All posts by Tauriel Woodland

Another Movie in the Mix

I am so lucky I have my muse Amy Webb to guide me. I haven’t been bowled over by my success on So what am I doing wrong? What am I missing on my profile? I know (and not just because Oprah told me so) that I am a valuable human being worthy of being with… so what gives?


One step that Amy took that I decided to take was to check out the plastics.


While I have no proof that the other women are more or less successful than I have been, I decided that I can best determine the next step I needed to take by checking out the competition. I set up a profile for a man looking for women in my age group in my geographic area. What did I notice that was different than me?

1) Most of the women work- there are A LOT of teachers on there! I’m a stay at home mom.


2) These women are blonde and have bigger, whiter smiles than I have. And they have lots of fun friends.

gym class

3) These ladies really like sports. They go to lots of football games!


4) They drink. A LOT.


5) They show a lot more skin than I do, and take more playful pictures.


So what does this data mean to me?


No, I’m not going to change ME. And I’m not going to perform plastic sabotage. But I may change how I present me. I am fun, and I am funny- but I don’t come off that way in my photos. In my quest to be successful, and in all efforts to put the research to proper use, I’ve failed to relay what’s unique about me. I’m not a plastic. I don’t wear pink on Wednesdays. I’m not in a wine club with my blonde friends (I’m a ginger!), and I’m not into the outdoors or football. How do I show that in words or in profile pics? There’s no research for that!


Moral of the story:


*all of these Mean Girl comments are in jest. Tearing down other women isn’t fetch.



What ‘chu Tolkien About, Willis?

One of gentlemen who has been emailing me through asked me about watching The Battle of Five Armies. We’ve exchanged a few varied notes about the expanded Tolkien universe, but in the last one he came off like a bit of know-it-all. He started it with, “If you know Tolkien, you know the stories are all allegory for WWI and WWII England.”


NO. I do not know that. I know that some people on the internet think it is so, but it’s not true.


Tolkien was specific about LOTR not being allegory. Tolkien in general disliked allegory. He even disliked allegory written by his friend C.S Lewis. The FORWARD of LOTR has a note that said it wasn’t an allegory.   I think that in this case, the ONLY opinion that matters on the subject is the writer’s. He says it’s not an allegory, so, it’s not an allegory.

I had been so excited to continue talking with this man. We’ll call him “Draco.”


I don’t expect Draco to know every quote Professor Tolkien has spoken. I certainly don’t expect someone who stated they last read the books in 1985 to get it all right. It is reasonable, though, if you’re going to pontificate about something so specific, you google to get it right. It is possible, I guess, that he did google, but did so poorly. Poor Draco, always making wrong choices.

wrong hobbit

What ended up being more of a problem is that he wrote an entire paragraph about it. As if I was gifted from God this glorious teacher, he proceeded to show off his WWI and WWII knowledge, and inform me (the Tolkien fan between the two of us), how it all impacted Tolkien. Sigh.


He then misunderstood a statement I made about “keeping my mouth shut to avoid telling everyone the dirty truth.” I meant  it figuratively, as I struggle with NOT correcting those around me, once I have been properly educated fully on a subject. He took me literally and chose to write yet another paragraph as though he was my teacher, telling me things I already know about Ancient Roman sewage systems. Yes, our 3rd conversational email covers sewage.


At least in the last paragraph he gave me a break, and started talking about CROSS-FIT.


I am not as excited to continue conversing with Draco.  Part of me wonders, was that first paragraph a test? Should I bother disagreeing with him? Should I save this material for playful “date-banter?” Then the other part of me gets pissed. He talked down to me. This makes me think about my behavior in general; I can’t let things go. Bottom line: I don’t have to prove him wrong in order to be right.

It’s still a quandary, and it stinks like Roman sewage.






Is this The Daily Phophet or The Quibbler?

quibdaily prophet

I enrolled one of my hiking buddies to help me take some staged pictures. Because it was 25 degrees (f) and, in my opinion, entirely too cold to hike, I dressed the part of a hiker and paired my smile with a red scarf.


We then dashed to my house and staged a Christmas photo.


I was really thrilled when 30 seconds or so after my photos were associated with my profile, I already had an email. Although I was prepared to follow Amy’s directions for 24-48 hour delay in email response, I couldn’t help but open the email to read it. Color me disappointed. All the email said was, “Want some meatloaf????”


