single life in Seattle. Oddly enough, we all had the same complaints: the married guys who troll for dates on Craigslist, the annoying questions from family members about when we’re going to settle down, the difficulty of making a connection here in the No-Eye-Contact-Northwest.

“I think the best way to meet somebody is through friends or while you’re doing something you love,” said William, grabbing a couple of spiced chickpeas, the closest thing to female companions I could find in the place. “Then you just can be yourself and not put on some big PR show, which is what I hate about dating.”

The “big PR show” is what everybody hates about dating, especially when you’re dating for keeps.

And finding a keeper—via flirt cards or goofy games or whatever else might inspire that elusive thing called chemistry—was what this evening was all about.

Which, according to Patrick Perrine of myPartner.com, was sort of big news.

Two years ago, there weren’t any online dating sites specifically designed to help gay men find long-term partners. There were plenty of services that tracked down soul mates for straights—eHarmony, PerfectMatch, Chemistry, etc.—but gays hoping to meet a man and settle down either had to use a generic dating service (provided it was open to them) or try their luck on gay-centric sites where LTRs weren’t necessarily the focus (on Manhunt, the motto is a succinct and salacious: “Get on. Get off.").

Perrine, the founder and chief executive officer of myPartner, saw a niche and went for it, expanding his private yenta business into a full-blown online dating and matchmaking service that he launched last June. Ironically, the site went live the same week the nation’s best-known soul mate site—eHarmony—was slapped with a lawsuit for violating a California law prohibiting businesses from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation.

From a business perspective, myPartner isn’t really all that different from eHarmony (if you scrunch your eyes just right, anyway). Both services offer a complex compatibility system with questions designed to help members find their perfect mate.

It’s just that on eHarmony they ask you about the last book you read and enjoyed, and on myPartner, they ask what you like to read and whether you’re a top or a bottom. Plus a slew of other questions that don’t apply to straights: if you’ve come out to your family, if you’re comfortable taking a partner to a work event, if you’re into bears.

“eHarmony developed their matchmaking system based on research they did with studies of heterosexual married couples,” Perrine said. “Our compatibility system has been designed for gay men by gay men. We follow a lot of the same methodology but it’s specific to our community.”

Today, the site has nearly 75,000 members nationwide, 95 percent of whom are looking for a sexually monogamous relationship. For Perrine, that number is significant—he’s not only interested in matchmaking, but myth busting.

“We’re here to debunk the myth that gay men aren’t interested in finding lasting relationships,” he said. “You don’t spend an hour going through our compatibility system because you’re looking for a hookup.”

I spent an hour at his party, then bowed out, wondering on my way home if sweet, smart William would make any love connections that night. He wasn’t my Mr. Right, nor was I his, but I was still rooting for the big lug.

The next morning, I got my answer.

“A party full of guys and I get cards from two women!” he wrote in an e-mail.

Hey, nobody’s perfect.


Love those men in uniforms?

Years ago, when I was practicing as a psychotherapist in a rural Maine town, I saw a man who was in trouble at work because he had been reported for running across a field in women’s lingerie.  That wasn’t the worst of it: His job was driving truck for a major beer distributor, and the truck with the beer logo plastered all over it was sitting on the roadside by the field.

The message I gave him, and is repeated in the story below, was: Don’t mix your work life with your sexuality!  Particularly if your work life is easily identifiable. 

Mountie rapped for ad seeking transsexual date
Officer posed in red serge, said he sought relationships with transgendered Thais
Matthew Ramsey, The Province
Published: Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Lower Mainland Mountie has received informal discipline for posting a dating profile online, using a picture of himself in a red serge uniform, to find transgendered and transsexual mates.

“I am looking to meet mature Thai women who are interested in a sincere friendship that can develop into a LTR [long-term relationship] and possible marriage,” wrote “Dave” on the thaikisses.com site.

“Special interest towards TS [transsexual], TG [transgendered] women. Any nice Katoey women looking for a serious LTR.” “Katoey” is a Thai term that typically refers to male-to-female transgendered persons, commonly known in English as “ladyboys.”

Dave identified himself as a divorced 49-year-old from Vancouver who would travel the world if he won a lottery and likes the beach and TV.

He listed his qualities as “humorous, loyal, honest, attractive, realistic, quiet, tolerant, attentive, shy, friendly, sympathetic, fond of children, intelligent, romantic.”

“Dave" registered his profile on Sept. 3, 2006. Senior officers were not aware of the posting until late March.

Staff Sgt. John Ward told The Province it’s “totally inappropriate” for any member to use the RCMP uniform, insignia and their identification as an officer in the context of an online dating forum.

“Dave" has removed RCMP reference from the site, Ward noted.

The RCMP’s chief concern for members revealing their jobs on online social sites is operational, Ward said.

“You might be telling people where you work, who you are, what you are doing,” he said.

Ward declined to reveal any details about “Dave” except that he has been with the force for a “number of years” and his unit commander initiated the discipline process.

Shawnigan Lake RCMP Const. Trent Richards was ordered to resign in February after it was revealed he used plentyoffish.com, flirtbox.com and ratemybody.com to seek sexual partners while on shift. Richards also posted images of himself in the iconic red serge.


Me in a Men’s Magazine? NOT the centerfold…

I got a request a few weeks back for comments about AshleyMadison.com and similar sites which are set up to help married folks who want to have extramarital affairs.  One would wonder: Do these folks really need help?  Well, yes, I think so, but not the kind of help these sites try to give.  That said, I do have comments and wrote them back to the article’s author.  Don’t know if or when my words will be in print (this has got to be a first for me, being quoted in a man’s mag), but I will let you know when and if the time comes.

Here are the writer’s questions (in red) and my response:

You’ve been critical of Ashley Madison and similar sites in the past. No sane person would “condone” infidelity, so beyond that, what’s your criticism? Do you not like how they do business? Do you find them dishonest? Do you think it allows people in unhappy relationships a too-easy way out?

I’m a Romance Coach now, working with singles to help them find a Sweetheart using online dating sites.  So married people who use sites set up for singles to find love are a real problem.  But also, I’ve been a psychotherapist for over 30 years, and my specialty as a therapist was helping married couples when one partner had had an affair.  So I have seen the devastation that occurs with infidelity, way too many times. 

Those prejudices aside, I am actually glad that these sites—like AshleyMadison, IllicitEncounters.com, AdultFriendFinder (not strictly promoting affairs, but certainly providing a venue for all sorts of fringe sexual behaviors), Philanderers.com (not a dating site but full of suggestions on how to successfully have an extramarital affair) – exist. 

