I could write an entire book on the topic of internet dating. In fact, I seriously considered it as a project until I researched the books already in print on the subject. Every angle, every nuance, each and every annoying, hilarious aspect of internet dating had been covered to ad nauseam. What could I possibly add to that depth of literary profusion? I mean seriously, how could I top "Internet Dating for Dummies"?
Dating in the virtual world is a fact of life, especially for the over 40 crowd. We've put the stigmas behind us and embraced Match.Com as if it were our pushy grandmother whose sole purpose in life is to marry us off.
I remember my first experience with online matchmaking. It was three years ago and I was a little over a year post divorce. I felt I was ready to get back out there but didn't really want to start bar hopping or desperately crashing my cart into the good looking guy in the produce isle. I spent hours developing a thoughtful profile, after all, I am a writer, right? With my usual flair for tapping into the deepest meaning of the universe, I laid it all out there with my most earnest and keen desires. "To look at him is to see within my own soul" or "We will feel as if we've known each other for many lifetimes" type stuff.
The end result was a portrait of a woman with high standards, looking for an educated, worldly man who possesses the abilities to cook and be romantic but also can don a tool belt and turn me on with his fully loaded, impressively large caulk gun. He has sturdy shoulders and is not intimidated by a successful woman but he knows this same woman can be reduced to a pile of rubble after watching a Hallmark commercial if Cousin Flo is about to visit.
This man dresses well, can pick out an excellent bottle of wine, is athletic, compassionate, open minded, spiritual, tall, witty, successful, exceedingly handsome and charming enough to rival the best of the Disney Prince fantasy dates. (Prince Eric anyone?) I went on to include photos of myself and use impressive words to portray yours truly as one smart cookie.
After a few weeks of exhausting myself answering every email and wink, setting up lunch dates, meeting for a quick drink here or a cup of coffee there, I realized I had made a grave error. This is how my profile should have read:
Looking for a man with straight teeth and a job.
The numbers were staggering. I ended up receiving six months free on the Match.Com guarantee so I whirled on this not so merry-go-round for a year. At the end of the year I had encountered just over 10,000 potential suitors. Early on, I had to develop a thick skin to eliminate the riff raff. Here's my short list of characteristics that would send my right pinky finger into action with a quick triggered delete.
1. The only photo you have of yourself was taken while standing in front of your bathroom mirror.
2. The only photo you have of yourself was taken while standing in front of your bathroom mirror with your shirt off.
3. The only photo you have of yourself was taken while standing in front of your bathroom mirror with your shirt off while flexing your free arm in a Mr. Universe pose.
4. Your deepest desire is to have a woman that can go from jeans to an evening gown.
5. In the background of your photo, it is clear you are a hoarder.
6. You are fashioning a flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off or a mullet.
7. You are fashioning a flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off AND a mullet.
8. You are listed as "athletic and toned" but your body hasn't seen toned since 8th grade gym class.
9. You are 45 and have never been married.
10. Unless 1969 was the year of your birth, you should not use the number 69 in your profile name.
11. You are unable to write in complete sentences, or you skip capital letters and punctuation all together.
12. Your photos consist of your car, your boat, your Harley and your dog, all without you.
13. You describe yourself as a fungi looking for a petri dish to land on and grow.
14. Your favorite restaurant is the Olive Garden.
15. You are too poor or too cheap to pay for your Match.Com membership so you cleverly sneak in your email address....you can find me, you know where, boogiebear69 at that place that rhymes with wahoo dot com.
After a year, I did meet someone who had most of the qualities I sought; I thought he might even be "the one" but as it turned out, he was a spineless, coward who couldn't stand up to his ex wife or deal with the slightest variation from his extremely limited perception of the norm. God knows, my life has very little to do with things that are normal.
The good guys are out there and you CAN find them with a click of your mouse, just be prepared to dig deep, delete often, and meet more than one guy who looks nothing like his photos and bares little to no resemblance to that fictitious Disney Prince character he created in his deeply thoughtful, earnest and keen, giant, whopping heap of funky smelling baloney profile.
But that's just my opinion.