It might be the lingering wooziness of flu medicine, and it might be the lingering dizziness of looking through five hundred male profiles on Match.com. I am here to tell you there is something seriously wrong with the world of dating.
Full disclosure: A year ago I buzzed into the world of Bumble on a cold winter night. After swiping the wrong way one or two times I hit upon a hive of activity from a man who seemed interested, though he lived over an hour away from me.
This is a bad thing?
We ended up moving from the cute messages online to exchanging numbers which led to cute texts and then many, many phone calls. This led to an actual date, which he arranged close to where I live. Never mind the fact that several of my students work where we ended up meeting, during the day, in the dead of winter. I told my daughter where I would be and with whom and why just in case he was not who he said he was and I needed an exit plan. Which led her to infiltrate the place with a slew of snap chatting , phone using friends to the point where the fellow sitting across from me stopped the ongoing conversation and said:
Um…. I think the girl sitting behind you just took my picture.
It was one of my drama students.
He was nice enough and handsome. He had a job and from what I could tell, packed away some of his excess baggage. I could not help notice the way he picked through the food he ordered and placed it off to the side commenting each time a piece of lettuce or cucumber did not make the cut. He was going to have his own restaurant one day, and he could not stop himself from commenting on the condition of his salad.
You call this a salad?
It was my first date since 1997. The guy was more interested in the quality of lettuce. To be fair, he was unfazed by the number of students who suddenly appeared at the table.
Is there rehearsal today, Ms. Gloria? What time is rehearsal today Ms. Gloria? Are you on a date Ms. Gloria?
He thought the attention was about him. It was likely the tactical work of my daughter, getting the 411 on the man she would have to hunt down and kill should he do the slightest thing to cause me harm. We went our ways and agreed to stay in touch. Multiple texts followed and he, admittedly, was smitten. We met again for lunch, this time on his turf, and I walked away feeling the gild on the lily was turning to rust. Daily texts and emojis later, it all seemed boring and superficial.
Hey. I texted. Enough of the texting. Feel free to call me.
Yet he continued to text and send me stupid things I did not understand.
I stopped texting back. His texts continued, until one day, the only text he sent was the ‘thumbs up’ emoji.
I got it.
I hope he is very happy.
So ended my first attempt at online dating and left a sour cyber taste in my mouth.
While visiting my father down south, I bumped into my high school sweetheart. I mean this. I literally bumped into him at a Starbucks. We made plans to have dinner and catch up on 36 years of history. I had not seen him since I was a sophomore in college. The big breakup. It was oddly comforting, but also oddly enlightening. We are two very different people at this point in our lives. He is a Trump voting, gun toting, cigar smoking, big ass truck driving doctor. I am none of these things. Yet, we are connected by the comfort of first time, long time love. It was straight up weird. There were no sparks, except for the sparks of familiarity. I found it endearing he called me dar’lin, and opened the car door for me. He knew me when. Could we know each other now?
They must be lining up at the door, he said.
You must get to pick and choose, he said.
Well, no, I said.
Over the holidays my long time friends had their say too.
When your daughter goes to college you are going to want someone to go to dinner with, she said.
You don’t want to end up lonely, she said. Find someone to have conversations with and go out with from time to time.
At my yearly physical, my doctor added her two cents.
Use it or lose it, she said.
Ummmm, how do you know I am not?
This started my own social experiment and deep dive into what exactly it means to be in the world of partnership, companionship and,(pardon me while I gag) starting over?
You are not getting any younger. (no one is)
Men don’t like women over 50. (they have no idea what they are missing)
You gotta get out there.
Go to a club? (no)
Volunteer! (with all my free time?)
I am out there. Plenty.
It is just like riding a bike.
Well, no. It’s not. Unless the bike is a bit rusty and the wheels don’t turn as fast as they used to. The rules are different. I am different. I know how to ride a bike. Getting back in the bike riding business is not so easy. It is downright difficult.
Make a list. Manifest the man.
No.My list is too specific( as it should be)
Make a profile.
My daughter suggested Tinder. I declined.
I went for the safe or so I thought bet, Match.com. I even paid for three months of matches- or the equivalent of what match.com algorithms define as a match. Great. At 56, I am reduced to an algorithm. This should go very well.
I lasted a week and two days. I was not prepared for the barrage of men who were in no way appropriate for me( fuck you and your algorithms Match.com)) and the onslaught of anger from men who were not appropriate for me. These are real comments.
You are pretty, but too outspoken
Your favorites list needs some work.
I am a young 77 and I know who Carl Jung is!
And the code names? Men who choose to use a code name.