Married folks looking for sex outside their marriage (mostly men) have been a problem on the mainstream dating sites like Match.com and Yahoo! Personals.  Speculation has been that as many as 30% of men listing were married (Jupiter Research reported 12% in 2005), though of course they stated otherwise.  Sites springing up like AshleyMadison.com give these people a place to go and act out their fantasies without contaminating the pool of singles who are honestly and straightforwardly looking for a legitimate, above-board monogamous relationship.  In the last couple of years, I have not heard as many complaints about married men on mainstream sites.  I suspect that they have migrated to AshleyMadison and the like, either because the sites exist, or because of the fear of being found out, a real likelihood when profiles without pictures don’t get looked at.  Good riddance.

That said, joining one of these sites is does not signify one of life’s high points.  While the titillation of sex and “romance” are strong, just the premise of an affair – lying to and betraying one’s spouse – is the nadir of sleaze.  And everyone there is of similar character quality.  Yick. 

If you find yourself tempted to patronize sites set up to allow you to misbehave, you need to look back at yourself and question how you got here in the first place.  What does participating in lying and deceit say about you?  Is that what you want, to be a liar and a cheat?  Would you like to have people say, after you die, he was an enthusiastic player on infidelity websites?  He (she) really screwed over his (her) wife (or husband)?  That you were so self-absorbed and self-centered that you could justify all kinds of bad behavior to get what you wanted?  Don’t delude yourself: People can and do find out.  If this is what you have to do to get sex and a parody of romance, you need to do some character work, pronto. 

P. S.  Guys, your fantasy of finding a willing woman on one of these websites to have an affair with is probably destined for failure.  Men FAR outnumber women on these sites. 


Guys get scammed, too…

Men are not immune from being scammed.  Here’s advice from a site call Russian Women Blacklist, with both hints on how to identify a possible scam as well as how to protect yourself:

Avoiding being scammed is, in fact, easy.
The simple rule of thumb is: DO NOT SEND MONEY.
Men who end up being scammed manage to ignore numerous red flags on their way in.

Anyway, here are a few thoughts you might find useful:

• All services on this site, as well as any other reputable dating service, ARE FREE FOR WOMEN. Internet access in Russia is more or less affordable these days to anyone. Quite a few people have computers at home, even more at work. Even if a girl has to use an internet cafe of a kind, the fees there would not be so unbearable, that she has to ask you to sponsor her correspondence if she is interested in corresponding with you.

• Be realistic. Unless you are a rich movie/pop/sports star, it is rather unlikely that a model looking girl will fall deeply in love with you right after your first letter.
This is NOT serious relationship you are looking for

Plots mainly utilized by scammers are not so many

a) A US visa is hard to get, but there is a tourist agency that has connections with the US consulate and the problem can be taken care of for $1000.
No matter how much of your $1000 the ‘tourist agency’ is willing to pay at the consulate/embassy, this just CANNOT be enough to bribe the consul.
Unless you have a senator friend who can personally call the embassy, practically the only way for a single girl to get into the US is by means of FIANCEE VISA you have to apply for. You do not have to marry a girl you invited on a fiancee visa, you can apply for as many visas as you wish later, as long as it is one at a time.

b) After you get the first very promising response from a girl, she disappears for a week, then comes up with a tragic story: father (mother) needs money for urgent heart surgery, or she (her father) has been in a road accident and the mob now wants $$$ in damages or she (her kid sister) is to become a sex slave to a mafia boss, or she has lost her job, or a combination of the above.
The possibility of such a story to be true is very low. Moreover, it is very unlikely that a person has nobody but a resent Internet acquaintance to ask for help when something bad does, in fact, happen. And, on top of that, it very unlikely that a good Russian woman would do so too. Use your discretion.


Cads to watch out for

An amusing take on Internet dating cads, right out of Merry Old England:

Warning: don’t date these men!

a woman at a computer

When dating online, you’ll probably end up sifting through a lot of dodgy profiles before you find your perfect match. We’ve saved you the ground work and identified six toxic types you’ll meet on the web dating scene

The serial online dating addict

For the serial online dater (let’s call him S.O.D.), the novelty of the new date never wears off. You may think he’s going out with you, but he will never stop hunting for other women online. He’ll never love you as much as he loves the thrill of the online chase.

How to spot him
He’s probably been an active member of a dating site for many months, or even years. He seems to be online all the time. His photo is handsome and he’s open-minded about the kind of woman he wants. It’s not that he can’t get a date, it’s that he can’t get enough.

Sadly, the only real way to tell an S.O.D. is once you’re going out with him. A month or two in, he seems smitten. But he hasn’t taken his profile down, and he’s still logging in. You have to confront him, tell him it’s you or the website. A man who wants to keep you hanging on while he keeps his options open isn’t man enough for you.

The self-esteem leech

Nothing you do is ever good enough for this control freak. You spend hours making him a mix CD of your favourite songs, and he criticises your taste. You slave in the kitchen over a three-course meal, and he sneers at it like a restaurant critic. Dare to gain a couple of pounds, and you’ll get a lecture about carbs.

Do not give him the time of day. He demands perfection for you while failing to notice his own faults, and he expects you to share all his tastes rather than having a mind of your own.

How to spot him
A self-esteem leech is not easy to spot, because when he’s chasing you he’s devastatingly charming. It’s only once you’re ‘his woman’ that he’ll start to chip away at your confidence.

But once you’ve found the strength to dump him, you will quickly realise that you’re better off without him.

The computer dating gamer

The dating scene has always been full of game-players, but the online dating gamer is a special breed. He treats online dating like a computer game. He creates a profile that bears little relation to reality, and has hours of fun seeing how many ‘hits’ he can score.

He’ll enjoy flirting with you and whipping you into excitement, but will never meet you.

How to spot him
The gamer may give himself away through weird inconsistencies in his profile or emails. He’ll lose interest quickly and never meet you for an offline date.

The rebounder

A dumpee can be a very enthusiastic boyfriend. He’s grateful for your affection and desperate to prove to his ex that he’s happy without her. And that’s the point: it’s all about his ex, not you.

The rebounder still thinks about her first thing in the morning and last thing at night. He’ll never stop hoping for a reconciliation. If she offers any hint of hope, you won’t see him for dust.

How to spot him
He’ll probably fill his profile with veiled references to his heartache and not-so-veiled criticisms of his ex. ‘I’m looking for a woman who won’t slag off my clothes and make me spend weekends with her mother’ is the mark of a man who’s stuck in the past.

Don’t assume that separated or divorced men are rebounders. It takes time and courage to walk away from a marriage, so chances are he’s had a while to get over it.

The married man

Dating websites aren’t quite the adulterous knocking shops that some believe them to be. But online, just as in any bar, you’re bound to find men in search of some extra-marital pulling.

How to spot him
The biggest clue is the absence of a photo on his profile. He won’t include much personal info either, and when you start emailing he’ll neatly sidestep your questions.

