Category: The European Dating Blitz

December 17th, 2013 — 9:13pm

Saturday night, I hosted my sixth annual holiday party — in the midst of this winter’s first big snowfall.

All smiles with my dear friends Crystal (left) and Sara

Given the weather, I wondered whether it might end up being a party of one for the night. Much to my great joy, a dozen friends new and old braved the elements to join me for a delightful,  laid back evening of festive food, drink and lively conversation.

It was a night of reunions. Parisian-based single gal , whom I connected with three years ago during my , happened to be in town.

Lana and me

Fellow dating blogger Rachel came with three friends. And gym buddies Ayesha and Sheryl, with whom I used to take classes, were part of the mix too.

Amidst the laughter and talk about only in New York moments, we eventually got onto the topic of being single here. Rachel’s friends Sam and Dan admitted the dating fatigue that often sets in and I was reminded of something it’s easy to forget—women aren’t the only ones navigating the ups and downs in this unpredictable, often exasperating landscape of the unattached.

Another comforting reminder—you never know when you’re going to connect with kindred spirits. And isn’t that part of what the holiday season is all about?

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September 18th, 2012 — 9:08pm

My eventful Saturday got off to a bumpy start when I headed over to fifth ave to meet up with , one of my favorite bachelors from my European Dating Blitz.

It turned out there was German American von Steuben Day Parade. I feared that amidst all of lederhosen and Swiss Miss clad people, I wouldn’t find Pete. Especially when I realized I had mixed up the time we were meeting. Eek.

Thankfully, once he had wifi, Pete and I connected in time for us to meet for a late lunch at Hooter’s (his choice). I enjoyed both the food and, ahem, perky staff more than I expected to, and it was great catching up with Pete.

He told me about his whirlwind week of travel (Toronto, Memphis, Boston) and I filled him in on my fabulous new job. I was happy to hear he’s in the midst of a new romance. Pete is one of those genuinely good guys who reminded during my Dublin visit a few years back that they do exist. Such a sweetheart.

T-Bar Steak & Lounge: Great place for a girls night out (photo courtesy:

Speaking of favorite people, the evening brought a chance to catch up with my good friend Crystal. Crystal radiates warmth and joy, and being around her means guaranteed smiles — and on this particular occasion delicious food too.

We headed over to on the UES, where we shared a selection of appetizers (crispy oysters, fried calamari, foie gras) and a mouthwateringly perfect ice cream sundae with chocolate molten cake. Along the way, we talked about relationship learning curves, cutting ourselves some slack and future girls nights out. At least one 80’s concert is in our immediate future for sure.

In life and dessert, good friends really do make everything sweeter.

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August 26th, 2012 — 11:47am

Last Thursday, my adventures in London continued with an eventful girls night out.

Caffe Concerto has several locations in London

After dinner at cozy Italian eatery Caffe Concerto, Rachel and I walked over to Dion’s, a bar tucked away behind St. Paul’s Cathedral. I had very fond memories of live music and a very favorable guy-girl ratio at . So I was a little disappointed when we walked in to find the bar mostly empty, especially since I’d been talking it up to my single London friends as a great spot for mingling.

We were only a few sips into our cocktails when a cute local bloke named Joe, 35, suddenly appeared.

“My friends are boring, can I join your conversation?”

A direct, wry and ever so British approach. Needless to say, Rach and I happily said yes. We were soon joined by a few of Joe’s colleagues as well.
As Rachel hit it off with one of them, I learned that Joe has a passion for motorcycles and DIY projects – and possesses the charm and candor that has made me very susceptible to British bachelors. When I commended Joe for taking the initative in a friendly way to say hello, he responded—

“We’re all lonely at the end of the day, so why not?”

Sigh. If only New York men could take a page out of this no nonsense playbook!

Eventually, the verbal flirting between Joe and me found him pulling me into a quick hug. I could happily have extended it, but Rachel reminded me the tube was about to shut down for the night. Before I raced to catch it, Joe leaned down for a kiss. Apart from him referring to himself as my “toy boy,”  a perfect night.

Speaking of perfection, that’s also how I would describe my final day in London.

All smiles in Trafalgar Square…with sunglasses!

The weather was glorious – so glorious that I took a picture in Trafalgar Square with sunglasses on for the first time in 22 years of coming to London. After drinking in the view of the square and Big Ben beyond it, I made my way over to iconic tea house Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly, where I enjoyed my final round of afternoon tea and scones with clotted cream.

