Monday, March 16, 2009

On Diving Back Into the Dating Pool

So last week I decided that it was time for me to dive back into the dating pool. And since I'm beyond the point of believing that Mr. Right is just suddenly going to show up on my doorstep one day (though wouldn't it be lovely if he did), I'm doing online dating.

Now, I've done this whole online dating thing before. I was really reluctant to try it, but my friend Laura finally convinced me a couple years ago that the worst thing that could happen was that I'd have some funny stories with which to amuse my office mates. (Isn't it odd how the non-single folks are always looking to laugh at their single friends' dating foibles?) And she was mostly right. I haven't ended up on any dates with major assholes or crazy dudes. Mostly, the men I've met have been perfectly nice guys, even when there was obviously no chemistry. Some of them have been blindingly boring, but that particular trait certainly isn't restricted to men you meet online. And, in fact, last time I did online dating, my first date was actually with my ex, D, who I ended up dating for well over a year. Beginners luck? Maybe.

Anyway, I think getting back into dating is a lot like getting into an icy cold swimming pool. If you try to ease yourself in, it only prolongs the agony. You're better off just diving in all at once. So that's what I've been trying to do. I signed up for Match again last week, and I've been emailing with WAY too many people. (I think I need get better at being not-so-nice - unless someone is blatantly out of the range of what I'm looking for, I feel this pressure to respond even if my initial reaction is . . . eh). Had 2 dates this weekend, one of which was a dud, one of which was second-date worthy, I think. We'll see if he calls. The whole thing is a little overwhelming, frankly. There's like this whole other language you have to learn-- winking and daily matches and (argh) even instant messaging when you're logged into the site now (because it's not awkward enough to have to ignore an email from someone who's a lousy match, now you have to ALSO ignore his IMs). I have a hard time keeping up with it all. So, a big I'm sorry to all the men whose emails I've ignored in the past week -- it's not you, it's me. Well, actually, in some cases, it totally IS you -- you're creepy. And with that in mind, here are some tidbits of advice for the men on online dating sites, confidential from me to you. You can thank me later:

1. If you are my father's age, I am NOT going to date you. Do you see where 40 is my top-end cutoff? Yeah, I mean it. I am sure you are a very nice man, but I don't have any daddy issues, thank you very much. Plus, shouldn't you really be looking for someone far blonder and bustier than me to take along on your cruise through midlife crisis-ville?

2. If you don't post a picture, I assume that you are married, and I don't do married men. Oh, and if you really ARE married, SAYING in your profile that you are looking for a "woman on the side" because your marriage sucks? Probably NOT a good way to pick up chicks. I'm just sayin' is all.

3. Do not fill your add with pictures of you 10 years ago and 15 pounds lighter. If we ever do meet, I'm going to FIGURE OUT that you don't actually look like your photos. And then I'll just be pissed. Dishonesty falls near the bottom of my list of traits I look for in a guy - somewhere between reeking of B.O. and spending the whole date talking about your ex and how great she was.

4. Also don't post pictures in your profile of you with girls hanging all over you. I get it, you're popular. And I'm sure that some of these ladies are just friends. But I'm equally sure that you have TOTALLY made out with some of them. And when I'm just beginning to date someone, I'd prefer to blithely pretend that he's never swapped spit with anyone else, ever, in his life.

5. Finally, when you email me, don't say "Hi, how are you?" and nothing else. My profile is full of things I like to do, pictures of me in cool places, and interesting tidbits about my life. Ask me about one of them. Or tell me something interesting about you. It's this thing people do called con-ver-sa-tion. Y'heard of it? Seriously, boys, if you can't manage that basic human interaction over email, it makes me fear that a coffee date with you would end with me excusing myself to the ladies room halfway through and never returning.

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