My married friends all make it seem so simple. Sitting over beers, they say “just sign up for eHarmony or Match and it will happen.” Just magically. Like that? Like dating in your 40’s in 2013 with the technology available to us is going to create a date as simple as downloading an app making reservations on Open Table. God, don’t I wish it was that easy.
For those of you who are blessed with being single in your “later” stages of life, whether it’s because a divorce, or not finding the right person yet, or some tragedy, I’ll sum it up for everyone else – IT SUCKS! It absolutely sucks. I sometimes think that the married crowd has this envy like the grass is greener for them. They look at my alone time and crave for it. But they don’t realize that it’s not just a few hours away from their spouse, but it’s permanent. And walking past empty rooms in your house as a constant reminder until the kids come back isn’t temporary.
But alas…they say “you know what they say – you always find someone when you aren’t looking”. Really? So if I sit on my couch and watch the Tigers every night and drink beer, the dating genie is going to show up at my door and we will live happily ever after? Or my other favorite is “you are such a great guy, I don’t get why you can’t find someone”. Which means behind my back they are saying, “what a whack job”.
In our twenties when we are dating we get a pass. We get the ignorance pass. We get the pass for being naïve. There isn’t much baggage involved at that point. We are gathering “experiences”. No kids. No ex-spouses. No emotional damage. Pure bliss and fun. The walk of shame is something to be tweeted about and enjoy.
In our forties we don’t’ get that pass.
We have to come up with explanations for the gaps in our resumes. What do you mean you’ve been divorced for four years? And you were engaged? Red flags are tossed faster than an NFL coach throwing the flag for a review. You don’t want more kids? How old are your kids? What’s your custody schedule like? You mean I can’t just pop over? The accelerator is pressed down when you start to date – go fast! Our time is running out. But then you run into a brick wall and crash.
And who said break ups get easier with age? They get worse. Especially today with technology. Don’t you remember in the 90’s. You broke up and your biggest fear may have been running into that person. Today, you have text messages, social media, smart phones to navigate and avoid.
So back to online dating…What a process. It’s like a second job. This time around I swore that I wouldn’t feel that way. I moved from Match to eHarmony because it was supposed to be better. After 45 minutes of a personality assessment that felt like a corporate Meyer’s Briggs assessment, the computer did its work and spit out….4 matches for me. That about summed up how I felt about dating before I just paid over $200. What I could’ve done with $200?
The dating wizard suggested that I broaden my geographical range and loosened my restrictions. In other words, it told me I was too picky and I would never find the person that actually met my match requirements. Again, great validation for $200. So I did and now I get everyone over 60 miles and no one within 60 miles. Go figure. Like that’s compatible for my life.
So every day, it delivers a batch of new “matches” for me. It’s like eHarmony has me hooked because they are just delivering matches to me that they feel will work. I can’t search; I have to wait until they feel I am ready for the next batch like a series of flash cards.
The profiles come rolling in..maybe 4-5 new ones every day. And this is where it gets fun. Let’s just admit it – we are all vain. PICTURES AND LOOKS matter. There is no doubt about it. So when you create your profile you have to post pictures. Not too many and not too few and you have a “cover” photo like Facebook. So here are some of my favorites that I see:
• The people who don’t post a picture. You’re kidding right? You are using online dating site. Their profiles usually state, if you like what you read, and I’ll send a picture. Ok..let’s grow up. Delete.
• Action photos – eating, karate, weight lifting. I can’t make this up. Again, if eHarmony was so smart it would know that I really don’t want to see my potential date practicing karate to kick my ass or scarfing down a whoopee pie.
• Group photos – this is one of my favorites. Yeah, I can tell which one YOU are in your group of five friends. Then the better ones are when you scroll to the next photo and there are only four friends and then three friends. Like I have time to play where’s Waldo?
• Blacked out photo – Since you have invested $200 to be on eHarmony try to take at least a selfie. If you are posting a picture and putting a dark circle over your ex as he has his arm around you, it’s probably not a great sign that you are ready to start dating. I really don’t want to see the man you used to sleep with in your photo.
• Pet Photos – sometimes if you are lucky you get no pictures of the person and all pictures of their pets. Yep, sign me up for the crazy cat lady. As I type this, maybe this ok. I guess I’d rather know that you are the crazy cat lady sooner rather than later. The other great ones are the photos where you look exactly like your dog!
The profiles are littered with fun stuff too. The woman who put that the most influential person in her life was her ex-husband because he is kind and caring. Gong show…GONG. I’m ready to date but only on the nights of Tuesday and Thursday every other week in the month’s that there is a blue moon.
Sigh…DWM, 41 seeking a normal woman for a normal life. Back to watching the Tigers on the couch I go.