He may want to meet up quickly rather than get caught up in a three-week email bonding session, and he’ll only see you at odd times, perhaps a bit of Wednesday afternoon delight or a weekday evening rendezvous.

He’s not keen on weekend dates, because he has other commitments. Like a wife and two kids!

The pretty boy

You say you want a man who is wise, witty and kind to animals. But when you’re browsing online profiles, you click on the ones with pretty faces. It’s human nature.

Worse, dating a guy who is better looking than you will leave you feeling insecure. You know that he can get any woman he wants, so you’ll always be looking over your shoulder. My tip: use him for sex and move on.


Age is just a number?

Guys, women of all ages find it creepy when you state that you are looking for a female partner 10 or more years younger than you are.  It’s not uncommon to see profiles where men are looking for a woman half their age or less.  While women who are age mates of the guys in question find the desires for young and nubile flesh offensive, so do the young women in question.  The most common explanation is that the guys have money to offer in exchange for youth and beauty: that in itself is creepy.  Not a far step from what made Eliot Spitzer lose his job. 

Fellas, get real: Take a look at your license and figure out how old you are, and then go out and take a good look at women in the range of 5 years on either side of your own age.  That is your target market, women most likely to appreciate you, along with your wrinkles and gray hair.  They’ll also understand why you don’t want to go to night clubs, have to take Viagra, and don’t want to support them while they finish their education. 

Read below an excerpt from a piece by Moniqa Paullet, a young 20-something, about approaches from older men:
Age is more than just a number in relationships
By: Moniqa Paullet

Everyone has heard the adage “Age is just a number.” Young women use it to prove they aren’t immature idiots and older men to show they are not creepy or lecherous. There is some truth to it in that every individual is at a different place in life and cannot necessarily be lumped into the stereotypes of a particular age group. I’ve met some more mature people my age once or twice.

But on the same note, every individual is different and should be judged individually without the bias the lines on a face may instill.

Does that mean I’m so open-minded as to be flattered by middle-aged men checking out my online profiles on networking sites? No.

Simply put, a 21-year-old woman is definitely in a different place in her life than an older person and is going to need different things from a relationship than he needs or is looking for.

I plan to graduate in May and go on to graduate school, better myself through education and hopefully learn more about myself and what I want in life along the way. Though smart and often mistaken for someone in her mid to late-20s because of my demeanor, I am not looking for a mature, committed relationship because I do not even know what I really want from a relationship yet. I do know I don’t want to help someone have a good time and feel young again.

I’m sorry to judge like that. And I’m also sorry if you are different and you are on a much younger emotional level than your years belie because I’m pretty sure I don’t want to help you grow up either.

Some will forever argue age is nothing more than a number, but it’s still a pretty good indicator of where a person is or ought to be in his or her life and needs in the dating world.

I try to be open-minded, but I still think people ought to at least act their age.


You don’t have to be a “10” to find love, even after 50

If you are over 40 and don’t think that that online dating “works,” take a look at the piece below, the “Vows" section of the Sunday New York Times, March 23. Diane Cole and Philip Barnett found each other on JDate in 2002.  Now 55 and 61 respectively, they had each been married and widowed.  If you can still access the Times article, take a look at the little video that accompanies the write-up.  It’s sweet, but you’ll get to see that these are two ordinary people with an extraordinary story. 

You’ll also get a perspective on the experience of a 50ish widower on a dating site: These guys are pretty popular.  Just like pretty women under 35, single men, particularly those who are widowed or divorced, are desirable commodities.  Older men who have been married tend to like being so, and will go about getting themselves married again in pretty short order.  As Philip says in the video, there are many more widows than widowers, so even though ideally, men and women should have some time between a divorce or death and a remarriage, these folks are good risks, since they are experienced at being coupled and want to do it again. 

Diane Cole and Philip Barnett

WHEN an armed band of American Muslim militants invaded several buildings in Washington on March 9, 1977, Diane Cole, then 24, became one of more than 100 hostages. The gunmen threatened to decapitate captives before she and the others were released 39 hours later.

As Ms. Cole sat in fear, pondering her fate, Philip Barnett was in Spring Valley, N.Y., and unable to sleep; his wife’s uncle was also one of the hostages. He recently recalled how he had wondered about the others being held, and how he had prayed for all of them. Dr. Barnett, now 61, would eventually come to know Ms. Cole, 55, but only after they both found themselves widowed and alone after long marriages.

Even before those frightening hours in Washington, Ms. Cole, who became an author and a contributing editor for U.S. News & World Report, had been tempered by heartbreak. Her first husband, Peter Baida, nearly died of cancer while they were dating as students at Harvard. As Mr. Baida fought for his life, her mother died of cancer. From that crucible came her 1992 memoir, “After Great Pain: A New Life Emerges.”

That book ended on a note of optimism. Yet for a living memoirist, there are always new chapters. When Mr. Baida died in 1999, he left her with a 10-year-old son, Edward, and a message: grief should not trump joy.

“All the things she has endured could have crushed someone with less fortitude and spirit,” her cousin Judy Rousuck said. It was two years before she was ready to “move away from the cold terrain of grief,” Ms. Cole said. “I wanted warming up. I wanted romance.”

She turned to the Web, but men she encountered were filled with bitterness about past relationships. “I needed someone who spoke in tones less bitter and more sweet,” she said.

When she saw Dr. Barnett’s online profile in April 2002, she sent him an e-mail message. In his response, he offered understanding, noting that his own son and daughter were grown when his wife, Sarah, died, whereas Ms. Cole was left to fend for a young child. He also explained he was busily fielding e-mail from other women. “I never had such attention,” he wrote. “I married the only girl I ever dated, and the only one who really spoke to me.”

Nevertheless, they began an e-mail exchange that uncovered that both had longstanding interests in baseball, classical music and Jewish philosophy. But when she offered her phone number, he replied, “I feel more comfortable writing rather than speaking.”

In that same exchange he again mentioned the long list of women, but then dangled encouragement. “Few of these women are as interesting as you are,” he wrote.

In May they agreed to meet for dinner on the Upper East Side. For her, it was “comfort at first sight,” she said. Before parting she gave him a copy of her memoir, which Dr. Barnett, a professor and science reference librarian at City College in Manhattan, stayed up into that night reading.

They started seeing each other regularly, sometimes with Edward. Ms. Cole was touched by Dr. Barnett’s “sweetness, honesty, modesty and sense of humor, not to mention his intellectual curiosity,” she recalled. Comfort and healing grew to love, leading the three of them to take trips to Iceland and Norway.

“Diane has a big heart; we’re so compatible,” Dr. Barnett said. “She teaches me Shakespeare. I teach her science. I didn’t think I’d ever be happy again, and I am.”

