Dating sites are like shopping on QVC, but I want something to show for it besides cramped fingers and a numb rear end from sitting so long at the computer. I have to admit that it is addicting and somewhat intoxicating to look at all the choices out there at first. But are they all real? Or are the profiles figments of their authors’ imaginations?
I found myself breathing heavy the other day and not for obvious reasons, but from the sheer exhaustion of reading about a guy on a dating site who claimed he scuba dived, rollerbladed, climbed rocks and Mt. Everest, skied, and ballroom-danced his way through his week. It just made me want to go take a nap or get a caffeine IV drip. This can’t be true of a fifty-something man, and if it is then I want some of what he is taking. Do they still make Geritol? Or does this guy really partner up with his remote every night? Is hyperactivity the new prescription for loneliness and longing? Or does age give us the right to be deceitful?
We all want to display our most flattering photo, with the exception of those who hold their digital cameras out at arm’s length and take funhouse shots of themselves.
Obviously I wouldn’t post that picture of myself with one eye shut, but I also wouldn’t post one of someone else or a twenty-something daughter if I had one, or one of myself thirty pounds lighter. And perhaps I am a little jaded, but if a man is bald won’t the woman he is dating eventually find out? Wearing a ball cap in a profile photo only works for so long. This is not a deal breaker. Wearing one backwards at fifty-something might be.
Wouldn’t rejection be easier to take if it happened before meeting in person? Match.com has become Match.con. And yes, this does include ex-cons. People hide prison records too. It’s a very small world and chances are that we will run into one another at some point in time. If my gaze lingers when I see you on Alvarado Street, I just might be wondering if I saw you on Match.com or on “America’s Most Wanted.”
I also think that it is bad relationship karma to attempt to cut a former mate out of a photograph and post it on a website. We all can see remnants of the disembodied arm or head on the shoulder. Color me superstitious. And unless I’m going to change careers and hang a shingle, I don’t want to hear a date talk endlessly about how badly they were treated or how much they still love their ex-wife. There should be a check box for ready, willing, and able.
I’ve been written scathing notes when I haven’t answered an email from a “match” in a time-appropriate manner (his time, which was about twenty-four hours). What if I was hit by a car or my dog died? Or I wasn’t a member anymore so I couldn’t respond, but they still had my profile online (which was the case). Although tempted, I wasn’t going to re-up just to answer this yo-yo. Sure glad I didn’t meet him! And there was that sweet seventy-something gentleman who wrote me three times introducing himself, forgetting that he ever contacted me. I didn’t have the heart to be cruel and remind him. Maybe this is why I can’t hang in there more than thirteen days every few years.
In the Internet world of illusion, it is easy to remain anonymous. I think we all need to remind ourselves that we aren’t shopping for a sweater or a new CD. Although there are many apparent options to choose from, there are real people sitting on the other side of those screens, and maybe we should dig a little deeper inside for the honesty, respect, and compassion that makes us human.
Next month: CALLING MR. CLOONEY!
Disclaimer: In spite of the recent downpour of pheromones, I’m still female, I still just date men, and I write from a woman’s point of view. As I’ve said before, I’m not an expert, so this won’t be a Miss Manners column, and I’m a far cry from Dear Abby. Something more like “Hey, Lady!” would probably fit. But if you guys (and gals) out there have a good story to share or a question to ask or even an opinion (and I know you do), please send them in.
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