A few days ago I posted a status on facebook that got me thinking about my history of dating….here is the status in case you missed it…..
I’d write a book about how awful internet dating is, but I just cannot manage to be interested enough in any of these weirdos to bother going on an actual date.
Here’s the thing. I really enjoy meeting people face to face. I am fearless, open, and I laugh at jokes. I love talking, asking questions and finding chemistry, but for whatever the reason is, meeting anyone with romance potential has been challenging – to the point that it just hasn’t happened. So, being the social network addict that I am, I decided to give eharmony a try! They boast about their success rate and are always showing commercials full of adorable, happy couples (I want to be an adorable happy couple!!) and as part of my commitment to myself in 2013, I know it’s time to really start trying to find that special someone, because life is far more interesting with a special someone to have adventures with.
I feel like I am the weirdest demographic, I am single,
25 35, with no little people of my own and I live in the part of America where everyone gets married at 22. This isn’t a complaint, just a statement of fact. And I’m not desperately seeking just anyone, seriously. I’m happy, but I do want to get married and have a family, and at this point in my life I don’t feel there is any reason I shouldn’t be completely honest about that. The truth is, my first go at love was a total bust. I chose a person who couldn’t have been more wrong for me, but oh the chemistry (at least at first…and then he just stopped liking me.) So when I think about my future honey bunny, I know, without hesitation that I want to marry my best friend. I want to be with someone who doesn’t expect me to become someone else, I want to be with someone who thinks I am the bees knees….idiosyncracies and all, and I want to think that about them as well (and I will)…..because let’s be honest….
No one is perfect. We are all flawed and broken and pitiful in our own ways, but that’s what makes us beautiful too.
I don’t have a type, not that I can identify anyway. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and I am not sure I could tell you in words any specific details. I just want to believe that I’ll know it when I know it, and the pull will be so strong that running in the opposite direction won’t be an option. At least, that’s what I have learned from 80’s rock ballads. The truth is, I don’t date. I don’t really know how, and no one ever asks, so I am not sure where to go from here; well, actually I went to the internet and that’s when things just got weird.
I started out on Plenty of Fish, the “free” dating website. I did it just to test the waters after my divorce and see who was out there. Well, I should have known that choosing the free site would get me nowhere good, but I am nothing if not eternally optimistic.
My very first date after my divorce was with a guy named “Mark.” Although I wasn’t blown away by his profile pictures, he seemed sweet enough and I thought about that old saying, “even if it looks bad on the rack, maybe it’ll look great on you.” (Which I get makes me sound like a freaking terrible person, but sometimes it’s true.) Except in this case. I should have left “Mark” on the rack. The date started out fine, although he was wearing a Hawaiin shirt and I just could not figure it out. We were at Old Chicago, we were not at a luau. Did his mother tell him he looked good in that shirt? (Which consequently, she did, I came to find out.) “Mark” was really quite nice, a little bit goofy, but he paid for my beer and then offered to buy me dinner. I agreed, and even though I wasn’t feeling any mojo, I thought, why not? I like free dinner! We proceeded to order and then enjoy one final round of drinks, and I thought, this wasn’t so bad and that’s when it happened. These actual words came out of “Mark’s” mouth. “You know, you are quite pretty. Much prettier than the last woman I dated. I stayed with her, well, because she was pretty well off. But, you know, you really could stand to lose about 20 more pounds. Not that I wouldn’t date you, but yeah, I was a trainer once and about 20 pounds.”
I can’t tell you why I stayed until the end of that date. I should have laughed in his face and walked out, but I was so stunned that I just had to see how this was going to end. (Plus, I wanted to finish my free beer!) He did pay for dinner, and he walked me to my Jeep, and then he asked if I’d like to still sleep with him. To which I replied, “Are you fucking kidding me?” Ah, sweet memories.
It was soon after that, that my dating tide started to change….
I met “Bobby” – he was ADORABLE! Handsome, funny, very flattering and lived in South Carolina. We IM’d constantly, emailed back and forth, and I even had a friend take some really nice pictures of me at the Arboretum just for him. It was really nice and incredibly promising. He loved weight lifting, was super silly and totally charming me, I started opening up to the idea of dating someone long distance. I am a sucker for a romantic story, and honestly after being propositioned about 50 times on plenty of fish, I finally met someone who wanted to get to know me. About a month after we met we decided to start video chatting on instant messenger and it was amazing. We had actual chemistry, even though we were in different states. We talked a lot about meeting and after about 3 months I started to let my guard down. I started to trust him, and then, just like that, he vanished. No explanation, no goodbye, just gone.
After “Bobby” I had 7 innings of text relationships. Men I never met that would text me all day, every day for weeks at a time. I don’t know why I was putting up with this, but not a single one of them could be nailed down to go on a proper date, and what’s even weirder is that they weren’t even smarmy….they were just nice “how’s your day?” “I miss you” “hey babe” – and although I found each of these relationships (obviously I am using the term loosely) strange, I indulged in the behavior because it was nice to think someone was thinking about me, which in retrospect makes me sound pitiful, but it was a rough time in my life.
After months of nonsense and no real progress on the relationship front, and still feeling slightly burned by the disappearing act of one sweet faced southern boy, I decided to get smart! No more lengthy emailing sessions, no more IM chat’s that would always abruptly end when the dude would suddenly get reeeeaaaalllll weird (hello, we’re strangers??!) No, I was throwing my fishing pole straight into the pond and upgrading to the fancy site with the pretty commercials!
