About a month ago, I finally mustered the courage to try Internet dating again. Not a big deal for some of you, but for me it’s not only a big deal, it’s a big freakin’ deal. I hate blind dates. I do realize that without them many folks would never find someone, but for me, the whole concept of it is not something I choose to pursue willingly. I didn’t start out that way, but somewhere over the course of 30+ years of dating, the belief that root canal was more appealing took hold. You see, I’ve never, not in the entire history of my blind-dating experiences had one go well enough to want to see the guy a second time. I did give it a good try, but when I got to about 10 of these anathemas in a row, I decided it just wasn’t for me. Hey look, I didn’t have to try brussel sprouts as many times to know they never needed to darken my doorstep so cut me some slack!
I made my first foray into the personal ads in my 30s. My girlfriends and I would open a bottle of wine and peruse the listings in the back of the newspaper, deciphering what exactly was meant by “outdoorsy type” (a.k.a.: doesn’t bathe often, hairy back.) In evolutionary terms, this could be considered the Neanderthal era. For a few dollars and 100 characters or less we could find the man of our dreams (for the moment). I mean, who wouldn’t be swayed by personal ad poetry like: SWM buccaneer with plenty of swash and buckle seeks buxom wench for tankards of ale and debauchery. Plank-walking optional. We moved onto the Cro Magnon epoch when I turned 40, and the personals went digital. Suddenly our yentas became matchmaking algorithms, and our romantic pursuits like ordering from a vast take-out menu of characteristics where adherence to facts (or a current picture) was often optional. Unless you decided a more scientific approach was the way to go. Enter the strangely cult-like eHarmony, where Dr. Warren and his minions knew what was best for you. These “all knowing” folks had worked out a series of endless questions (“you like it better like this, or like this…”) more akin to taking the SATs than following cupid’s amorous arrow. And you wonder why it took another decade for me to dip my toes in the digital dating pool again?
Venturing forth a decade later (last month), I was amazed at the logarithmic leaps the technology had made. No longer were you forced to see the sea of candidates you are competing against (with their ample funds for, well, enhancements), and the questions have gotten far more elaborate and personal (you want to know what about my WHAT?). Plus instead of countless hours of eyestrain sorting through a plethora of potential suitors, all you need do is sit back and let computerized cupid send you daily arrows l’amour. I suddenly had my very own online version of “Mystery Date” with the quarterback, bookish class president and rock star behind virtual doors 1, 2 and 3. Hell, this was almost easy! Then I noticed something else. Ten years ago, I was just 40 and looking for a guy my own age. You know, the 10-year window of five below to five above. But after answering Dr. Warren’s countless questions, my “matches” were averaging in the mid to late 50s to 60! After several attempts to remedy my assumed error in selecting the wrong age-range box, followed by contacting the harmonious minions only to hear that Dr. W believed this was best for me, I figured out why. It seems men my age wanted women who weren’t. More accurately, they wanted breeders. Since I had checked the “want children – NO” box, well, that pretty much put me out to pasture. So imagine my surprise when little ol’ 49 ¾ year-old me, having now upped my romance window to include ages 45-60, began getting responses from 28-35-year olds. Yes folks, in a mere 10 years, this gal went from old cow to COUGAR!
Undeterred (and somewhat flattered), I took the plunge, pushing my jaded self into making my selections, setting up my “look-see dates” with one from column A, one from column B with little expectation for anything other than proving to myself (and my friends) that I had made another attempt to enter the dating pool. After all, I’m too old and snark-filled for all that fairytale crap. Rainbows and buttercups, princes and those stinkin’ unicorns — you can keep it all. I’ll just get my 10-date goal out of the way, and it will be over. Hell, maybe I can get some good blog fodder out of it. Yeah, that’s it. It will be research!
But then you turn a corner on a cloudy Sunday afternoon, see him and smile. And suddenly the sun is shining, the air filled with butterflies, and your life has changed in a heartbeat. Just please, hold the unicorns.
When romancing, I think it’s best to keep the deserts sweet, but light. You don’t need dessert weighing you down before “dessert,” if you know what I mean. I adapted these Baked Cheesecake Cups from a recipe I found for a full sized cheesecake featuring cottage cheese instead of cream cheese. These creamy cheesecakes in a cup have about a third of the calories of a regular slice of the cream cheese based version without missing any of that creamy goodness. Served warm or room temperature for dessert, or chilled for breakfast with fresh berries or my peach rhubarb sauce, these little morsels are sure to set the right mood for a lovely date-night.
Baked Cheesecake Cups
Makes two generously filled 8 oz. ramekins
¼ cups milk
1 egg white
1 cup full fat cottage cheese (don’t use non or low fat)
1 ½ tsp flour
1 TBSP lemon juice and 1 tsp zest
3 TBSP sugar
A pinch of salt
½ tsp butter and 1 tsp sugar (for buttering and dusting ramekins – I use my vanilla sugar for this but regular sugar works just fine)
Preheat oven to 325°F
Butter the two 8 oz. ramekins or custard cups and sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar, making sure the entire inside of the cups are coated.
Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until completely smooth. Pour into the ramekins and place cups on a baking tray (makes it easier to move in and out of oven). Bake for 45 minutes. Fair warning: when you pull these babies out of the oven they will look like beautiful soufflés, and then you will watch them sink. Don’t worry! They are cheesecake after all. So dense is good, and the sunken cakes are just perfect for berries or fruit sauce or jam on top. Serve warm, and they will maintain a little of their soufflé lightness. Serve chilled and they’ll be more like the cheesecake you are used to. Calories: about 210 per ramekin.