Friday, June 11, 2010

Reading Between the Lines

Please welcome a special guest blogger today, Maria Grazia Swan...

 I’ve been divorced for a very long time. Here is proof: It happened before e-mail, and way before internet dating. Yes, that long.   

Back then we had singles magazines, the paper and ink kind and we posted personals. With or without a photo. You paid according to the number of lines. The challenge was to write a beguiling ad in only a few words—not an easy task. The photo was extra. However, like now, a photo would get you more attention. Or, as the cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousands words.   

Some of the necessary words had standard abbreviations like M=male, F=female, D=divorced. You get the idea. 

The process could take up to two weeks from the time you read the ad, wrote the letter, and waited for an answer Two weeks! 

In today’s dating scene, two weeks is the length of a relationship. Or by Hollywood standards, the length of a marriage?

This may sound like an oxymoron, but in my humble opinion, life was simpler then.

Oh, the excitement of turning the key to unlock the rented P.O.Box. No real address used—you never know! I shared my POB with a girlfriend who was as broke as I was. The real fun began when we both received a letter from the same man with the exact  same wording.  My friend was a pro. She had been playing the personals for years and could tell a fake from a real by reading between the lines. 

We would separate her letters from mine, make little piles according to the handwriting. Yes, you read correctly, handwriting. And yes, that was the equivalent of a first impression. Next, it would be, picture or no picture, and so on.

Did I find true love? No. I did, however meet some pretty interesting men, dated a few and, in a sense, that was my rediscovering-romance training period. I learned a lot. Most importantly I learned to read between the lines. Even though I gave up on online dating a few years ago, the read-between-the-lines still works today. People still fib and embellish what they post about themselves. It’s human nature.  

Here are the most common lies I’ve found;

Men lie about their height and their income.

Women lie about their weight and their age.

This is a general statement. Don’t go accusing someone of lying because Maria Grazia Swan said so...I don’t have a virtual POB and would like to keep it that way.

~Maria Grazia Swan

Maria Grazia Swan is an author and motivational speaker who shares relationship advice and guidance for women re-entering the social/dating scene. Maria empowers and encourages single women to be bold, fearless, and sexy in their pursuit of life and love after age 45. An award recipient from the Women’s National Book Association, Swan is the author of Boomer Babes: True Tales of Love and Lust in the Later Years (Leisure Books). Visit

My workshop, HOW TO BE A CONTEST DIVA starts on Monday!  If you're interested, I'm giving a 20% discount to all blog readers.  If you're interested in taking advantage, email me at: gemmahalliday at gmail dot com.  Here are the deets:

How to be a Contest Diva: tips and trick for writing contests

In this one week online workshop we’ll be going over some practical tips to becoming a contest diva! I’ll be focusing on all aspects of entering contests, from polishing your entry to turning that final and request into a sale. I’ll be specifically focusing on RWA chapter contests, and some of the the things we’ll be going over are:

- How to pick the contest for you
- Small contests versus big ones
- Polishing your entry
- How to make the most of a final and turn it into a sale!

June 14 - 18 Cost $20
For more information or to register for class, please go to:

Instructor Bio:
Gemma Halliday is the author of the highly acclaimed High Heels Mysteries, and the Hollywood Headlines series, as well as two new series debuting soon, including a teen mystery series and a hardcover adult fiction series. Gemma’s books have won a multitude of awards, including a Golden Heart, a National Reader’s Choice award and three RITA nominations. Her books have sold to both the foreign market and to Hollywood for production as a TV series. She is currently published with Dorchester Publishing, Harper Collins, and St. Martin’s Press.


krisgils33 said...

Interesting post. I have been married for so long, I wouldn't have any kind of clue about the dating jungle! But I do remember the "before" days in the world of electronic gadgets (which I must say I am hooked on!). It amazes me how we were able to survive without all that stuff :-)

Lucy said...

I was reading your comments about the things men and women most lie about. Height? Really? Do they think we won't notice when we meet them? Funny!

Maria G. Swan said...

Hi Lucy, yes, and women lie about weight and age and the same question applies. The way I figure, they feel that by the time they meet in person, the chemistry and friendship built over endless hours on the computer and phone will make up for the discrepancy?
I do get complaints mostly from men about the deception. Take care.