Last summer they decided to marry. Explaining the timing, Ms. Cole said: “As a mother, my priority was to see my son settled into college life. And then we decided it was time for us to move into the next phase of our lives, too.”

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld led the couple’s ceremony at Bayard’s in Manhattan’s financial district, a party space in a 19th-century mansion that is filled with nautical accents. Ms. Cole, in an off-white cream satin Escada gown with gold sequin straps, stood with Dr. Barnett under the wedding canopy, bringing together past and present for their future.

The parents of her late husband sat up front as Ms. Cole, who wears their son’s wedding band on her right hand, held out a forefinger, on which Dr. Barnett placed the band once worn by her late mother. (The Baidas refer to Dr. Barnett as “their new son-in-law.”) The bride then gave Dr. Barnett a wedding band, one from his first marriage.

“Although many people already thought of us as an old married couple, we wanted to affirm in public our love for each other and this unexpected happiness in our lives,” the bride said before the March 9 ceremony, which happened to fall 31 years after the siege in Washington. “Now I can reframe the anniversary from one of terror to one of joy.”


How to marry a millionaire (a woman!)

Here you go, rich ladies and gorgeous men, a dating site just for you. PocketChange.com hosts a speed dating section: Men 35 and under can apply, based solely on appearance.  They must submit 5 photos for judgment.  Women must be over 35 can apply,and must qualify (solely based on wealth) in one of four ways: Must make more than $500K, have liquid assets, entrusted assets, or a divorce settlement of $4MM+.  (I’ll show my ignorance: How much is $4MM?  I guess if I don’t know, I haven’t got it.)


Men, women, over 55, and scammers

This article is an eye-opener for the men out there.  When we think of risk on the Internet, we tend to think of women, but according to this piece, men are more likely to be targeted than women, and if you are over 55, you are six times more likely to be approached by scammers than young folks.  Of course, older folks would likely be perceived as having more money, and also, they may be more naive about computers and the Net than those who have grown up with them.  I’ve noticed that men are far less concerned about safety than women and often give out their identity and phone numbers in the first email.  Men, guys get scammed too.  You need to be as careful as women have been taught to be.

Web dating scams target older men

Candace Grigsby

Older men most at risk of web dating attacks Men over the age of 55 are the group most vulnerable to money-based scams when internet dating, according to a survey by GetSafeOnline.org.

The internet advice website claims that 25 per cent of men aged 55 and over have been targeted by cyber-criminals, compared to 12 per cent of women. Both groups are six times more likely to be targeted by scammers than 25-34 year olds.

The survey says that, in total, almost a fifth of internet daters have been approached for money while online. Internet fraudsters repeatedly mention their financial difficulties, exploiting the sympathy of online daters in an attempt to extract money.

Victims open themselves up to attacks by revealing personal information when using dating sites, including details about their job and where they live. Sixty-two per cent of people use their real name in their dating profiles, further increasing the risk of identity fraud.

GetSafeOnline.org has teamed up with relationship expert Tracey Cox to raise awareness of staying safe when dating online.

“When you’re looking at a computer screen, it’s much easier to feel relaxed about the person you’re exchanging messages with, which can be a positive way of getting to know someone before you have the pressure of a ‘real’ date. But, just as in the real world, there are people on these sites who you’re better off avoiding,” says Cox.

“Remembering this, along with the advice we are giving to online daters, can help make sure your online dating experience is a positive one,” she added.

Tips on staying safe when dating online

• Choose a well-run, reputable online dating service which will provide some additional safety. For example, look for a site that will protect your anonymity until you choose to reveal personal information
• Online dating is about having fun, but do be careful about how you portray yourself in your profile. For example, using sexual connotations in your online name or email address might get you noticed, but it also signals that you may be less cautious than other members and might attract the wrong people
• Don’t post personal information. Wait until you feel comfortable with an individual before telling them things like your phone number or place of work or address.
• Never give out your bank account details or any other financial information
• Don’t let anyone pressure you into giving away more information than you want to
• Beware of solicitation – watch out for anyone offering financial advice or asking for charitable contributions
• Even if you’re arranging to meet someone, do not give out any unnecessary personal details such as your home address
• If you feel unsure or threatened by someone’s behaviour, stop contact with them immediately


Fuzz and no fuzz, that is the question…

If you are a bald but hairy guy with a few years under your belt, it may pay for you to head to Britain if you are looking for a lady.  According to the survey done by Parship (a British online dating site), British women in general and older British women in particular find balding men with body hair (even on their backs) sexy.  Though the London women seem to prefer guys who defuzz.  Yankee ladies, what’s your opinion? 

Hairy Hunks Find More Favour with British Women
Older women lead the way in preferring men with body hair

Press Dispensary - February 12, 2008 - UK women are leading the trend in Europe for the return of the real man, according to a new survey by online matchmaking firm PARSHIP (http://parship.co.uk). In comparison to women in other European countries, British women are more intensely attracted to a man with body hair and as she gets older her desire for a hairy hunk increases.

One in three (34%) British women say they’d go for a man in the classic virile mould of Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan or Tom Jones, outnumbering the one in four women who’d prefer the smoother option offered by current heartthrobs like Daniel Craig, Johnny Wilkinson and Colin Farrell – a look that has been described as ‘waxed within an inch of their life’. This is in stark contrast to women in other countries of Western Europe, where 31% prefer hairless heroes and just 22% opt for hirsute. David Hasselhoff might be a star in Germany, but a mere 11% of the country’s women would like the thought of smearing sun cream on his hairy chest.

For British women over 30, a hairy man is the acme of masculinity and a smooth body just won’t do. As women get older their desire for body hair in the opposite sex increases. Six in ten (62%) of women over 45 say they find a man with body hair very attractive, compared to just 24% of women under 25. It also happens that a hairy man’s appeal increases the further north you go in the UK – maybe it’s something to do with insulation from cold winds.

Of the 6,500 women polled by PARSHIP, it also found that a lack of hair on a man’s head was not an obstacle to UK women. Just 11% said they wouldn’t date a follicly challenged man, compared to 17% of French and 16% of Italian women.

Dr Victoria Lukats, psychiatrist and dating expert for PARSHIP.co.uk, comments: “The interesting finding from this survey was that women in the UK, compared to other countries in Europe, are more embracing of men with either body hair (including hair on the back) and of male-pattern baldness. It’s also notable that women are more accepting of male body hair as they yet older – this is just as well since it’s well known that testosterone (in combination with genetic factors) leads to both male-pattern baldness and increasing body hair with increasing age. It looks like follicly-challenged men don’t have to be self-concious after all – the vast majority of women simply don’t see it as an issue.”

