True Serial Dater, Mary Geneva has an extensive experience of the NYC dating scene (jungle, I would say in her case!). Boasted by her numerous adventures, she wrote a release book relating her most unforgettable dates (from the most hilarious to the most horrendous ones): “Nicknames: Tales from the shallow end of the Dating Pool” … Inspiring!
She has not found Mr. Right yet but after years of diligent search, she has become a wise and seasoned dater.
In this interview, she opens up about her experience, her book and shares precious advice – That can certainly help you trace your way to love in the Big Apple.
Can you tell us about you, your background and what makes you an expert of the NYC dating scene? Did you really go on 999,999 1st dates?
I am 33 years old and work in healthcare. I’m a self-reformed serial dater and have learned a lot about who I am and what I want in a guy over the past eight years on the singles scene. I did the reverse of my friends and married very young. I eloped when I was 21 years old and was divorced at 26. I sold my car, moved into Manhattan, and started logging on.
I feel like I’ve been on almost a million dates! It started out with one first date per week, then two, then up to three first dates per week. I got sucked into this online dating vortex for a good several years post divorce.
I’m not sure I would consider myself an “expert” on the NYC dating scene but rather a woman with a lot of experiences and stories that have helped mold me into the strong, confident, person I am today. Some women have compared me to Carrie Bradshaw but I can’t afford a $2,000 pair of shoes! I really enjoy sharing my stories with other women because we can all relate in one-way or another.
Can you tell us about your book?
I married way too young to a guy who needed a green card, although we were “in love” at the time, and was divorced at 26. Since then, I have amassed a multitude of emails, text messages, and stories about my post-divorce experiences trying to navigate the perilous waters of both on- and offline dating. My stories are funny and if I didn’t share them with the world, I would implode, so I wrote Nicknames.
I can’t make my stories up. Every time I referred to a guy by other than the name he was born with the relationship for whatever reason was doomed. Nicknames seemed to take a life of its own. For example, Rob became OnStar; Carlos became Alejandro (after the Lady GaGa song); Pete became Crazy Eyes; and so on. I believe the guy I don’t Nickname will be the one I marry.
I have met many, many women who have had a few of their own “Nicknames” and I figured it was time to compile my most memorable dating experiences into one easy-to-read book.
Many single women have a common thread of disastrous first dates. Readers will enjoy learning about what is often in the minds of women in the moment of the date.
Nicknames is part memoir, part self-help, and will have you laughing out loud!
Can you summarize your experience of the New York dating life ?
Never a dull moment! It is one hell of a ride!
What have you learned from going on so many dates?
I’ve learned to love myself before someone can love me back. I’ve also learned to not get totally frustrated when things don’t pan out. Stuff happens and we learn from our experiences. Each date that didn’t pan out only made me realize even more what I want and don’t want in a partner. Especially if he 1: shows up high on your date (this has happened to me) ; 2: books reservations at a restaurant and you split an appetizer; and 3: checks his phone non stop during a date like someone’s life is on the line-all deal breakers.
Would you say dating is different between dating in NYC and Long Island? How?
I was married for half of my early 20’s so I didn’t have much experience dating in Long Island but imagine that dating outside of an urban area where there’s less hustle and bustle affords more of an opportunity to focus on the person in front of you. However, I love NYC and all of the adventures that come with it!
What’s, according to you, the best way to find a date in New York?
I think it’s easy to score a date in NYC but it’s difficult to find consistency. Online dating is a great way find a date in NYC. Currently my favorite site is, How About We. The date itself is already planned and there’s no need for back and forth messaging. In my experience this site cuts right to the chase.
A more organic way to find a date is to join organizations that you have interests in. For me it’s a local scuba diving club and running groups.
Why is dating so difficult in New York?
Dating in New York is difficult because I feel many guys (not all) don’t want to put the effort in to get to know one person. There are so many people living in the city and so many options to choose from. A woman might have chemistry and a great first, second, or third date with a guy and then never hear from him again because he is logging on to see what the next woman can bring to the table. It can be a dizzying cycle.
Tell us about the worst date you’ve ever had?
I call this guy Insufficient Funds: It was one of my first match.com dates and he told me to choose a restaurant for dinner. When the check came I offered to split the bill however he said he would pay for it. His credit card was declined three times. IF went to the local ATM and came back with a receipt that said he had “insufficient funds” in his account and he was unable to withdraw money.
I paid the entire bill and asked him why he would want to go out to dinner and even talk about the bar we were going to after if he showed up with no money and declined my offer to go Dutch in the first place. IF (perhaps he felt embarrassed and didn’t know what to say) told me that this was his practice on first dates to see how “potential girlfriends” will react. I just about lost it
(but kept my cool) because I didn’t want to end up being chopped up into pieces since he so gallantly offered to drive me home. A week later I received a check in the mail for his half of the bill! And it did not bounce.
Tell us about the best date you’ve been on?
I travelled alone to Australia and my girlfriend who visited Oz a few months earlier connected me with a hot Aussie she had become friends with. On my last night in Sydney he picked me up from my hotel on his motorbike and whisked me all through the city so I would not miss seeing anything. We ate wedges at the Opera House, walked through the winding streets of The Rocks, walked over the Sydney Harbor Bridge, drove through the botanical gardens, we held hands, we kissed, it was so incredibly romantic!
From your experience, what does a man need to do to conquer a lady?
A man needs to be able to separate work from play.
What makes the perfect 1st date for you?
When a guy calls before the date (not text). Bonus points if he calls without you asking him to. The perfect date would be one where we laugh a lot and can feed off of each other’s energy. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, as long as the conversation is flowing, there’s eye contact, and laughing, we could be anywhere, a 5 star restaurant or the local pizza place.
Do you have any rituals when getting ready for a date?
I just remind myself that we are all human looking for that special someone to share life’s adventures with.
What is your ultimate dating advice?
Trust your instinct it will usually never steer you wrong. Go into a new date with a new, fresh set of eyes. It is very easy to get burned out dating. Don’t let failed past dates interfere with someone new.
With so many prospects in NYC you could have an awesome date with a good guy but that guy might also be checking out what his other options are and then pull what I call is the Vanishing Act (chapter 10).
If a guy vanishes on you don’t be so hard on yourself and relive your last date or text message over and over in your head. It will just drive you crazy! Men typically say what’s on their mind in the moment. Stop trying to figure out if you said or did something wrong especially if you have only been on a couple of dates with someone. Some things can’t be explained. Move on to someone else who will value your time and friendship.
Anything you would like to add?
Get a dog! They are always happy to see you after a long day, don’t talk back, and provide unconditional love.