So naturally I decided to sign up with an online dating service.
I dunno what the hell made me do it. OK, it was having coffee with a friend who met her fiancé on OkCupid. That, and OkCupid's free. Well, unless you don't want folks to know you're stalking their profiles, in which case you have to pay. Which is what I'm doing. (No, not the stalking folks bit, the paying bit, so they don't know I'm stalking.) (Looking, not stalking. Jeez, GAH!)
Anyway, I signed up on OkCupid in August but I've yet to go out on a proper date, though it's not for lack of offers. It's just that...some of these dudes are creepy.
Or maybe I just find dating creepy.
In the first week, after getting a bunch of unappealing messages, a dude finally wrote something which engaged my interest. We had some fun exchanges and, though it wigged me out that he was 29 (coming after a 42-year-old Goth Mom!), I reckoned I'd just practice flirting and see what happened.
My stomach turned, is what happened.
I should've known things were gonna get gross when, in a reference to a note in my profile that I write romance novels, he asked me how I like my romance (in, like, his second message to me). (Well, at least he actually read my profile.) I wrote back, "Slow and steady wins the race." To which he admitted a preference for racing around the track.
I shoulda known.
We wound up on the phone one night. He was, by turns, contentious and arrogant, but to his credit, he was being upfront about what he wanted. He talked of enjoying older babes because they were more mature, and not silly, like chicks in their 20s. (For future reference, Lovers-of-Cougars: don't diss half of my sex when you're kissing up to me. I was once in my 20s, ass-hat.) What he really enjoyed was the racing analogy, and he kept going back to my "slow and steady" comment. When he hemmed and hawed at one point, I asked him what was up.
Dude: You seem to want me to be...blunt.
Me: I want you to be straightforward. (Thinking over what I've just said.) Like, gently and respectfully straightforward.
Dude: Well...it's just that I want to establish a baseline of what our expectations are.
Me (torn between amusement and horror): Go on, then.
Dude: Well...I said before I like to race around. I'm an experiencer of things, you know? While you...
Me (amusement drying up in the face of this last bit): While I like to take things slowly. Yes, I can see where we might have different ways of relating...
Dude: I don't wanna scare you off, though. Man, I'm not doing a good job of calming you down...
Me (feeling my free hand curl into an actual fist): I'm not going into hysterics over here, guy. I can appreciate where you're coming from, only it's not where I'm coming from. The thing is, it's been a while since I've...dated.
Dude (sharply): How long's a while?
Me (not seeing the point of being coy): It's been years.
Dude (after a pause): Oh. So the car hasn't even been out of the garage in a while.
At this point, I'm completely done with the conversation and struggling to find a polite way of bringing it to a close. Then the Dude obliged me by saying:
Dude: I just don't want you to write this off, you know? I mean, we've had some fun banter and we find one another attractive, and I just think, you know, if you wanted to get together, we could have a good time. Besides, I'm a fucking excellent mechanic.
At that, I laughed (loudly), congratulated him on his self-confidence, and got the hell off the phone. Haven't heard from him since, which is just fine, as I'm damned if I ever let him get his mitts on my chassis.
I was prepared to write that off as just a weird experience. But subsequent exhanges with other fellas (via message only) haven't exactly been inspiring. And, actually, it amazes me what some men find to be appropriate volleys for that oh-so-critical first serve. I mean, yeah, I get how difficult it is making that first move, but don't send me a message that contains only one line of text which reads:
or (and this one's my fave)
Hi ms lady
...and nothing else!
Other ways to make a bad impression upon me include writing me things like:
Hey you seem like a wicked ball of fun, would you be game for something "casual"?
No, I would not.
U look so damn cute!! excuse my language .
would u mind if we get to know each other ? Text me plz (phone number redacted)
If you have to ask me whether I'd mind getting to know you, then yes, I probably would mind.
I am a 26 year old (profession redacted) from (city redacted).
I love older more mature women.
Do you enjoy younger men?
Not when they look like my kid. Ugh.
In the interest of full disclosure, there was another chap who seemed more promising: he was friendly, polite, attractive, used good grammar in complete sentences (rawr!), and appeared to be just a generally decent guy (even if he was a bit of a Hipster). I had a feeling he'd ask me out, and he did, BUT, he wanted me to trek all the way to where he lives (which is a 1.5 to 2-hour commute from where I live, though a meet-up in Manhattan after work would've been easy-peasy for us both). So I wrote back suggesting a "let's meet halfway" coffee date, and I never heard from him again.
I haven't taken down my profile, though I really don't know why I keep it up.
OK, that's not true. I know why I keep it up, and I also know the full reason for creating it to begin with: to help me forget the fella I've been pining for since April. Perhaps, if something had come of the online dating business, it might've helped. As it was, working on getting my book ready to release took the edge off. But only the edge; the core of want remains.
Anyway, things are getting busy with the day job, and I have a mini-anthology I want to put out in January, so I've got stuff to keep me busy. And I reckon that's the only thing I can do. Keep busy, leave the profile up, and just...be.
*I ain't no dating guru, but my pal Mac Perry, a fellow blogger, writer, and online dating vet, is. Check out her advice for the guys, as well as for the dolls.