The hairy hotspots – where females prefer hairy hunks are as follows:
Scotland – 47%
North – 38%
South – 35%
London – 25%
Midlands and Wales – 33%

The bald spots - women who wouldn’t date a bald man are:
South – 2%
Scotland – 4%
Midlands and Wales – 12%
North – 15%
London – 27%


Single Parents Take Note

From ABC News:

Online Alert: Some Pedophiles Date Moms to Reach Kids

Aug. 23, 2007 —

More than 20 million Americans log on to their computers each month looking for love, according to Online Dating Magazine.

While getting to know a potential mate from the privacy of their home may be comforting to some—especially single women getting back in the dating pool—it is not without danger. A growing number of sexual predators and pedophiles are taking advantage of online anonymity and using dating sites to prey on single mothers and their children.

One single mother, who asked that her identity be withheld to protect her daughter, had such an experience.

She met her future husband online and within in six months, the couple were living together. Two years into the relationship they married.

“At the time, it just seemed magical,” she said. “It was the dream come true.”

Discovering the Truth

But FBI agents said they discovered the man’s true intentions when an undercover agent intercepted his e-mails during an online chat. “These e-mails indicated that he actually married the mother to have access to the child,” said FBI Special Agent Deborah McCarley.

Police said lonely women looking for companionship can be easy targets. In this case, the man took advantage of the mother’s vulnerability to get to her 6-year-old daughter.

“I think I was really looking for someone to rescue me, although I didn’t recognize it at the time,” the mother said.

The mother said she decided to speak out for the first time on “Good Morning America” to help other women.

Confronting the Allegations

The woman said she had no idea any abuse was taking place and saw no warning signs until the day the FBI knocked on her door.

“That day I felt like somebody stuck a straw in my ear and sucked out my brain,” she said. “It really just felt like I had been punched in the stomach.”

A tape obtained by “GMA” captured her anguish as she confronted her husband on the phone.

Mother: How could you do this to me?

Husband: How could I do it to anybody? I don’t know.

Mother: How could you do it to her?

Husband: I’m sorry. I have no answer.

Mother: I trusted you!

Husband: I know. You’re right.

Mother: I loved you with all my heart!

Husband: What I have done is evil and it’s wrong and there are going to be a lot of people that are going to hate me now. And I don’t blame any of them.

Not only did her now-former husband molest her daughter, but he also offered the girl to other pedophiles online. Authorities stepped in just in time.

“I’d never say that I was going to kill myself, but there’s times where I wish that I would die,” the mother said.

Now, the couple have divorced. The ex-husband currently is serving 30 years in prison for his crimes, while his victim continues her health process.

“She’s awesome,” the mother said. “She’s doing so well. She’s got her sense of self-worth back, and I’m so proud of her.”

A Disturbing Trend?

This case is just one example of predators using dating sites to supplement their crimes.

After conducting online searches and talking to law enforcement officers around the nation, “GMA” uncovered cases of dangerous online dating situations all across the country.

The research found instances of sex offenders trolling Web sites and not mentioning their pasts, Internet romances that led to beatings and rapes and felons who never addressed their convictions in their dating profiles.

“Once they feel comfortable on that Internet, they feel like they’re shielded because they’re on that computer,” said Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Andy Hill.

True.com is the only major online dating site that runs background screenings on all of its members in order to keep criminals and married people off the site. This includes filing civil lawsuits against convicted felons and registered sex offenders who lie about their records.

“I’m out to get them and I’m serious as a heart attack,” said True.com CEO Herb Vest. “I will get them. I want them off our Web site.”

Celeste Moyers, the director of the Safer Online Dating Alliance, said that if someone wants to do harm, that person will find a way to do it.

“People are caught off guard,” she said. “Even the smartest savviest online dater can be a victim of sexual assault.”

Protecting Yourself

States including New Jersey are considering legislation that will require dating sites to clearly disclose whether or not they conduct background screenings on members.

Even if you aren’t sure the site you use conducts criminal background checks, online dating doesn’t have to be off limits. Check out Safer Online Dating Alliance’s tips for protecting online daters.

Don’t use your personal e-mail address. Create a specific account just for dating. Don’t include information in this new address that would allow a predator to identify you.

Do not post pictures of your children or give out details about their sexes or ages.

Meet new dates in a public place, not at your home.


Skilled Child Molestors

Before becoming a Romance Coach, before meeting my Sweetheart Drew, before I moved to Florida, I lived on the Maine coast and had a mental health private practice in Blue Hill, a classically picturesque village.  Now Drew and I are going to be living in the area summers, and I am picking up on old friendships.  That means dinner parties, and at a recent one, I heard about the existence of a sexual predator in Blue Hill who had been recently exposed in the press.  This man was well-known in the community, and the revelation has been shattering.  When they told me who it was, I was pretty shaken myself.

The stories that the assembled guests told were confusing and conflicting, so the next day, I went to the Blue Hill library and read all the local papers for the past year, tracing the coverage.  And I did a trusty Google search which yielded even more information.  I’ve copied below the excellent article from the Bangor Daily News.  The local Blue Hill paper, the Blue Hill Packet, is not accessible online. 

While this case and the coverage has nothing to do with Internet dating, it does have to do with the skilled sexual predator, which unfortunately, single women (and some men) looking for mates online and off need to watch for: People (usually men) who hook up with vulnerable women who have children they can abuse.  My next blog posting will be more to the point, but this is very interesting reading.  Frankly, I have never seen anything like it.

Blue Hill group confronts effects of sexual abuse through education, support for victims
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

Tucked safely into a craggy coastline that has been an inspiration to centuries of artists and boat builders, Blue Hill seems to be a town with everything. It has good schools, excellent restaurants, breathtaking views of Mount Desert Island, a renowned summer music school and a mountain that serves as a landmark to hikers on far-flung trails. Unlike many small towns in Maine, more than a quarter of the households in Blue Hill have children under the age of 18.

But on Thursday nights, some residents of this seemingly idyllic locale and beyond meet in the basement of the Congregational church to discuss a far less attractive aspect of their community life: pedophilia. The group began meeting in February after a single mother in the area pulled her son out of Liberty School, a project-based experimental high school, because she suspected that an almost two-year relationship between her 17-year-old boy and his 63-year-old mentor had gone dangerously awry.

Her fears were fed when a neighbor gave her an apologetic letter the mentor had written more than 10 years earlier acknowledging his sexual misconduct with another teen boy. Her panic was compounded by a civil suit, filed in Hancock County in December 2006 on behalf of a Rhode Island resident, accusing the same man of sexual abuse in 1994 when the plaintiff was 10 and 11. When the Blue Hill group met last week, two other men in their 20s spoke of uncomfortable encounters and feelings of betrayal regarding their relationships with the man and his wife. One man drove from Massachusetts to attend the group; another from Portland.

“When you have those gut feelings, trust them,” said the single mother, who asked not to be identified. “I had them in the beginning, and I didn’t act. There’s so much I didn’t know to be aware of. I’m thrilled this community is committed to making this community safe and preventing any more harm.”