Shimapans( I kid you not):
I see you are a little over an hour away from me. I am not sure I want to drive that long, but I would be willing if……
A 58 year old man, who uses the code name Shimapans. It would be funny if I was having a conversation with my brothers. But to a man who is interested in me? Going with a name that sounds like he just shit his pants?
R. from Jamestown, RI, took the time to write out a very long narrative of all the things that were wrong with me, based on his ten years on Match.com. Ten.Fucking. Years? On Match.com?
Life is short he said, lower your expectations.
He then went on to offer up bullet points of things I needed to change in order to find happiness on Match.com.
One guy tracked me down on another social media site and sent me a private message.
I ain’t paying for Match.com, but I saw your profile over my buddys shoulder and I think we are a match, plus I voted for Bernie!
He was unemployed and never married at 63.
I did not vote for for Bernie, and I did not vote for Trump. I have made it very clear I lean left and would have a difficult time accommodating anyone who still wears the red hate of shame and all that goes with it.
But could I do a moderate conservative?
A thirty year old male from Bergen, NJ. liked me, really, really liked me.
As if I would have any business with a 30 year old from Bergen NJ.
Fuck you and your algorithms, Match.com.
Match.com sent me a message to tell me how many matches I had rejected in just four days.
“You have rejected 356 potential matches”
This does not count the number of matches I had to block because they were just down right creepy.
Apart from being overwhelmed at the masses, and anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not a masses kind of woman, I am saddened by the epidemic of loneliness.
And the epidemic of lies.
I am not lonely. I tell the truth.
Make a list. Manifest the man.
No. I know what I want.
Make a list
My list is too specific( as it should be)
Go out more.
I do not invision me on a wintry Thursday night, past the hour of 9pm, sitting at the end of a bar, tossing back my salt and pepper hair and a few, to attract a man.
It’s not what I want.
The swiping left or right, the infinity of men in the bathroom with shirtless selfies, bad teeth, bad facial hair, men with too much of one thing, or not enough of the other, men hip hugging a Harley, with a cigar firmly planted in their mouth, men with dead fish(look! I caught a fish!), or worse, men with a dead animal, men who want to beer me, wine me, poke me, wink at me, text me or refer to me in some cringe worthy way, like…
As in, hey, m’lady. Whatcha doing tonight?
Or men that want to save me.
I don’t need saving. I am not a lost cause.
what’s a girl like you doing on a dating site? emoji, double emoji. I am handy with a hammer and I know how to fix things, so please, please write me back. You need me, it sounds like you really need me.
Hello? I have not heard back from you. My membership runs out in two days and I think I am the right match for you and I think you would really like me.
Match.com even threw me a curve ball by offering up this side bar:
“These women are interested in you!” “You are their type!”
I am not attracted to or have ever been romantically involved with women.
Not even in college….. and I went to a liberal arts college for women. We had to sign men in and out of our rooms. If there was to be a man in our rooms, the door had to be open, and both feet of both parties had to be on the floor. This made for interesting times. We sang about virgin trees, but trust me when I tell you, there are some freaky things you can do with both feet, of both parties on the floor.
My life is rich in ways I never imagined, and I love the life I am living. I am not desperate to fill a void. I am a widow. I am widowed. I am a former wife. I loved being a wife, a partner, the other half, better or worse. I believe in love and the coupling of two people. I have lived alone in various stages of my adult life and I know what it is like. I don’t mind it. I was married for a long time, and in those years I came to understand marriage and motherhood. My life is different now. I am different now. It does not mean I have disengaged from romance or the possibility of love. It just means, I am not willing to settle just to have the possibility of love. I was never much of a dater. While I might like window shopping, when I decide to buy- I buy. I like things to last long- I like to linger. I want someone to linger with- and I want to know, just know, that he could be the next long time.
I love men.
Guys like you more in the winter, my daughter said. Everyone knows this. Guys don’t like being cold.
I want a Sunday kind of love, in this next chapter of my life. A Sunday through Sunday, winter, spring summer and fall, kind of love. I don’t want someone just to have someone. Does this make me unattractive?
No. It makes me certain.
I have love in my life.
But you need someone.
I would like a someone. Yes, I would. Why is it that women are expected to settle and men are supposed to pick and choose?
From B. in Newport, in all caps: PLEASE READ MY PROFILE AND FOLLOW MY GUIDELINES COMPLETELY! I DO NOT WANT TO DATE WOMEN MY OWN AGE.
He was 58.
I WANT TO DATE WOMEN IN THE 35-48 AGE RANGE. PLEASE! DO NOT REACH OUT TO ME IF YOU DO NOT FIT THIS CRITERIA.
Knowing what I know at this point of my life and knowing what I need, is very different that it was 5 years ago.
I am not giving up just yet.