It’s late on a Friday night. I find myself home alone without even a good movie or book to dive into. My son has plans and is gone for the night while I flip through the channels of movies and shows all of which have some element of romance, love or sexual tension.
Watching this is painful. I can’t even lose myself in suspended disbelief. The concept of a real life man actually keeping eye contact with me for reason other than I accidentally cut him off on the freeway is the wildest fiction.
In spite of what everyone might think, I am indeed human. Like all other humans, I long for someone to connect with on various levels beyond freeway interludes where fingers are flipping me off rather than… flipping me off.
So I throw together a profile on one of the dating sites just to see who is out there. I’m not desperate. Let’s be clear. I am happy. I am comfortable with my life’s direction. At the same time, I would love to meet someone. This is that line in site About Me pages that says, “looking for someone to compliment my life.” Total utter garbage!
We are all liars!!!!!!!!
Here’s what happens next. The inbox gets twenty hits immediately because I’m fresh meat. Most introductory emails involve emojis complete with heart eyes.
Of those 20 hits, 8 are 15 years younger, 8 are 15 years older and 4 are in my age range but only two have pictures and a discerning eye might suggests that “athletic and toned” was a high school memory recalled when creating the profile.
It’s a nice ego boost.
I can still attract those looking for a MIFL or cougar or whatever the kids are calling it these days. I mean I only use Kik to spy on my son who uses Kik. Now you want me to “hit you up on Kik so we can learn about ourselves?” What does that mean?
How does Kik help us learn about ourselves? I’m pretty sure I’m okay on the understanding myself area. But the fact that I’m correcting grammar makes me sexy like a schoolteacher and then … they bring friends.
I start to think that they are all sitting in a room together. Bets are on to see which approach gets the desperate middle ager in the sack. Think about it; they are the same age, live in the same area and work in the same industry. Am I wrong to think they aren’t tossing some brews back with a white board of one-liners to see which works? Who isn’t looking for trouble on a Friday night?
Then there’s the next generation – not quite the greatest generation though I think some of these dudes might be lying about their age. Let’s face it. Women live longer than men and with you already 15, 20 or 30 years my senior; we’re counting the days down to your demise.
Sorry! That’s bitchy. I know.
But really, you expect us to travel the world and enjoy life’s spoils on a moment’s notice. How’s this for a moment’s notice: on Monday at 9 pm I’ll have to get printer ink for the term paper due Tuesday at 9 am that I was just told about 17 second ago by my son. Yes, I’m living my life by the seat of my on-fire-freaking pants.
I’m really not in a position to roam the world at will. I can barely roam my bathroom without interruption from my son for something he probably didn’t really need in the first place.
And for those who don’t have pictures or say “athletic and toned” while balancing a Corona on your beer belly, I say this, “Sorry, it doesn’t work for me.” Look, I’m not perfect. I rarely wear makeup, often wear a baseball cap and dress in workout clothes 95% of the time. I’m no beauty queen.
But at least my face in on the site. You can see me and I’m trying – as embarrassing as it might be to run into someone at the grocery store. I’m trying. I’m putting myself out there and quite frankly it sucks!
But telling me how “pretty and sexy” I am and “can we chat” without letting me see your face is like going to a bar and asking a girl out while wearing a bag on your head and saying “hey baby, want to be my #1? I’m tall with blue eyes and can’t you see my athletic and toned body?” I’m sure there are places in this world where that works, but not on my laptop in my bedroom on a Friday night.
Things that come out of a box with instructions in a language I don’t speak have more personality.
Now of course, I don’t expect to be the only one taking a risk and saying the first “hello.” When your profile says “tell you later” or “blah blah blah hate talking about me, so ask” you really aren’t helping me connect. Onward I go. Trying.
I search and read profiles and do my best to take something said, or an interest and make a connection or some stupid witty intro. It’s dating so yes I know it’s not perfect or suave or even cool. Again, I’m a bit of a dork. I get it. But I am trying!
Of course, I then realize that the one thing I didn’t notice in your profile is the age range of who you’re looking for. Never fails, I’m a year older than your desired age range. Of course, every man within my age group is looking to have that younger thang to make him feel virile instead of sterile.
I do get it. I have an age range too (that doesn’t include 15 years older or younger – more like five and five).
But I have a picture rappelling down a waterfall! You like hiking and camping. Isn’t that cause for exception to your age rule by a year or two? I mean, am I really that grotesque to my own age group? Are those in the 15 years plus and minus just assuming that I’m so ugly that I am desperate?
So on I plow through the email propositions. I’ve been in long-term relationships that don’t have as much dirty talk as you get in the first five lines of an online introduction.
It occurs to me through all of this that I need to consider why am I here on a dating site on a Friday night.
The answer is simple. I am desperate!
Not desperate in the sense of needing to hook up with a dude for sex. Not desperate that I need a man to come and rescue me from some horrible life I have. Not desperate for a relationship in a needy sense.
But I am desperate.
- Desperate to feel mutually attracted to someone and get those butterflies when I think about meeting them.
- Desperate to be able to be sarcastic, silly and flirtatious yet be taken seriously when I switch gears.
- Desperate for an opportunity to find someone I connect with.
- Desperate for someone to understand why just running out and meeting isn’t an easy thing for a single mom with dinner and homework duties and evening family rituals.
- Desperate to not be trolled by scams of men fallen under desperate times like:
“My account got hacked and the bank hasn’t fixed it, I need to get my sweet young son a gift and he loves iTunes. Buy me an iTunes card baby.”
“I lost my wife to breast cancer and my son is my life. My profile says NJ but I’m on a peace keeping mission to Pakistan. Now that you’re in my life ….” – the world really should be much safer if this is true based on sheer number of men in this EXACT situation.
But really, I reply, “Hey” and we’re walking down the aisle?
I’m not delusional. I realize that online dating, and dating in general isn’t perfect. I’m also fully aware of the difference between someone who just wants to hookup and someone looking for a relationship.
I honestly don’t judge anyone. I’ve had guys proposition me with things that make me blush – hard to do. And it’s cool when they take the no and say, “Hey, thanks for replying. Hope you find what you’re looking for.”
That’s awesome, healthy and appreciated. I almost want to do what you propositioned just because that was so stand up! Almost.
But really – I do hope those dudes (and dudettes if we must be honest) get what they are looking for too. Don’t we all deserve that?
Whether it’s a hookup or a long-term relationship? Whether its cuddles over a sunset or naughty reenactments from Fifty Shades of Grey? Whether its Sunday church or Sunday hikes or both? We are all there hoping to find our desires.
But I know that I’m not alone in my experience and knowledge that this is a lot to ask. The reality of online dating begins with that initial surge of ego boost but is usually followed by extreme disappointment. After all, if everyone hates it but still goes online, shouldn’t that increase the odds of finding someone to fit my bill?
Instead, by the end of the night I’ve changed my profile to private and not long after is deleted. In two months, I’ll be pissed when I get lonely again because I’ll try to create a new profile and the site automatically reverts to the old one that I now see totally sucks.
And so another Friday night will begin.
No, I’m not jaded – entirely. Is online dating the answer? Dunno! I’ve seen catastrophe and I’ve seen brilliantly happy marriages. But I think all of us need to protect our families, our hearts and ourselves.
Share your back-to-dating horror stories below.