Then, it was off to Sloane Square for drinks with fellow writer and Ireland-born Conor, whom I had the pleasure of meeting during my European Dating Blitz. This visit to London was a wonderful mix of new and old friends, a week-long reminder of why I love England’s capital so much.

What better way to end my trip than with my dear friend of 19 years, Steve?

BFF: Steve and me at Zaika

Over a delicious meal at upscale Indian restaurant Zaika on Kensington High Street, Steve and I fell into easy conversation like we always do. Three hours later, we’d covered a lot of ground on the topics of life, love, family and the battle to fight wrinkles.

As we said goodbye, I felt a surge of melancholy about leaving London. And then I smiled because I know it will always be a part of my life. Until next time, fair city.

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August 23rd, 2012 — 9:01pm

My vacation in London continued last Wednesday with a road trip to the charming little village of Great Missenden, home to legendary writer Roald Dahl and a museum celebrating his life and work.

In front of the Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre

My good friend Rachel and I made the 45-minute drive, instantly smiling as we sat down at the museum’s Café Twit, featuring brightly colored décor and whimsically named items inspired by Dahl’s literary creations.

Sizable scones, clotted cream, foamy hot chocolate...Yummm!

After savoring scones with clotted cream and jam and foamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, we walked through the museum. In addition to photos, letters and other memorabilia from Dahl’s life, the museum features Dahl’s cozy writing hut — transported intact from where it once resided at his home.

Roald Dahl's writing hut

Back at Rach’s flat in West Hampstead, she whipped up a delicious pasta with roasted eggplant and spices as we settled in to watch the classic Meg Ryan/Hugh Jackman chick flick, “Kate and Leopold.” Add to that a few glasses of red wine and we had the perfect girls night in!

Thursday, I moved to the Copthorne Tara Hotel just behind Kensington High Street. I had just enough time to unpack and freshen up before heading over to Notting Hall, where I caught up with Dublin-born , one of the fabulous single gals I met during my European Dating Blitz two years ago.

Catching Up: Ellie and me

Over a delightful lunch at fashion retailer/bistro 202 London on posh Westbourne Grove, Ellie and I talked about career transitions, unexpected romance and the divide between singles and marrieds.

The latter was on my mind having overheard a wife and mom criticize a friend for wanting to change careers and follow her bliss, implying that it was somehow irresponsible and at odds with the desire to meet someone. To that I simply say…huh??

Up next…a girls night out takes a surprising turn and capping off my trip with a fun London first.

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February 3rd, 2012 — 8:16am

(photo courtesy:

I’ve always been a big believer in getting out of my comfort zone and shaking things up. That’s why I’ve dubbed 2012 the year of Just Say Yes. And it is in that spirit of open mindedness that I am excited to announce my next big adventure – Nominate A Date.

Beginning February 14th, I will spend the better part of eight weeks going on a series of blind dates. Each date will be with a bachelor of anyone’s choosing. Yes, that means if you’re willing to take the time to play matchmaker, I will go out with whoever you connect me with.

As longtime readers of this blog know, this isn’t my first experiment in seeing how social media and dating intersect. In 2010, I embarked on two Dating Blitzes – one across the U.S., the other in Europe – that connected me with many smart, fabulous single men and women. I learned so much from both experiences, but perhaps the greatest lesson was how important it is to savor the journey of singlehood and not be defined by where you want it to take you.

So what makes Nominate A Date different? The obvious answer, of course, is that this two month adventure will take place right here in my hometown. After exploring single life in eight other cities and six other countries, it feels right to come back to where I started – a little older and (hopefully) wiser.  And what better place to apply another major insight from both blitzes, that everyone has a touch of Cupid in them?

There are only two ground rules for Nominate A Date — each date must take place here in NYC and all bachelors must be between the ages of 27 and 47. Why such a big age spread? Because this experience is all about casting aside any preconceived notions about dating ‘types.’ And – full disclosure here — having been raised by a happily married couple with a 25-year age difference who adored each other, I’m one of those people who doesn’t think such gaps are an obstacle to chemistry.

I hope you’ll join me — and help spread the word — as I embark on this exciting new chapter. to see my YouTube video about Nominate A Date and feel free to email me at with any questions. In addition to my blog updates, you can follow my adventure on Twitter with hashtag #NominateADate.

