As I wrap up my final and most disheartening stab at Internet dating, I have been struck by several recurring themes.
A decade ago, vulnerability firmly in place, I received far more responses to the emails I sent to men. Now I rarely hear back from anyone. I try to be polite and write interesting emails that combine something in their profile with something in mine. But I think that my profile has changed over time. While I do not believe I look much older in my pictures, I don’t lie about my age. I am now 54 which is, I suspect, over the hill. I have been told that almost everyone does lie, so they probably assume I too am lying. But the tenor of my profile has changed. It has become more confident. That confidence has probably limited the rate of response. Over the hill and confident equals nail in the dating coffin.
In previous years, I occasionally received thoughtful letters about what we might have in common. They included a question to be answered, an introduction that offered a way into a conversation. Now the emails are either terse, ungrammatical, with few words (“Your hot!” “Nice smile!!” “Wow”) or they are pedantic discourses, in many words or few, that project the writers’ feelings onto my profile. They think that because they find me attractive that I am what they imagine me to be. Sometimes they are offensive, condescending, full of assumptions that then lead them to draw erroneous conclusions. Almost no one shows good manners. Some people are bat-shit crazy.
I’ve noticed that the sheer number of people on the dating site has increased dramatically. But my number of actual dates has dropped in inverse proportion to the number of available men.
One guy recently sent me a many-paged explanation of why I was the object of his undying affection and why we were meant to be together. He was a seriously verbose blatherer from a distant state with very young children. I didn’t answer.
The next day he sent another email saying (none too succinctly) that he’d checked to see if I’d received his email and I had and didn’t have the courtesy to respond!
So I responded.
I told him that he lived too far away, had young children, and exhibited a verbosity that was at odds with my natural concision. Besides which, we had nothing in common.
He wrote back, deeply insulted that I had not given him a chance.
Really? My kids are grown. I work a lot. I don’t want to date someone who lives a thousand miles away with three kids under twelve who refuses to take no for an answer and clearly has made up a relationship in his head with someone he has never met! In the total of five pages that he wrote to me, he did not ask a single question. He just held forth, as if his brutal assault on the English language should be enough to win me. Bat-shit crazy.
This morning I received a fourth missive from a malcontent who writes of his “assumptions” about the many letters I must receive from admiring men, so many so that I cannot even open them all. But it’s my fault for not answering the multitudes because my standards are too high and one of these days I’ll come down to earth and even though I’m pretty I’ll get off my high horse and lower my expectations and be willing to date a smoker. Like him. Bat-shit crazy.
Uncle! Finally, I cry Uncle! Of course we are all victims of our own prejudices, preconceptions, judgments, and expectations. But as of this moment I leave this particular venue to others. Good luck and God bless.