I was so disgusted. And it didn’t end there. In the past few days, I received emails from over 20 men, and less than 5 actually appeared to have read my profile and attempted to have a legitimate email conversation. The others fancied themselves as:


Even the five I received weren’t from men that fit my must-haves and cant-stands requirements. My wise friend Barb advised me to utilize a few of those unattractive candidates to practice my email banter. She was right! I started up, and glanced over the gentlemen’s profiles and tried to follow recommendations I’ve read online. I carefully complimented, referenced a mutual interest, responded upon what they wrote and asked a leading question.

I’m happy to say the correspondence has continued with these guys, and one asked me for a date! I’m not free for another week, so I have a long time to read about “How to Appear Like You Are Normal.” This could take a while.


And So It Begins

I’ve done it. I’ve published my profile.


I’ve had a ton of emails on my profile! Ok, maybe not a ton. 2. I’ve had 2 emails.

2 already

They both asked for a photo.

frodo selfie

I don’t consider myself a photogenic person. I do not frequently, if ever, post selfies online. I decided to do research on the most effective profile photos for online dating, and among the directions were:

1) Solo photos. No photos including friends, children or pets. Well, all my photos include those.


2) Wear red, and if possible, red lipstick. I don’t wear red much. I have one red sweater and one red scarf. Does a Gryffindor scarf count as red?


3) Show teeth.

gollum teeth

4) Be outside, and if possible, reflect activity.


After all this, and after many selfies, I decided on this:


In all seriousness, I really want this to be a successful endeavor. I did try to take some selfies. I wasn’t happy with any of them. That lead to some self-reflection that perhaps confidence is a big issue for me with dating. Especially when I’m looking at some of the photos the gentlemen have chosen to post. Am I being too picky with my photo, or are they not being picky enough?

After taking some time to meditate on this, I fear that in my seriousness, I have made a mistake by not starting my profile with pictures. I have missed my first chance with many men. I want to remedy this by taking photos tomorrow, New Year’s Eve, but I am not going to post them until New Year’s Day.

I also hereby resolve to not be so serious. I have found the perfect profile photo.


Forward? or Forward!

So Christmas happened, and I told my family I am going to online date. They are quite surprised. One of the questions that came up was, “How are YOU going to POSSIBLY find someone online?!”

what did you say

Even though the question seems a little insulting, it didn’t bother me because that’s exactly how I felt before I saw the Ted Talk with Amy Webb.

I was able to use her talks’ talking points to explain to my family that online dating is exactly what I need to find an unattached, 40-50 years old, liberal, Christian, non-hunting, Frodo-phile in the middle of the Deep South. When I told them that Amy had a theoretical pool of 35 possibly eligible men in Philadelphia, an area 3x larger than my metro area, they were able to do the math.

I realize I am starting to sound like an Amy Webb fangirl. It’s probably because I AM an Amy Webb fangirl. Unlike many “tips” and “tricks” I’ve seen advertised as online dating hacks, Amy advocates being your best self online, with no tomfoolery or ballyhoo. She isn’t suggesting makeup shading or seductive language to lure a fellow with sex. She suggests to simply present your best self, get objective feedback, and target your audience.

When I went on youtube to show my mother the original Ted Talk, a few television appearances popped up on the menu. Today I watched a small snippet of an episode of The View and an ABC interview Amy was giving for her book. Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match

I took away a few more tips, and decided to watch a few more videos. And then, in the next video, Amy referenced Mary Poppins. Total fangirl moment. My inner 14 year old squee-d. I just told my mother over dinner that I was going to describe myself with these words: Practically Perfect in Every Way.


That is a cheeky joke, but I have been putting some thought into my profile. I really do want to be able to weed out people with whom I don’t think I will be compatible with long-term, but I am frightened that I may polarize potential dating material by advertising my very firm “must-haves” and “can’t-stands.” It is in these moments that I begin to feel hopeless again about the candidates for me in my geographic area.

Another question my parents had for me was when I was starting. I remember seeing commercials last year after the new year with sales. So, I’m thinking for money’s sake, that I will look for New Year’s sales or maybe a groupon deal.

Regardless of when I will “go live,” it’s another step forward today. Run Shadowfax, show us the meaning of haste.