Who will you nominate? Let the matchmaking begin!

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September 16th, 2011 — 9:53pm

Last weekend, I enjoyed a long-awaited second date with the first bachelor from my European Dating Blitz, Ireland-born .

In the year since we met in Dublin, Pete and I have kept in touch via Facebook, email and instant messaging. He even sent me a postcard from Paris, confirming my initial impression of him as one of the true good guys.

I broke out a brand new LBD for our date, a decision I was doubly glad about when I spotted him running across the street toward me. Clad in a gray suit and fedora, he looked even more handsome than I remembered him to be.

Luna Piena: Pete and I enjoyed a delicious dinner at this Midtown bistro

After a quick hug, Pete and I settled into an outdoor table at Midtown Italian bistro Luna Piena. Over dinner, we filled in the blanks about where our lives have taken us over the past 12 months, reflecting on career shifts and milestones both happy and sad (his recent 35th birthday, the 13th anniversary of my mom’s passing).

Pleasantly full from our respective entrees and shared profiteroles for dessert, we walked over to the Pod Hotel where Pete was staying. He led me up to the paved roof deck, for a glorious moonlit Gotham view of Midtown. As we took a seat so we could take it all in, Pete said–

“I think we should pledge to meet up like this every year.”

“I agree.”

Our last stop of the night was Sofia Wine Bar, for some cozy conversation about favorite bands — and when and where we might see each other again (a return to London is on my radar for early 2012). Pete walked me to a cab. We embraced, reiterating how happy we both were to have seen each other again.

As the taxi pulled away, I found myself marveling at the randomness of how we’d met (Pete reached out after reading about my Dating Blitz in a local newspaper). And feeling thankful all over again that geography is no match for a genuine connection.

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December 4th, 2010 — 2:30pm

Yesterday, I enjoyed an action-packed girls night out with my good friend Faith.

American Trash: One of the best dive bars on NYC’s Upper East Side

The evening began at American Trash on NYC’s Upper East Side. Over a shared lobster roll, fried calamari and clams, Faith and I talked about holiday dating disasters and the importance of maintaining friendships regardless of your marital status.

Our lively conversation continued at nearby cocktail bar Stir and then, of course, O’Flanagan’s, my favorite neighborhood bar. As I’ve said before, O’Flanagan’s always delivers a good time — thanks to an unpretentious, friendly crowd and great music (this time, courtesy of cover band East Coast).

Though I wasn’t in mingling mode, a few guys approached me on the dance floor. And within less than two minutes, both of them asked me what I do for a living. I couldn’t help thinking how my perspective on this line of questioning –both asking and being on the receiving end of it — has changed since my European Dating Blitz.

During the course of my travels, I learned that over there, it’s considered rude and inappropriate to ask someone about their profession right away unless the information is volunteered. I found it refreshing that getting to know a date
takes precedence over sizing him up based on his job, and have since shied away from making ‘what do you do?’ my default question.

So I tell bachelor #1 that I work in PR. He says he works in finance, then returns to the subject of my job.

“Do you plan to diversify?” he asks.

I didn’t know whether he was giving me unsolicited stock tips or career advice. Either way, it wasn’t my kind of small talk so I excused myself and walked over to the bar. That’s where bachelor #2 also asked me right away what I do work-wise.

I guess original conversation starters are really in short supply these days.

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November 30th, 2010 — 4:30pm
(photo courtesy:

Last week, I had the pleasure of connecting with Kim Kuhteubl, founder of the fabulous website . A native of Toronto (my former hometown) now living in the LA area, Kim got me to thinking about something a Single Gal In The City reader recently asked — would I leave New York to look for love?

Longtime readers of this blog know it’s a question I’ve been considering for quite awhile now. It’s what sparked my decision to go on two Dating Blitzes and examine what dating is like outside of New York. Though the women I met in other cities confirmed that finding love is tough these days in any zip code, they — along with most of the men I dated — also revealed something else. That when it comes to settling down, the odds are at least a little better if you reside in a place where being single isn’t considered the end all be all.

As I’ve said many times since returning from my travels, the best thing about being unattached in New York is also the worst — the absence of any pressure to find a long-term relationship. That laissez-faire attitude is ideal if you are happy to be your one and only. Those of us who feel differently, though, are made to wonder if it’s wrong to want more than the single and fabulous life. And if we would be more likely to find it somewhere other than the Big Apple.