Match.com! Yeah! Love was finally on it’s way, I would meet my perfect match and we would be handsome together! And so I joined and then I waited. And waited, aaannndddd waited. And 3 months later I had, had exactly ZERO matches. I would email, flirt, wink, be hilarious, and not a single one of the 100 men I responded to replied back. My ego was starting to get pretty damaged. Where was my totally cool, ukelele playing match? So I took a break, and then I met “Eric.”
I actually met “Eric” on plenty o fish, having not actually deleted my profile I was still getting matches. He seemed really nice, and had a sweet face. We emailed for a few weeks and then finally decided to meet. “Eric” was the only guy I met online that I went on more than one date with. And in all honesty and fairness he was a total gem, but he just wasn’t the one for me, and I knew it. I tried, I really did. I wanted to like him, but it was just a zero chemistry match, and after a second date I never called him again. I attribute the zero chemistry to one fact that was so totally not his fault, and shouldn’t have been held against him, and that was that he was 50% Israeli. Once he told me that his dad was an Israeli who had come to the US, knocked up his mom, then left the country, I literally felt sick. My ex-husband was from Israel, and I just felt an immediate recoil. C’est la vie!
I decided to check match again, and to my (un)surprise: not a single match. Word. Moving on! After some life changing events, and mind altering experiences my next foray was on Christian Mingle! Surely, a like minded man, would court me, date me and cherish me forever. Or, as in my case, stalk me. For months. 15 emails a day, from a grocery clerk in Missouri, who was convinced that I was his soul mate, left me quickly canceling my membership and shuddering at the sheer creepiness of it all.
So, I took a break. I played the field (no I didn’t, I hung out with my dogs and sewed a bunch of aprons) and I lived my life as a bachelor(ette)/spinster. It was nice. I read, I wrote, I worked and I figured a BUNCH of my personal nonsense out. I got really into weightlifting, and I tried not to think about it. And then everyone & their mother shared their cliches *note I love cliches! (No I really do! Like me, they are so dang optimistic!)
*It’ll happen when it’s meant to!
*The perfect match is out there for you!
*It’ll happen when you aren’t looking!
*I just know you will find that special someone!
*It’s his loss! (hee hee…this makes me laugh)
And then it happened. One day I woke up and I realized that I better get on it. So I did my homework and I joined eharmony, and this is where we are today. And let me tell you, it is special (and I don’t mean SPECIAL, I mean “special”)…..I never truly realized how many people just don’t give a damn about themselves….this is a direct quote from one of the more honest profiles: “I am lazy, fat and overweight. Desperately seeking love.” Ok, that one made me cry a little. Or the non-descript beer belly man who is using that bad photo that someone took of him laying on the couch. Yeah, gotta get me some of that. Oh it is illuminating and disheartening. My favorite though, are the questions, see eharmony is really guided, so they force you through this communication channel, which is really unnatural for me, but whatever (for the record after talking to 35 men, I have only gotten to the email portion with 2 of them, because they freaking vanish!) Somewhere there is a vortex of lost socks and single men. I just know it. Anyway, oh yeah, the questions are the best: How do you feel about pre-marital sex? How many books did you read last year? Um. I don’t know about you, but if the VERY first thing you ask me, is how I feel about sleeping with you, having never met or interacted with you, there is a good chance we aren’t going to be talking again. Furthermore, if every single picture you post is of you and a bunch of other women, or you and all 9 of your kids, or you and A WEDDING PARTY…..it ain’t happening. Dear God, help me. I HATE DATING in 2013. If I could just meet someone, face to face, get to know them, let them get to know me….good things could happen.
But, people don’t really connect anymore. They don’t make eye contact, they don’t smile, and they certainly don’t do adorable things like ask you out. And no matter what anyone says, men don’t appreciate a girl that asks them out. Case in point: for an entire year I flirted with the same guy. A year. Everyone thought he was interested in me, he bumbled, stumbled and got really awkward in that super adorable way, every time we talked. So I asked him out (and it was freaking brilliant the way I did it!) and you know what he said – it was a progression of “Oh.” “um. oh” “errrr….uhhhhhh…oh.” Like I was some hook nosed, scary, terrible creature that had just risen from a cauldron and scared the hell out of him. We never spoke again. I felt like a complete moron, and realized that I must read every situation wrong.
So I officially give up. I mean it. I am just going to be the awkward girl I am and stop wondering if he’s (and that’s a universal “he”) interested. Because, I’m tired. If he’s out there, I hope he’s willing to do a little bit of work, because I’m over it.
In fairness to the universe, God and everyone else, let me share one thing so very clearly. I have learned something so important over the last 5 years of my life, and it is simply this: My life is happening right now. There is no perfect moment, or person, or timing. This life is scary, and hard and lonely and confusing, but it’s also so fucking beautiful I often can’t breathe. Maybe I’ll find that someone (or he’ll find me) – or maybe I won’t, but it won’t change how grateful I am that I get to live the rest of my life with endless love in my heart. I am hopeful that I will get to have a family, but I have finally come to accept that there are just no guarantees in this broken world.
*no names have been changed in the writing of this article, because I like to live on the edge! Also sorry for the swearing, that’s not usually my style, but this story called for it.
**Also, I adore your advice, and despite my declarations, I’ll never stop trying to find love. It’s part of what makes me, me. Oh yes, and I lied about not having a type. But I can do that. It’s my story.