The aim of the group, say its ardent and in many cases angry organizers, is to support local victims of child sexual abuse and to hold sexual offenders accountable for their actions and the pain they cause both their victims and their communities. Other towns have lashed out against sex offenders released into their midst. Blue Hill is trying to instigate justice in a more complex way.

To a large degree, the members meet to share information about Maine laws, to discuss known patterns and myths about sexual offenders, and to collate their impressions, research and concerns about their town. While the members of the group are in favor of legal justice, they also see the power of citizen awareness in combating threats that arise in their own backyards and under their own roofs. Informed by the practices of restorative justice, which emphasizes repairing the harm done by criminal behavior, the neighbors are not out to “string anybody up,” as one member put it.

“I’m trying to uncover the truth,” said Mary Offutt, one of the group’s most vocal members. She has spent many hours making phone calls, writing letters, photocopying legal documents and circulating books among neighbors.

The truth as this group knows it involves Howard Evans and Vicki Pollard, who also is named in the civil suit for breach of duties to a minor. The two have been regarded as community pillars and, because each is a practicing acupuncturist, as healers. Evans was once director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and has been an active and respected participant at town meetings, on local boards, in school events, at the town’s vibrant food cooperative and at a nearby Zen meditation center. For more than 20 years, he has been a godfather, mentor and inspiration to more than a few young men, some of whom now say they are worried his warmth and openness might have been more sexualized than they realized then, and who now wish Pollard had intervened. Their anger at a meeting last week was raw and determined.

From the start, the group has sought the guidance of Jon Wilson, founder and director of a nonprofit victim support program, Just Alternatives in Brooklin. Wilson is best known for founding WoodenBoat magazine and the WoodenBoat School also in Brooklin. In recent years, he has trained and worked in victim-centered practices with correctional facilities.

“My work is on behalf of victims and survivors who want to meet their offenders,” said Wilson, who moderates the discussions Thursday nights. “I believe that what offenders need and, deep down, want is to be held accountable. Therefore, I believe the greatest thing we can do is to enable victims to be heard and to enable offenders to hear with the greatest sense of safety. The only way to do that is to have the offender’s trust. The only way to do that is to hold the offender in unconditional human regard. I can think that what he has done is monstrous. But he is not a monster. He is a human being.”

Emotions can run high at the meetings, but, seated in a circle, members who range from teens to senior citizens speak calmly and candidly about their experiences. Their reasons for attending are as varied as their professions. Doctors, artists, educators, writers, ministers, contractors, therapists, farmers and builders attend out of a sense of solidarity with victims or determination for child safety, as well as out of curiosity and confusion.

Others in the area said they would attend only if Evans and Pollard were also in the circle. Neither has attended the meetings. In a phone call last week, Evans said he was “not at liberty” to speak about his community or about the group. On Tuesday, Pollard said she was “not available to speak” with the press.

Organizers maintain that the meetings are open to anyone who wants to listen to victims and understand sexual abusers. Its members also have turned an examining eye inward. Several, including Wilson, hold themselves responsible for keeping secrets about experiences in their own past, confrontations they say they had but never mentioned for fear of being ostracized or because they wanted to protect their own reputations, because they doubted their own intuitions or because they wanted to believe in the goodness and honesty of others.

But experts agree that silence is a pernicious player in the sexual offender drama.

“It’s the quietness that has allowed this to go on,” said Carla van Dam, a clinical and forensic psychologist in Olympia, Wash., and author of “The Socially Skilled Child Molester,” a book that identifies common patterns of molesters. It has become the unofficial bible of the Blue Hill group. “We have occasional cases that grab the headlines, but for the most part communities go on keeping secrets, protecting offenders and leaving kids out to hang. When someone steals a child’s bicycle you feel no shame in telling your neighbors or telling them to keep their eyes open for more theft. When a child is molested, everyone keeps quiet including the victim because they feel ashamed. It’s an attitude problem. And who does it really protect? The offender.”

The difference, in part, is that a bike is a real object and everyone can agree on its existence. When it comes to sexual misconduct, as the Blue Hill group is finding, detection, identification, memory and personal certainty all can be elusive.

Until the truth is known, however, cautious steps have been taken. Liberty School has revoked Evans’ mentoring position, and its acting president, Scott Pusey, attends the Thursday meetings. Other local organizations have made changes, too. Evans has been asked to step down from his board position at the Morgan Bay Zendo, where he and Pollard led popular retreats. And he has voluntarily agreed to no longer work at the Blue Hill Food Co-Op where some customers said his presence made them uncomfortable. If wrongdoing has occurred, it is now contained by isolation.

But that is not enough for Blue Hill. Hugh Curran, a founder of the Morgan Bay Zendo, attended the discussion group twice. The first visit was informative, he said, but during the second one, he experienced such anguish listening to stories that he could not sleep that night. Yet he will return to the group, he said, because he believes in its idealism, that compassion starts with the victim, but doesn’t end there.

“You can’t just be insightful,” said Curran, a practicing Zen Buddhist. “You have to be insightful with compassion at the same time. It has to be that you do what you do for the betterment of the abusive person. The compassionate view is that to ostracize and separate, to make people an evil force would be counter to the meditative force we embrace here.”

Even that position has variations.

“People talk about a goal. What do you want? To put him in jail? Run him out of Blue Hill?” said Nat Bray, a survivor whose parents received the apologetic letter from Evans in 1996. Bray, now 39, runs a computer network company in the San Francisco area and is in touch with group members in his hometown.

“The thing that would make me happiest is for him to see this issue for what it really is, to stop denying the issue, to even become a player in the group,” said Bray. “If he were to have a change of heart, I think he could be an incredible voice that could really be heard. He’s smart and articulate and could become a huge asset in this. I mean, I don’t trust him, and he’d have to be monitored. But it really comes down to trying to resolve this. There’s a Buddhist expression: ‘Turn poison into medicine.’ It’s not just seeing a silver lining but creating something of value out of a bad experience.”

Given that child sexual offenders hold one of the lowest positions on the social ladder, these goals are more than idealistic. But they are not entirely unprecedented. Canada has made strides with a sex offender transitioning program called Circles of Support and Accountability by creating communities of volunteers for sex offenders to join after prison terms. In Ontario, about 100 circles meet from once a week to occasionally, each one tailored to the needs of a “core member” — the sex offender — and five to seven volunteer sponsors who help integrate the offender into community life.

“The roots are in restorative justice, which at its heart is intended to empower the community,” said Hugh Kirkegaard, a Baptist minister who co-founded the Ontario program 13 years ago. “People who are in this program have to understand the theft to the community before they can deal with the issues. This vision is about the community reclaiming a capacity to deal with conflict that, historically, would be dealt with in limited ways by the criminal justice system.”