So, yes, I’m haven’t ruled out an exodus from NYC for a dating change of pace. I’ll see what 2011 has in store for me and then revisit the idea. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up as a resident of one of my Dating Blitz destinations.

If you could move anywhere — to shake up your love life or for any other reason — where would it be?

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October 12th, 2010 — 3:32pm

My final week in Europe brought with it a much-needed return to London. As always, being in England’s capital gave me the chance to catch up with dear friends and recharge my batteries before coming home.

Carine and I: All smiles after a memorable performance of Wicked the musical

Longtime galpal Carine and her hubby generously hosted me a second time. Carine and I went to see Wicked, which more than lives up to its storied reputation, and celebrates the life-altering power of friendship. The ballad “For Good” had me tearing up as I thought about my beloved London circle — dear friends like Carine, Eva and Ness and best buddy Steve.

Steve and I spent a wonderful day catching up, talking for hours about life, love and lessons from my European Dating Blitz. Knowing I was a little homesick at this point, Steve led us to Whole Foods on Kensington High Street for lunch.

BFF: Steve and I had a great day together

After a brief stop in St. Mary Abbots church and some shopping, we stopped in a little café for afternoon tea. Steve asked me about the speed dating event I was supposed to attend later on. I happily shelved it in favor of more time with him — and a girls night out with London single gal Angela, 38.

Girls Night Out: Angela and me at Dion’s

Angela and I hit it off when we connected during my August London visit. Stunning, smart and witty, she had said she knows Mr. Right isn’t going to just show up.

“My bills are automated, so not even the postman’s going to knock on my door,” she quipped.

We got reacquainted at Dion’s, a lively bar just behind St. Paul’s Cathedral that attracts a young, professional crowd and serves up fantastic live music.

After hitting the dance floor several times, I was taking a breather to cool off when I noticed a gorgeous guy (think Taye Diggs, only much taller) looking at me. He motioned me over to him and quickly bought me a drink.

“I’ve been watching you all night,” he said. “You are so beautiful.”

I smiled. Definitely my kind of opening line, and just the kind of unexpected flirting I needed after six weeks of planned dates across the continent.

As the music cranked up again, Mr. Flirtatious pulled me close to him and we started to slow dance. About five minutes in, he kissed me. Five minutes after that, he murmured in my ear–

“I want to make love to you.”

And with that, Mr. Flirtatious set a record for being the fastest pickup attempt I’ve ever been on the receiving end of. Also memorable — him telling me his mother says he’s a “good boy.”

Whatever that means.

Up next…the worst would-be blind date ever and the most hilarious opening gambit I’ve ever heard from a guy.

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October 11th, 2010 — 5:28pm

On my last day in Madrid, I enjoyed a second date with adorable Spanish bachelor Victor, 32.

Taking advantage of the glorious summer weather, we had a round of drinks outside, talking about differences between sports in the US and Spain, and falling into the easy banter of our first date a few days before.

For a late afternoon lunch, we headed over to Mano A Mano — one of Victor’s favorites for paella. I had the gastronomic pleasure of discovering why as we shared a heavenly paella with lobster.

Lobster Paella at Mano A Mano: In a word, delicioso!

As we lingered over it and a bottle of wine, Victor said sweetly how much he had enjoyed spending time with me, a sentiment I echoed. He invited me to join him and a few friends at a bar to watch a Spanish soccer match.

Though it was fun witnessing first hand the fiery local passion for soccer (and hearing plenty of cursing en Español), I could feel the effect of six weeks of travel catching up with me. In other words, I was exhausted from making small talk with strangers.

Me At Retiro Park: Madrid’s main park is stunning

So, after kissing Victor — only on the cheek, unfortunately — goodbye, I made my way over to Madrid’s stunning Retiro Park. It seemed a fitting place to wind down the final day of my European Dating Blitz, taking in the local crowds at sunset and reflecting on where my journey had led me.

Much like the first blitz, I found myself thankful for the adventure and all that I had learned about what it’s like to be single outside of New York. Only this time, I was going home with a renewed appreciation for my hometown — and a readiness to take a little breather from dating.

Of course, like the cliché goes, it’s when you’re not looking that interesting people tend to cross your path. Coming up…the full scoop about unexpected flirting since I got home and a second encounter with one of the best bachelors from my first Dating Blitz!

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