Disclaimer: All of the online dating tales here are true and took place over a 90 day period through online dating services. Names have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent.
Promptly on the eve of new beginnings in 2005, I found myself 30 something and single after nearly 10 years of committed relationships. My feelings about this? I was ecstatic! I couldn’t wait to get started dating again and I embarked upon my journey with what I now define as naive enthusiasm.
Not interested in the 20-something chore of being “in the scene” to increase my visibility, I enrolled with two popular online dating services, posted my best marketing pitch to attract the man of my dreams and embraced this new and modern means of achieving the traditional “hook up”.
Tale of the $1.50 Wonder
After a brief online introduction and a phone call that consisted of “you sound neat, when can we meet,” my online prospect and I made a date for drinks. Mr. Wonder had no ideas on where we should meet so I suggested a sexy, but comfortable location on the ocean near his job. Warning! A man with no ideas, is a man with no ideas.
First impressions? The online photos I’d grown fond of were nostalgia of a time that had long passed. He was clearly 10 years older than he’d represented. After getting comfy on a couch in the bar, my date proceeded to slouch into the couch seat and tell me non-verbally that he didn’t feel very good about himself, and verbally, more than I needed to hear on a first, second or third date. Like how he stood up other online dates before me because he didn’t like the way they looked. Oooh I’m flattered, tell me more. Like his compliments about other women in the middle of our conversation. “I usually don’t date people from work, but this woman is fine.” Fee fi fo fum, my date is really dumb!
To top off this puzzle of an experience, after securing my agreement for a second date, he promptly calls for the check, reviews the bill and asks me for $1.50, because he only has a $20? To cover up his faux pas, he immediately rattles on about “another date he had who ordered a $30 drink and how he’s not a cheap man, but, wah, wah, wah, wah.”
As he continued to sink his battleship, I calculated the following in my head…
1 drink for Mr. Wonder $10
1 drink for Me $10
Grand Total $21.50 w/ tax.
Grand Conclusion: He’s not even going to leave a tip!?
Mouth hanging open on the inside, on the outside, I reached into my purse for a $5 bill and told him to tell the waitress to keep the change. He was still babbling about information I had no interest in hearing at this point and as we got off the couch to leave, the waitress yells after my date. “Sir – you dropped your $1.”
Instant Karma – Priceless. Next!
Tale of the Perfect Path to No Where
His style — persistent. Very attractive! A man who goes after what he wants, usually gets what he wants. After being stood up (non-intentionally) by me once, Mr. Perfect called me again for a rain check and insisted on fitting into my schedule wherever he could get in rather than wait another week. Even if that meant Father’s Day, we were getting off to a great start! Traditional to the core, he picked me up looking so good that I gave my girlfriend (there to take down his license plate number in case I disappeared) a Chuck E. Cheese grin over his shoulder when I gave him a hug hello. The date consisted of an early dinner over an NBA Finals court war; getting to know you talk; lots of complements, a fantastic meal; and a musical dedication on the car ride home. The entire evening was flawless, easy conversation, similar family backgrounds, educationally compatible, professional goals in sync and to top it off a special shared moment on relationship values and ideals. He was what most would call a perfect gentleman.
Reality? He was a dating enigma. That mirage of a perfect looking, sounding and acting man that pops up periodically along your dating quest to give you hope in a sea of doubt. He wines you, dines you, asks when he can see you again and then…disappears. Poof!
I’m up on the latest in male-female dynamics so — I guess he just wasn’t that into me. Next please!
This guy was my “duty date”. The one you go out with because he’s fine and fulfills a fantasy of some sort. In this case he was a guitar player and I like nice hands. What he did right. Call on time, set the date, suggest a location and kiss really well. What he should have thought about for two more seconds, meeting new people in the middle of trying to kick a 20 year smoking habit. Come on man! Give yourself and me — a break! I never really got to see the real person I was on a date with and though I considered the opportunity for a roll in the hay (because he had all the right equipment), I just couldn’t stick around to see it evolve.
Instead I honored the commitment I made to myself — No More Projects! Next!
Mr. Right for Someone Else (Mr. RFSE)
By the time I’d gotten to what would be my final online date, I was over the special meeting places and going out of my way to dazzle a complete stranger. So, when Mr. RFSE asked what I’d like to do, I chose something simple. I’ll meet you at the bookstore for some coffee.
His style? Cute. Not my type. Occupation? Similar field. Conversation? Really good, we talked for nearly two hours. Overall assessment? He was great for someone else.
Even when I ran into him again at a local party, it only temporarily put me through the maybe I should reconsider this phase. I just didn’t feel any chemistry with this person and that’s something you can’t fake.
Conclusion. I just wasn’t that into him.
What I Learned
In between these experiences, there was some online flirting, around town flirting, a couple of long distance connections and a brief, bazaar courtship that included a spattering of miscellaneous text messages that he interpreted as “getting to know each other.”
I think technology is great for many things, but when it comes to finding the “right” person it’s no more simple or complex than traditional means. Both methods are dependent on the right timing and the chemistry two people share.
If you’re on the dating track and just want to get back into the ball game, online dating offers lots of variety (if you’re up to it) and many opportunities to try out a few things. However, I believe finding the right person is not something you can invoke on command or set time limits on. It’s an organic process that when ripe delivers much sweetness.