As I gingerly dip my toe back into the world of online dating and, let me be blunt, it is very gingerly with the smallest of toes, I find it more awkward and awful than ever.
It is worth trying, I think. Because otherwise I am a hopeless couch potato staying home reading obsessively about death and writing a new book that is an attempt to make the subject of aging and its natural history (outcome=death) relatively humorous. That’s hard work, not always fun, and the humor doesn’t present itself in the first or even second drafts. As a topic, it isn’t a rip-snorter. So even my sense of humor is getting the workout of its life, which is why my children and best friends have nagged me into trying to date once again. That’s in addition to the fact that they’re sick of my whining.
With the conviction of a fruit fly applying for a mortgage, I signed up for Match.com and E-Harmony. I committed $130 to E-Harmony and lasted for twenty minutes. Match.com fared slightly better. I have hidden and unhidden my profile at least a dozen times in the past three months, with the profile hidden over 90% of the time.
But here’s what I’ve found.
I have written to four men, total. (I don’t do that wink-y dink stuff.) I studied their profiles and wrote to them because I thought they showed some humor, some character, and seemed worth investigating. Two did not respond. The third and fourth men wrote back, we corresponded for a few days, planned to meet, then they never confirmed. All four removed their profiles. I may have leprosy.
One man wrote to me who seemed very reasonable. We corresponded, talked on the phone, had a date, and it didn’t work out. Fair enough.
Another man wrote to me. I checked out his website where I learned that he is a Republican lobbyist. I am an ardent Democrat. I don’t want to be hyperbolic or anything, but dating a Republican lobbyist is—for me—the equivalent of dating a crystal meth wholesaler.
Perhaps in a non-election year, when there is less damaging and vituperative rhetoric flying about, perhaps then I could date a Republican, provided he was socially liberal. I understand why people are fiscal conservatives. I respect that. But working where I work, having seen what I’ve seen, there’s just no way I could ever date a social conservative. After the things they’ve said about women?!?
On my profile, I clearly state that I’m a liberal. I recently changed my picture, which for some reason has increased the number of letters I’m getting. And no, I’m not naked. But it seems that few men actually read what I have written. They just send letters based on the picture. Then they write something about my appearance, as if flattery works at my age. They are clearly uninterested in substance; it’s looks they’re after. Deeply, deeply shallow comments are so attractive in a man.
When I read the profiles, I look for the deal-breakers. I don’t want a married man, or a smoker. I don’t want a conservative, and I will not date anyone who doesn’t bother to spell properly on his profile. I hate it when men USE ALL CAPS, or write LOL at their own attempts at humor. I shy away from men whose profiles clearly delineate the kind of woman they don’t want because it seems likely they aren’t over the ex. And then of course I want someone who is moderately attractive. So in summary—the odds of finding the love of my life on a dating site seem slightly less than winning the multi-state Powerball Lottery. Especially in an election year.