Thursday, January 3, 2013

Online Dating

I remain at home with a stomach bug.  Disgusting - so not how I want to spend my time!

So, bored and restless, here I am.

I'm also hanging out on OkCupid, which is predictably boring during work hours.  But that place, while mend-bendingly weird, is also kind of fun for me.  I haven't had this much male attention since....well, it's been a while.  A long while.  And I'm fully aware that pixels do not a relationship make, and that none of this feels particularly real.

But here is a list of dealbreakers for me.  Gentlemen, avoid these pitfalls, and you might actually get some responses to you messages.

The easy ones, the cliches that are the joke of dating sites:
- The picture in the bathroom mirror.  Please. Just.  Don't.
- The shirtless ab photo.  If I wanted to see naked abs on guys I never intended to meet, I'd hang out on the Abercrombie website.  It just makes me think you're shallow and terribly unaware of what women want.  Well, what I want, anyway.
- The text-message style illiterate.

But here are a few more, just to amuse you:
- If you live on a different continent, I don't intend to date you.  Or get you a Green Card.
- If you are looking for a girl who believes that men should be the heads of household and that contraceptives are immoral, then why are you contacting a self proclaimed lefty liberal feminist?!
- No, you may not lick my feet.  Thanks for saying "hello" before you asked, but no.
- One message said, and I quote, from beginning to end, "your cute larry."  Actually, Larry, you're not mine, and you're not cute.  (Were I to have replied with that, I don't think Larry would have understood my joke.)
- Cut and paste messages or the word "hi" don't exactly get me all atwitter.
- In my profile I mentioned that I was a cancer survivor.  But the line in an intro message to me, " I want to eat your cancer when you turn black," was really, really creepy.  What does that mean?!
- Any message that tells me I'm sexy, hot, beautiful (usually with at least three adjectives) and nothing else is not getting a response from me.  Does that work on anyone?
- One gentleman contacted me and said he was too old for me (true), but he knew how negative men on these sites could be, so he wanted to tell me I had a nice profile.  Was this an attempt to give me sympathy?  Uh, sorry, but I've got plenty of attention here, I don't need your sympathy.  (Besides, Larry likes me, and some guy wants to lick my feet. So there.)
- Where on earth on my profile did I show a cougar?!  Guys almost 20 years  Same goes for guys 20 years older.  I'm sorry, I'm apparently not that open minded.
- I am happy for you that you and your wife have an open marriage.  But I don't want to be a part of it.
- I am sorry that your wife isn't good in bed.  I'm glad that you like her.  No, I will not sleep with you.  Please give me your wife's number so I can call her, I think there is something she'd like to know.

And this just in:  not a deal breaker but it cracked me up.  One question is about your relationship to your parents, and in the guy's response he said he liked to immolate his parents.  I'm pretty sure this is a spelling error and not a crime, but it made me laugh.

The good news?  There are nice guys out there.  Guys whose profiles do not scream "I am psychotic!" or "Heeeeey baby wanna doooooo it?"  Guys who are single fathers, who have jobs, who have outside interests.  Guys who are stumbling around trying to find joy, and peace, and meaning.  Guys who have their acts together, guys who show a picture of themselves hiking or waterskiing or on their snowboard, and a picture of themselves with friends around a table, and another on a travel adventure, and maybe one at the pumpkin patch with their kids.

I've yet to me the guy that curls my toes and makes me want to take it to the next level - I am just not having the "oh, he's cute" reaction to profiles.  There's one guy I've been "talking" to for a couple of days - a community college professor, a dad, a world traveler.  I can't decide if there are sparks.  But if there are, there are, and if there aren't, there are more fish in the sea.

I have to say, it is veeeerrrrrry different dating now than when I dated 20 years ago.

For one thing, this online thing is very handy.  There is no way I'm going to college parties, and the parties that I go to now often have a movie playing for the kids somewhere, and I'm the only unmarried there.  I have never been a good bar-girl - I'm highly suspicious of meeting inebriated strangers.  (Maybe I was listening to my mother after all.)  And searching for soul mates while home with the stomach flu and wearing my bathrobe - well, it's pretty convenient!  I can screen out the guys who say they're looking for casual sex - now that is really convenient - and the ones who profess great love for television shows but not actual life.  I can screen for politics (really, if you didn't vote for Obama, twice, then we are a very bad fit), and religious fanatics.  All very helpful.

But the rest of it is confusing.  How will I find time to date?  Still haven't figured that one out, and community college dad is on opposite weekends from me with his kids, so I may not be figuring out with him.  And how can I screen without being super shallow?  I get to see a couple of pictures, but I can't tell how real they are (last weekend's tea date was clearly showing me old photos - much thinner, younger photos).  I care about more than looks....but should I really screen out everyone under six feet tall?  I'm tall, and I am attracted to tall guys....but where do I draw the line?

Maybe I'll be able to meet real men one of these days, and maybe I'll figure out online dating.  But the beauty of all this -besides bathrobe flirtations - is that I am under no illusions that this has anything to do with my self worth.  When I get picked up on by lots of guys, it doesn't mean anything, and when I get ignored by someone, it doesn't mean anything.  My self worth has nothing to do with what random strangers on the internet think of me, and that, my friends, is a beautiful thing to know.


  1. Hi! I've been reading your blog for quite awhile. Love it. I'm going through the same things you are. I was on Plenty of Fish for one week, got 110 emails, and maybe 1 or 2 out of those interested me. I met three different guys and they were all so disappointing in person. Two of these men who were in their 40's finally admitted to me they were unemployed and living with their parents still. The third one was the Director of Marketing for a local bank and a college professor. We had a great date or so I thought. Never heard from him again. I couldn't do it anymore, it just seemed like a haven for the damaged, the liers and the emotionally unavailable.
    The quote "I want to eat your cancer when you turn black" is a quote from a Nirvana song. It was probably the only way that guy knew how to relate to you, which is pretty sad!
    Good luck! I hope you meet a good one!

  2. Hi Polly,

    Fantastic, honest article. I've had a few of your experiences, though never the immolation of parents or the cancer eating...(?!)
    I don't know what website you're using, nor where you're based; but I'm trying to share my success with as many people as possible. I know this might look like spam but if there are any of your readers (or yourself) who are living in Britain, Hong Kong or Singapore (I think Sydney too soon) then you/they should really check out lovestruck. Definitely has the lowest ratio of creepy:intelligent that I've come across.

    Happy Dating Polly!