I would normally post an interview today, (big apologies to those of you who were looking for one) but I thought I’d deviate from the usual and tell you all about something that is such a common part of our culture now. I am going to share one of my recent social adventures — dating, more specifically, dating sites. The following may seem far-fetched, but keep in mind, fact is usually stranger than fiction. As for the following… Every. Word. Is. True.
Having been in a lengthy relationship (which I stayed with long past its expiration date), I found myself at a loss when I made the decision to end it. After all, now I’m almost 7 years older and long out of the game, where does a fifty something woman meet men? Church? Not likely. Most of the men that attend only do so because they have a WIFE that guilts them into it. Club? I’m not a drinker, a smoker, or a cougar – so…. no. Someone suggested the obits. Seriously? I thought that only worked in nursing homes and on The Golden Girls. Anyway, I’m well past the age of using my kids to snag introductions to their friends’ single fathers and I’m not inclined to run up and down a soccer field while coaching a bunch of twelve-year-olds in the hopes of impressing some singleton in the stands. So, what’s a girl to do?
Internet dating. So avant-garde, right?
I decided to make a pros and cons list (really just a stall tactic). I began with the pros.
- Can be done from a plane on the way to a meeting or from the comfort of my recliner, while wearing PJ’s. (That in itself made it worth doing.)
- For the $39.95 ‘start-up’ fee, I am able to browse thousands of men without having to fix my hair or wear makeup.
- There’s no pressure and no obligation to browse.
- If (and when – because most often, there is a when) they cross that line, I can rid myself of them with the click of my mouse. Much easier than pretending to be sick or sneaking out the back door of a comedy club (True story).
- And I can do all of this while wearing PJ’s!!! I know I said that before, but it bears repeating.
So, even with so few pros and a legal pad full of cons, I signed up. I’d like to say I went with Match.com because I compared many internet-dating sites and they offer the most value for your money or because they have the highest success rate, but the truth is, I chose them simply because the photographs of the men (actors) they use in their ads kicked the competition’s butt! Have you seen them? And possibly because the guy from the eHarmony commercials creeps me out a little….
Once I input my profile information and uploaded my photos, I clicked off and went to bed, anxious to see whom they matched me with.
Day 1 – WOW. Would you look at all of the emails, winks, likes, pokes, prods, and favorites I got since last night? This is going to be easier than I thought.
Day 1, evening – Read through every last email, ignored the pokes and prods, clicked yay or nay on my twenty-four daily matches. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not one mutual like. But, it’s only day one.
Day 2 – Considerably fewer emails, but all I need is one, right? I did get a second email from a man who had sent one yesterday, telling me that he posted new pictures. (Stressing the pictures, not a good sign) The photos were of the house he someone rents in OBX, his a Lexus, his a Harley, and a ten-point buck. Yeah, won me over with that one.
Day 3 – I had no idea that middle-aged men took so many selfies!
Day 4 – In continuing with the Harley theme, I receive an email from a guy who is a self-proclaimed man’s man. He hunts (okay), he fishes (I can live with that), he plays cards with the guys on Friday nights (nothing too unusual there), and he wants to be buried ON HIS HARLEY! Upright, gripping the bars, hair blown back…..
Day 5 – I am down to a manageable number of emails first thing in the morning now. The first one I open is from a man in Provo Utah. What? Did Utah run out of single women and he’s decided to import them? Next is from a man whose wife is terminally ill. She made him join so that he could find someone now, before she’s gone, so that he’ll never have to be alone. How sweet (…..in a morbid kind of way).
Day 6 – Email from a guy who says, “I see you have kids, like me. I have two boys and a girl, how about you? And if any of them are girls, do you have pictures?” Oh god… (If I were thinking clearly, I would have sent him pictures of my cousin (the police officer’s) daughters and his direct number) HA!
Day 7 – The site must be running out of matches for me, because today they send me my usual twenty-four, but twenty of them are smokers and I clearly checked off ‘NO SMOKERS’ when I filled out my profile. Do you suppose they figure that if I haven’t run across anyone who appeals to me by now, I might change my mind??
Day 8 – I receive an email from a man who says he’s fifty-three. He includes a photo of himself and claims (claims being the operative word here) that it was taken within the last few months. I would take him for 55-60, but hey, Father Time doesn’t treat some as well as he treats others, and looks have never topped my priority list anyway. Upon closer inspection, I notice a banner in the background that reads ‘HAPPY NEW YEAR 2005’. I then notice people in party hats with the year 2005 on them. My internal calculator begins adding ‘em up. Hmm, you say you’re 53…. You look 58…. Your 2014 photograph is actually 9 ½ years old…. Liar! The only thing worse than a liar is a really, really old liar. And the only thing worse than a really, really old liar, is a really, really old, dumb liar!
Day 9 – No emails. Relief. Seriously. My visions of meeting a man with a modicum of intelligence and enough humor to make him endearing are fading faster than Cameron Diaz’s looks.
Day 12 – (I’m now disenchanted with the whole process and only check my email every few days) I receive another letter from Day 4’s Harley dude. “Hey baby, I haven’t heard from you. Did the Harley thing flake you out? Sorry. I guess I should have been more clear. If we hook up, I’d want you buried next to me on your bike when the time comes.”
Needless to say, I haven’t been on a date and won’t be recommending internet dating to anyone I like. But, the experience has taught me that it’s not so bad being happily single after all.
And if the above interactions aren’t enough to make you think twice about joining one of the happily-ever sites that take monetary advantage of lonely romantics, allow me to leave you with a few honorary mentions, again, all true…
“I like women who still wear garters and stockings, the kind with the line that runs all the way up her leg, and heels. And I like it when she leaves them on during”… “My ex-wife this, my ex-wife that, you would like my ex-wife”… “Well, I was living outta my car up until bout a month ago when my brother told me I could use his trailer til he got outta prison, well it ain’t really a trailer it’s more like a camper like the kind you pull with your car when it’s running”… “My mother said if we make it to a fifth date, I can bring you home to meet her”… (from a guy 5’8” and 325 lbs.) “I’m looking for a woman who is athletic and toned because if a woman doesn’t care about her own health, she isn’t going to care about mine”… (from a guy who smokes) “No smokers please. If you’ve ever kissed a smoker you’d understand why I feel that way”… And then there’s the guy who says he doesn’t smoke, yet in every one of his (current) pictures, he’s holding a lit cigarette!
Although I’ve tried to implement humor in my adventures, that is not always the case among those who participate in online dating. We’ve all heard horror stories and I’ve included a link to one that recently appeared all over the news. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in online dating be very, very careful who they give their personal information to, including but not limited to their home address.
Anyone have a similar story? Come on, dish 😉
To all of the singles out there, HAPPY DATING!