Thursday, April 19, 2012

Online Dating - The Highway to Hell

The title may say it all when it comes to my thoughts about online dating. I am currently in the midst of writing a book, and in that book, there is a whole chapter dedicated to my dating disasters of past. Ask my friends, they’ll tell you--I actually have enough material to write a whole book about what happened to me. My question is, who are all these people that supposedly meet the love of their life online? And more importantly, what the hell did I do to karma to end up with all of the crazies?

My most recent (and possibly the last) online date was a few Sundays ago. I thought I had done a pretty good job of screening out the wing-nuts (that’s for you Trish) while on the site, but that in my mind is one of the pitfalls of online dating--you don’t really see what the person is like until you’re in front of them--there’s no body language, nuances, eye contact, etc. You’re reading a profile that was designed to attract the opposite sex...yes, sex being the operative word there--that’s a whole other online dating discussion.

We met up at a local Starbucks--he was about 20 mins late which was strike number one. We recognized each other immediately--incidentally, he was wearing a suit with dress shoes and I was in full Lululemon athletic wear--I thought it was just a casual meeting at Starbucks. I could deal with the suit but I was having hard time getting past the giant cross around his neck--and I don’t mean the big over-done-gangster kind, I mean there was a Jesus-nailed-to-it kind of cross. Don’t get me wrong, I am very respectful of people’s religious beliefs, but that was a ridiculously large cross that I would suspect would only be fitting only for a monk and maybe an altar boy or two.

I will preface what I am about to say by giving some insight into how I think as a modern-day woman of 41. I believe in women’s rights, I make my own money, I have my own home, I don’t need a man to fix stuff around the house for me (although any man wearing a tool belt is always welcome)--but at the same time, I can truly, truly appreciate chivalry and feel that no matter what era we live in, no matter how far women have come in this world, there is always room for a gentleman who will, for a lady, hold open a door, give up his seat, and most certainly buy his date a $2 ice tea. So, there we were, at the Starbucks counter. I ordered my iced tea and the girl behind the counter could see we were with each other, so she looked at me and said “Is that all?”, almost anticipating, along with me, that he would chime in with his drink order and pay for both. The awkward pause and deafening silence was given up eventually by my saying “Yes, apparently that will be all.” The look of disgust on my face was prevalent but went un-noticed by my date. That was strike number two. Give me a break, it’s not like we went out for a five course dinner and I expected him to pay--of course not--it was just a little iced tea. Seriously!

He followed me in his car over to the dyke so we could go for a walk. It was his suggestion but I don’t think he knew the dyke was a gravel walkway--not the best surface for dress shoes. I knew from the moment we starting talking that Benjamin Franklin himself could not have lit a spark of any sort between us. Again, a little insight into me--I believe in chemistry--it’s either there or it isn’t. I’m all for taking the time to get to know someone and so on; however, being able to have that instant connection, albeit it is rare, is something that is very important to me.

Through the course of our walk, I discovered that there were three young children I didn’t know about (yikes!). And there you have strike three--what part of “do you have children” didn’t you understand when you completed your profile? Teenagers I can handle--I get along great with them (read my blog “A Walk Down the Wrong Aisle"), but I think I'm past the raising-of-the-young-children phase of my life.

Now we’re on our way back, and in telling him all about my interests and hobbies, I was quick to learn that he really didn’t have any interests or hobbies except his job. Strike four. The work-a-holic situation just doesn’t work for me. I need a man who wants to get out there and enjoy life and have some fun--not someone who is poised to have a heart attack when retirement hits thanks to overworking himself.

We finally made it back to where our cars were parked (I’m pretty sure I almost broke into a light jog just to get there faster), and that cross around his neck was starting to burn a hole into my retinas. I couldn’t resist--in the midst of our conversation, I threw the word “hell” in there somewhere and I kid you not, he physically recoiled in horror from me, quickly bid me farewell, got in his car, and drove away. I made sure I gave him the devil ears with the tongue flap just to add insult to injury, hoping he would drive away from me faster.

So as I drove home, realizing I can’t get back the last hour of my life, I came to the conclusion that although online dating may work for some people, it’s really not my cup of tea. I have the fortunate ability to talk to anyone, anytime, anyplace, and with that outgoing nature, hopefully comes opportunity to someday potentially meet the man of my dreams. Funny, as I say that, the question then becomes does that person really exist, or do we go through different stages in our lives that will bring about who and what matters to us at that moment. And will I find him, or will he find me?

I gave on-line dating a fair shot--HELL yeah--a good five years of on-and-off painful experiences that ended in either 911 calls to my girlfriends or several sessions of much needed therapy. Will I ever do it again? Maybe...after all, there’s a little devil in all of us, right?

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