A gal pal says that when you’re enamored, smitten, enraptured, enthralled, and/or mesmerized with someone, you become a ninny. Your brain is not fully engaged. You do and say things to or with that person that if you were advising someone else, you’d tell him/her not to do/say. But you find yourself thinking these are perfectly reasonable things to do, or you hear words, phrases and questions fall out of your mouth before engaging your brain. This ninny-ness is confined to when you are speaking to the objet d’amore — otherwise you’re fully functioning to others.

I was captivated by a charming, sexy man. After knowing him only a few weeks, and our expressing our strong mutual attraction, one day I heard myself blurt out on the phone, “Do streakeryou love me?” Arrgh! I immediately knew that was a stupid, stupid, stupid thing to say at this juncture. We’d only known each other a short while, how would anyone know if they loved the other? I tried to backpedal by saying, “That was a stupid question. Just ignore it.” But it was like trying to ignore the streaker at the ball game — it was already out in full view. It sounded so needy, so clingy, so lame. Ugh!

Early in my post-divorce dating life I was bewitched by a man who lived less than a mile from me. I found myself driving out of my way to go by his house when doing errands. What — was I suddenly back in high school? When I snapped out of it and saw how juvenile this was, I stopped.

Have you experienced ninny-ness in your dating life? When you saw yourself being a ninny (during or afterwards), what did you catch yourself doing? How did you learn to stop it (if you did!)?

(See a related post, “When midlife dating is like high school“)

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13 responses to ““Ninny-ness””

  1. Ellen Avatar

    Oh, I know this one! I met someone recently who I really fel for – so I forced myself to be more detached, like a reporter who was collecting facts, and I also forced myself to think before I spoke. It’s worked out great! I look at him more objectively and keep telling myself “he doesn’t have to be ‘the one’” and it takes all the pressure off. I still enoy the emotions and the excitement of it all, but I’m not being stupid about it. Can’t unring a bell, you know! Think first!

    xo Ellen

  2. Ally Avatar

    Your so right, Ellen – that method has been working great, and, it keeps him on his toes, I notice. 🙂

    A few months ago, I was acquainted with a woman in her late 50’s who had me drive her past her beau, then ex-beau’s house. It really threw me that it wasn’t necessarily true that you get wiser as you get older. It really opened my eyes to ninny-ness as an esteem and maturity issue.

  3. Another Ellen Avatar
    Another Ellen

    As always, DG is right on, both with this one and the “high school” posting.

    So, I’m going to take this opportunity to write out my anti-“ninny” efforts in regards to my current situation. I will do my best to

    – not turn “he seems like a pretty good candiate” into “I’m in love!”
    – remember that my first relationship with this person is professional. When I am at his place of work, I will do my best to not cross professional boundaries. For example, I will not bring him food at work (he works through the dinner hour) unless I bring it for everyone.
    – not become his therapist if he seems too bogged down with his own emotional stuff to really connect with me
    – recognize and accept reality. If he wants to see me, or know me, or kiss me, he will make an effort to do so. If he doesn’t he doesn’t.

    Pfew! I feel better now (I think)

  4. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Ellen: This is a great list! Thanks for sharing it.

    I especially need to be reminded of #1 and 4. I should have these tattooed somewhere where I can see them every day!

  5. Another Ellen Avatar
    Another Ellen

    You’re welcome. Number 4 comes is really derived from you and your male counterpart blog.

  6. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Ellen: Thanks for the credit. Sometimes I feel I’m teaching what I need to learn!

    I agree that Jeff Mac has a lot of real-world wisdom and shares it with humor.

    RE: #4, I’ve spent way too much time in the past imagining someone is attracted to me based on very little evidence. Ah, the mind is such a rich place to create fiction — too bad we don’t know it when we’re thinking it!

  7. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Don’t feel bad, do this all the time, and worse, if you can believe it. When I get really depressed, like I am now, I post poems on my blog about being a human trapped in a gargoyle’s body. No wonder I’m alone, if my hideous appearance wasn’t enough to turn men off, my dour mood would surely do the trick.

    The thing is, how do women stay positive when they don’t look like supermodels? As my ex informed me, “all men want a supermodel,” so it stands to reason that even if I fall for a guy, and he, by some miracle, reciprocates my affection for the time being, as soon as he has a chance with a beautiful gal, he’ll dump ugly old me in heartbeat.

    I’m tired of being dumped and dumped and dumped yet again. I may be physically ugly, but I still have feelings, and my feelings get hurt just as eaily as anyone else’s. How do I get a guy, any guy to want to be with me, when the world is full of beautiful women and I’m not one of them? I’ve asked myself this question over and over and I still don’t have any answers. Maybe someone here can enlighten me.

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  8. Gatti Avatar


    I always found it much easier to charm the guys I wasn’t that attracted to, I’m more relaxed, have nothing to lose, don’t go all nervous and say strange things.

    But I found the Sweetie and he doesn’t want a supermodel, absolutely for sure, which is good because I’m only 5’2″, wear glasses, am middle aged, mildly menopausal and gained some weight in the last year so I’m about 20 lbs. over my former “fighting weight”.

    But he loves me, calls me gorgeous all the time, is an admirer in all the meanings of that word.

    And I suspect that most of my other dates didn’t want supermodels either as they seemed well pleased with me (OK, the one who didn’t want to see me again probably wanted a supermodel, but he had been the manager of a famous band in the 80’s and had actually gone out with model-types!).

    Maybe it’s the country backwater I live in, but around here most of the women fall into the “average-normal” category, with a fair few in the “no discernable physical beauties” realm and nearly none in the “eyepopping beautiful” range. I see a goodly portion of them holding hands with fellas, so I assume they have partners and relationships.

    The Sweetie lives in a larger provincial town and it’s much the same there.

    I don’t have an answer for you but my eyes tell me that a woman doesn’t have to be a knockout to have a guy.

  9. Another Ellen Avatar
    Another Ellen


    I know A LOT of women who are not super models and are married or happily involved with good men. And a lot of super models are miserably alone. I’ve heard that smiling a lot, a good sense of humor, and self-confidence trumps size 0 for many, many men. Oh – and lipstick helps!

  10. Gatti Avatar

    I’ve never worn lipstick in my life, or most other makeup for that matter, and I’ve managed to meet and be loved by an excellent man. None of my other gentleman friends seemed to miss the makeup either…!

  11. hunter Avatar

    to Gatti,

    you must be a beautiful woman…

  12. hunter Avatar

    to another ellen,

    some super models are alone because they want to be….at a recent seminar, a female therapist was asked, how can I be more feminine? The therapist said, ‘mostly, keep your mouth shut.’

  13. Gatti Avatar

    Hunter, the Sweetie thinks so and tells me all the time. Being happy and healthy counts for a lot. And smile-y. 🙂