Darcy, Aragorn, Sam, Heathcliff, Gatsby, Westley, and…

I am not a fan of romance novels. I’m not a fan of fantasy novels. I’m a fan of developed characters, and fantastic stories. Many a single lady has dreamed of the day their Mr. Darcy would rescue them. The patron saint of single ladies cried over Mr. Darcy on this very Christmas Eve!

christmas eve

Now, I am no Bridget Jones. I am nowhere near as FABULOUS as she is, nor am I blessed to have the humor she does with the failings in the romance department.

I fully recognize that all of the people I reference are fictional characters (none of which I own) and do not exist in the real world. But it is still fun, nonetheless, to daydream of a love like one that inspires songs, poems, and novels.

I once had a passionate affair, and I confessed to my lover that, because of him, I know now how and why those lines were writ. Even now, with this writing bringing that occasion to mind, I’m a bit light-headed and dreamy-eyed. He turned out to be a married lying liar, and all he had said was lies and deceit. Back to the point, I would wager that people of romantic sensibility desire those feelings to be pulled from inside their very spirit (but with truth and love, unlike my experience).

So I began to purposefully daydream about some book romances, and would I desire for my beau to love me in the way the man in the scenario did?

Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)

darcy the other darcy

Impossible to choose between those two screen images of the even better book character. Would I want my “Frodo” to love me like Darcy loves Elizabeth? Upon my word, yes! I could not speak more favorably of my estimation of him. I verily state I would give him my heart.

Aragorn (Tolkien)


Would I desire my love to love me like Aragorn loves Arwen? A love to wait lifetimes for! Arwen was over 2,000 years old when they met. Aragorn and Arwen stay faithful to each other despite great distances of time and space. Their love saves each other. So, that’s a yes.

Samwise Gamgee


I don’t recall Sam saying that quote in the book (please correct me if I am wrong). Regardless, love for his old Gaffer, and the Shire sustained Sam, and thoughts of her lightened his heart. Although sweet- I shoot for higher.

Heathcliff: He doesn’t even get a photo. Asshole be crazy. Ain’t nobody want crazy love! And even fictional characters that think this story is healthy are crazy! (I’m lookin’ at you, Bella Swan!)

Jay Gatsby:


While not quite AS obsessed as Heathcliff, he still loves unhealthily; caring not what destruction he causes as long as he gets what HE wants. PASS



“As you wish.” The first romance I aspired to as a child. Still holds a sweet spot in my heart. I would agree to a MAWWIAGE with Westley.

Finally, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the love story I love the most:


I cannot write long enough or eloquently enough to describe my love for Snape’s love for Lily. Yes, he had failures in it. His love shows, that love- true love- can persevere through being passed over. He showed his love for her through his life and through his death.


I have a long road to find my “Always.” I’m not sure if it will be on, or if it will be with a fellow who scored high enough to warrant for date expenditure. The one thing I know, it isn’t going to happen at home, alone, blogging.

I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can’t turn back. It isn’t to see Elves now, nor dragons, nor mountains, that I want – I don’t rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire.” The Fellowship of the Ring

Mines of Moria

Can I afford to date? If I go through with, how much might this cost me?

I’m a single mom. I’m not Scrooge McDuck.


My head is thinking there’s not only the cost of match; there’s also the cost of “dating.” For any men readers not in the know, let me fill you in… dating is expensive for women. There’s clothing, hair, make-up, nails, waxing, in addition to the costs everyone faces, like the cost for the actual date and gasoline, and intangible costs like time away from friends and family, and additional worry.

Before you start with the “hair and make-up aren’t necessary” lines. Here is what I look like in the morning:


Once a crew gets a hold of me like Cinna got ahold of Katniss, I start thinking:


And as I walk out of the door for my date, I resemble:


Except I wear something a bit more conservative. Like a nun habit. More on that later. I am totally new to this, so in my feedback sessions with my friends, they tell me that some first-meet dates are just coffee dates. Some first meet dates (if either person travels or if a positive connection is made in chatting) are dinner dates.

If you can’t already tell, I over-think things. I will need to form some sort of hair calculation tool to weigh how much I like a gentleman versus hair expenses. A blow-out is $25 (plus tip). A full style is $55 (plus tip). Some girls are defined by their make-up, some by their personality; I am defined by my hair. Amy Webb made an algorithm to decide whether to meet someone- I’ll use one to decide whether to meet my dates with my best hairdo or not.

I can probably minimize my clothing costs by going back to a tool I used in high school, a notepad. I kept meticulous count of each item of clothing I wore. If I combine this, a hairdo algorithm and meet only truly viable men, using a paid dating site may be possible for this single mom!