This is the first edition of my ongoing report about online dating woes. But before I continue, I should admit that I met my boyfriend of a year online. I had given up on the whole online romance thing. In fact, I think I had just about given up on romance entirely. However, after being somewhat coerced by a friend of mine (to whom I will owe a lifetime of favors should my relationship work out), I finally struck gold. I guess there’s something to be said for tenacity. Of course, if you’re frustrated with online dating and have made a pledge never to try it again, I don’t blame you. If you’re considering going online for the first time, let me give some warnings about what you can expect:
(Note: I can only write about my experience as a woman looking for a man. If you have examples from a different perspective, please share. Misery loves company.)
Now, I’m about to make some broad observations. Clearly not every single man in the online dating world fits into these deconstructed categories. (My boyfriend didn’t!) I also suspect that my, uh, older age contributed to some of my experiences. I didn’t try online dating until I was already in my late 30s and had sworn it off when I was just over 40. Luckily, I gave it another try at the age of 42 and I’m now happily in love. But if I find myself no longer lucky in love, I’m not sure I’ll go back online. Because if I do, I’m sure I’ll be once again reminded of the kind of characters that made me and many of my friends swear off online dating in the first place. Here’s the list:
- The Mommy Seeker – I actually had a 22-year-old write to me that he was looking for a “strong, dominating woman”. Another 28-year-old wrote to say he appreciated older women who are stronger and wiser and can teach him a few things about life. Aside from a sort of negative response to being called out as an older woman, I’m not sure I’m the dominatrix these dudes are clearly looking for.
- The Youth Seeker – At the other end of the spectrum, my friends and I complained that we would often get winks or likes from men who were our dad’s age. Now, my dad looks pretty darn good, but I’m just not interested in dating someone who could have changed my diapers. That’s creepy. These youth seekers must go online to prowl for young, hot ladies and I guess being 20+ years their junior qualifies as fitting that profile. I suppose that’s a step up from being labeled as the “strong, older woman” but not much. Be warned: If you’re a middle-aged woman (yuck, I hate admitting that’s a fair label for me) and you fill out a profile that clearly states you’re looking for a guy who is under the age of 50 (but older than the age of 35), you will STILL here from great grandpas. Nothing deters these guys. Apparently the male ego can stand the test of time. It’s really unfair when you think of it. Us ladies are meant to feel badly when we start getting a few wrinkles and cellulite, whereas men seem impervious to these feelings of inadequacy. There were times when I was tempted to meet one of these older men, just to ask how they maintained such a positive outlook.
- The Player – Oh my. Listen up, boys. We know you all want one thing. Our mothers and fathers have warned us about this since we began menstruating. But do you have to be so blatant about it? Can’t you just sweet-talk us a little bit before trying to get down to business? A bit of foreplay goes a long way.
- The Hater – There are men out there who just… hate… women. I know that seems a bit extreme but it’s unfortunately a real thing. These men search online for women who they perceive to have a weakness and then they go on the attack. Some weirdo once wrote to me out of the blue to tell me that I’m 41 and single because no man would ever want me. He then followed up by writing, “You can’t have children.” Wow. Nice opening. I don’t recall writing that I wanted to pop out a baby, but I suppose that’s what he believes every woman wants so he figured he was going for the jugular. Another guy wrote that men younger than him might have sex with me but they would never take me seriously. Well, I tell you what. Guys like this are more than welcome to call my mother and listen to her tell you about all of the great men I could have married if I hadn’t moronically rejected them. The woman still brings up that Jewish MBA student I dismissed when I was 24. (Yes mom, he was a great guy, we had a lot in common and he would have been a wonderful spouse. Sorry again that I wasn’t looking for a hubby when I was just out of college.) Yup, next time some online cyber insulter goes on the attack I’m going to sick my mommy on him.
- The Not-So-Single – There’s little that bothers me more on a date than to hear, “The Divorce Isn’t Final Yet.” OK, I do understand that some divorces can take years to settle. But if you’re still living with the ex-wife to be, or if you just signed the papers a week ago, please don’t come calling on me. You have healing to do. I am not here to play the role of healer.
- The Hopeless – There are some people who, God bless them, just don’t know how to date. I once went on a date with someone who got up to urinate about 8 times during our 1-hour dinner. (He incidentally also fit into the above category. I learned during our date that his wife had served him papers just two weeks earlier.) I noticed the frequent bathroom breaks but I figured that he had a prostate problem or maybe some sort of IBS-type thing, for which I couldn’t find fault. So I didn’t ask about the constant need to visit the men’s room. I was willing to let it go until he felt comfortable confiding in me about his bloated bladder or some other medical dilemma. And he did confide in me after his eighth visit to the jon but it wasn’t what I expected. He told me he hadn’t been on a date in 17 years and being out with a woman made him so nervous that he couldn’t control his urinary urges. Yeah, this happened. In another example, I once decided that I wouldn’t be compatible with someone I had been chatting with online but I offered to introduce him to one of my many gorgeous girlfriends. He seemed open to it but then said it’s hard for shy men like him, and that his biggest problem is that he’s not very good in bed. Ouch. Suffice it to say, I didn’t introduce this poor chap to any of my girlfriends.
- The Douchebag – I now live in the city of Philadelphia. If I were still living back in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY (oh, if only…) I would probably be writing about hipsters. But that’s not where my head is today. Philly douchebags tend to make really inappropriate comments in their online dating profiles, write multiple run-on sentences pointing out all of the things they don’t like about women, use the acronym, “LOL” about 10 times, praise the local sports teams, and post pictures of themselves surrounded by many scantily clad women (I guess they don’t dislike women who dress like Snooky?). This behavior must work for some women but I personally don’t know any.
- The Sweetheart – Here’s your diamond in the ruff. They do exist! But like they say, you may have to kiss a lot of frogs first. Here’s my tip: If someone writes well enough (it’s important for a partner to have good communication skills!), doesn’t appear to take himself too seriously, is attractive to you, and seems nice, don’t be too shy to make the first move. High risks sometimes yield high rewards. J
Until the next report, happy dating (or not)!