But none of the experts interviewed for this article including Kirkegaard, Carla van Dam and officials at the Maine Department of Corrections had encountered a grass-roots group like the one in Blue Hill. More typically, they are familiar with angry residents who mobilize when a sex offender is released from prison into their neighborhoods, an approach that often can make the situation worse, the authorities say.

While citizen activism goes back to the very founding of this country, specialists in the field of sexual abuse say the Blue Hill group may be spearheading an innovative and promising — if untested — model for reducing sexual threats to children in communities with repeat offenders living in their midst. Presumably, the group’s work eventually would extend to five Blue Hill residents listed on the Maine Sex Offender Registry, too.

Denise Lord, associate commissioner for the Department of Corrections, described the group as “significant and positive community involvement. They’re able to try to take a community healing approach versus a more reactionary approach. In part, it seems driven by the fact that this is someone known to the community. If it were someone with less stature or someone less well known, would the community react in the same way? Knowing Blue Hill, I’d have to say the group might have responded the same way.”

Joseph Fitzpatrick, director of clinical services for the department, agreed. “Understanding offenders is probably more important than trying to keep them out of the community,” he said. “It’s not about a cure. It’s about successful management and reintegration. Some of what communities think they are doing to protect themselves has the opposite effect. There are approaches that are more insightful and protective of the community and that do reduce the risk. Education is the best thing any of us can do around this issue.”

And breaking the silence. Last April, when Tom Wallace, a 42-year-old choral director on Mount Desert Island, was convicted and imprisoned for molesting two 11-year-old boys, very little public conversation ensued. The choir disbanded. The community was shattered. And that does not take into account the aftermath for the victims and their families.

“What’s really, really important is to reach closure,” said a resident of the island who asked not to be named. “And I don’t think you can reach closure if you bury it or just grind it around. It’s important to have compassion — not only for the victims but for the perpetrator, and that does not mean glorifying him. But it is important to realize what a valuable person he has been in his other work in the community. It has to be addressed. That’s what this community is missing. We’re in pain for what happened and for not having the choir, but nobody here has dealt with it. So the door is closed.”

The work of the Thursday night group in Blue Hill is to deal with it. Their methods may have implications for more than one picturesque community of just over 2,300 residents. The goal is to protect the vulnerable and the victimized, and to prevent recurrence. The goal is also to heal as a community and eliminate the silence shadowing this taboo subject.

“How we deal with these kinds of situations in Blue Hill, Maine — it’s one end of the spectrum,” said Hugh Kirkegaard. “Our ability to be creative here determines our ability to deal with places like Iraq. It has to do with breakdown and how we deal with that in our community. Our experience says: Yes, communities can do this. The Circles [of Support and Accountability] experience is that we don’t have to be overwhelmed. We have the ability to respond in constructive and life-giving ways.”


Certified Millionaires?  Puh-lease!

Eee-yuck.  See the press release below:

Certified Millionaire (TM) lets members contact the real millionaire singles verified by MillionaireFriends.com. Millions of MillionaireFriends.com members can find the real certified millionaire singles. Millionaires show their tax return or bank statement certifying under penalty of perjury that either:

1) During the last financial year they earned over $150,000,
2) They have already earned over $150,000 during this current financial year; or
3) They have net assets (after deducting all liabilities) of over $1 million.

If they are verified, a red flashing diamond logo will be displayed beside their profiles. It is safe for members to contact those persons. And the certified millionaires can get much more contacts.


Male Scamming victim

Oooh, I hate seeing these scamming stories.  I’d much rather post tales about happy couples, but alas, not all pairings are.  Thank goodness, by far the most prominent are the successes, but there are folks out to get you, in all areas of life.  In love, just as in every day, you need to keep your guard up and your brain engaged.  This guy did not.

SA man ‘duped’ by internet dating, brother says

Fifty-six-year-old Desmond Gregor from Adelaide travelled to Mali last month to see a woman he met through the internet.

But after arriving, he was held for 12 days by people demanding a $100,000 ransom.

State and Federal Police worked with Mali national police to secure Mr Gregor’s release, by tricking the kidnappers into taking him to the Canadian embassy.

His brother, Phillip Gregor from Hoyleton, north of Adelaide, says Mr Gregor has learned his lesson.

“Definitely it was an internet romance, I guess you would call it, and certainly he was very taken by this and completely tunnel-visioned and couldn’t see the scam behind it,” he said.

“To him [it was] obviously very convincing but as soon as I had seen some of the material that was found at his place, anyone should have seen through it.”

Authorities in Mali want to question three men over Mr Gregor’s kidnap.

Mr Gregor is expected to arrive back home in Australia tomorrow.


Patrick Perrine

Dr Houran’s Interview With Patrick Perrine Of myPartnerPerfect

ONLINE DATING MAGAZINE—Aug 8—Patrick Perrine is the President of the newly-launched gay site myPartnerPerfect.

Dr. Jim: Congratulations on your launch, Patrick. Tell us, why did it take so long for someone to establish a site that catered to gays?

Patrick: Thank you. I don’t know why it has taken so long for the industry to identify this tremendous opportunity. It was partially because of the eHarmony policy and other relationship sites’ lack of service to the gay segment that I founded myPartnerPerfect. For far too long the industry has neglected the gay community and their pursuit of life-partners. Instead, the dating service industry has been flooded with gay sites that only promote hook-ups and short-term encounters. I don’t object to sites with that goal, but a very large segment of the gay community is looking for something deeper, that can last a lifetime. That’s exactly what the myPartnerPerfect system was designed to do.

Dr. Jim: Do you think all of the recent, negative press around eHarmony is fair, or are these just cheap shots from competitors and a few dissatisfied customers?

Patrick: I think the larger issue being drawn out in the press isn’t with the focus of eHarmony’s services, but the underlying premise of that focus. Sites like eHarmony will always have a place in the world of online dating and relationships, but it is my hope that myPartnerPerfect can help fill the void in the market and foster many happy and healthy relationships for gay men.

Dr. Jim: What’s the difference between a niche site that caters to a specific audience versus a site that is accused of being discriminatory?

Patrick: Wikipedia describes a niche market as “a focused, targetable portion (subset) of a market sector. By definition, then, a business that focuses on a niche market is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream providers.” eHarmony, in my opinion, essentially started out as a niche site for marriage-oriented heterosexual Christians. Dr. Warren himself attributes much of eHarmony’s success to its ties to Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian community. It was only recently that Dr. Warren and eHarmony began distancing themselves from that “niche” market as the site began growing rapidly and they began positioning themselves for the masses. myPartnerPerfect is completely forthwith about the segmented “niche” market we cater to due to the demand in the market that is not being met.

Dr. Jim: In what ways does the culture of your service and site differ significantly from large sites, like Match or Yahoo! Personals, which try to address the dating needs of everyone?

Patrick: myPartnerPerfect is an exclusively gay site that has been designed to cater to gay men. Much like any other niche site, myPartnerPerfect addresses the areas of partner selection that are not only important to our community, but unique to our community. Although there are many similarities between heterosexual and homosexual relationships, there are also many differences in partner selection. Our Partner Perfect Compatibility™ matching system was designed because of the many differences of gay partner selection in the areas of relationship styling, characteristics of partner selection, partner qualities and personalities, and above all else, cultural and sexual lifestyle considerations.

Dr. Jim: From your experience and research, are gays more interested in compatibility testing (and perhaps long-term relationships) than other groups? If so, why might this be?

Patrick: I wouldn’t say that gay men are more interested or less interested in compatibility testing than the general population. I think that gay men are a very discerning population of consumers and demand the very “best of breed” of anything they patron and that’s why myPartnerPerfect has developed the Partner Perfect Compatibility™ matching system.

Dr. Jim: What does a customer really get for his money at your site—what are the compelling features that can’t be found elsewhere?

Patrick: In addition to the unique Partner Perfect matches presented to the user by our matching system, members can search the database with 5 different customized browsing tools (including our Deal Breaker Search, our Partner Perfect Search, and our Custom Search). We also have unique profile customization tools, a monthly gay-relationship eNewsletter, private matchmaking services, anonymous phone calling, our myProfilePartner™ personal profile advice and review services, monthly socials and singles mixers, weDate!™ group dinners, and our a la carte menu to select the features that are most important to the user who is not yet ready to commit to a full Premium Membership.


Where the Guys Are

As Dr. Phil would say, if you are looking for a mate, go to a target-rich environment. I’ve written about another place the guys are in Ireland.  Here are a few more:

“Women’s caravans” to the rescue

Life on the farm can be pretty lonely. Especially if you’re a middle-aged bachelor tending farm in a remote Spanish village that several decades ago saw most of its female population lured away by the shining promises of city life. But there’s hope for these lonely farmers in La Viñuela, Spain, reports the New York Times, thanks to a program that busses in single ladies from Madrid. The Association of Women’s Caravans handled the village’s recent matchmaking event: Arrangements were made to secure the outdoor bar, live music, porta-potties and, most important, the women.

This seems plain resourceful and kind of sweet, actually. It’s no mystery that, hey, people need people; companionship is important, whether you’re a weary farmer or hardworking madrileña. But it’s also fascinating to consider how political, cultural and economic forces impact sexual commerce. When a rural village—or entire country—experiences a female famine, does it improve the lot of women?

It’s hard to say. In China, predictions that there would be 30 million lonely bachelors within 15 years was taken as evidence that women would climb to a higher cultural standing and that the frequency of female infanticide and sex-selective abortion would fall off. But then came reports of “bride selling,” postmortem marriages and, in some extreme cases, women being murdered and sold as “ghost brides” because of the shortage of women (particularly in rural areas). Then there are the bachelor tours arranged for rural South Korean men in need of a wife.

Admittedly, these are extreme comparisons, but they at least fall on the same spectrum. Where exactly they fall would seem to depend on a whole range of things, including, most basically, women’s cultural value and standing.

-- Tracy Clark-Flory


Cracking the Code

Reading between the lines and photos takes some experience.  Here’s an article written for gay men, but that also has something to say for straights too.



July 1, 2007—When I first discovered online dating, I felt like I had won the lottery. As a young gay man who grew up in a small conservative town, I found it hard to meet potential love interests by bumping into them at Barnes & Noble or waiting in line at the DMV. Online, there are tons of prospects-but the sheer quantity came with its own problems. How could I separate the guys I’d really like from those who weren’t my speed? Sure, there were photos and write-ups explaining who they were and what they were looking for, but I soon realized that these profiles didn’t always match the person once I met him face to face. Some guys would say they were looking for a long-term relationship when they were really out for no-strings-attached sex; others weren’t entirely out of the closet, which brought its own set of complications. These experiences made me wonder: Is there a way to check out someone’s profile and get to the truth of whether they’d be a great match? To find the answer, I consulted a dating expert for tips on reading between the lines. The advice below has helped me immensely, as I hope it’ll work for anyone else in search of the right man among many.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Photos, of course, are an easy way to gauge how attracted you are to someone. But there are other messages you can glean from the kind of pics they post. Photos that are a little too good - he’s bare-chested, giving his most fetching glance at the camera, or wearing tight jeans that hint that he’s well-endowed - could indicate he’s out for some no-strings-attached fun rather than a relationship. Why? Because anyone who makes his sexuality his key selling point is probably more interested in what you have to offer in the bedroom versus out of it, says psychotherapist Joe Kort, author of the forthcoming book 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Find Real Love. And while posting a few photos indicates a desire to give viewers a sense of who a guy is, posting a plethora (like more than 10) could mean he loves the way he looks a little too much and is as vain as a peacock.

...And having no pics says even more

And what if a profile shows no photos at all or promises to email you one if you get in touch? It could mean he’s not out of the closet. “If someone doesn’t show photos or if he shows photos just of his body without his face, chances are he’s not comfortable with certain people knowing he’s gay,” says Kort. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ashamed of who he is; it might just mean that he’s worried that certain people in his life - relatives, coworkers - might react badly to the news. So before you initiate contact, make sure you’re fine using some discretion in your relationship.

Spot the scene queen…

Certain gay guys live to party and dance all night at clubs. Want to know who they are so you can join them-or steer clear and find a more mellow relationship? Look for ads that mention “keeping up with me” or “no drama!” More often than not, they are drama, so be prepared for one really intense time with them. Another dead giveaway? Hip spellings of certain words like “boi” for boy. Encounter a string of slang like “Hot boi ISO a VGL str8 acting guy 4 LTR or NSA fun,” and you don’t need your decoder ring to tell that this guy is probably a veteran online dater (how else would he know all that lingo?) who’s most likely trolling for a good time. If that’s your thing, go for it-but if your idea of a great date is dinner and a movie, don’t expect this “boi” to jump on board. (Incidentally, the shorthand above translates as “Hot boy in search of a very good-looking straight-acting guy for long-term relationship or no-strings-attached fun.”)

Know if he’s just up for a one-night stand…

When surfing profiles you’ll probably encounter the phrase “Fun and possible LTR” (LTR stands for long-term relationship). And while this might lead you to believe that this guy truly wants to settle down once he finds Mr. Right, don’t be fooled, says Kort: People who want “fun and possible LTR” are probably more into fun, less into the LTR. They merely want to avoid scaring away the more relationship-minded men who are attracted to their profile. Keep in mind, they may not be intentionally trying to deceive y