It’s been a week of setbacks. Actually, two weeks. Two weeks ago I joined Match.com and spent nearly a full week checking, searching, emailing… and totally striking out. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy, sure-fire thing. What I didn’t know was what a complete flop it would be. Something about my situation or something I put in my profile must be a giant red-flag that says “DO NOT TOUCH.” Then, in almost sort of a really bad karma kind of way, I got a kidney stone. As if I needed any more trouble in my life!
The kidney stone is still there. I’m on day 4 now. They’re estimating from a CAT scan that it’s a 3mm stone. 5mm is the size at which you have a 50:50 chance of passing it on your own. So I’ve got better than average odds—oh, yay! They say it’s worse than giving birth—they, including women who’ve given birth, BTW. I know something about the 1-10 standardized pain scale because I helped my mom when she was struggling with cancer. 10 is supposed to be the greatest pain you can imagine; I believe they say that at 10, you pass out with the pain. I’m guessing I got to 8. At any rate, I reached a point where all I could do was cry out “Oh my god. Oh my god.” I was a total spectacle at the ER. I was beyond being able to care what I looked like. It was like having a big knife stuck in my stomach.
Perhaps I’ll have more to say about online dating later. It really is a fertile ground for exploring human nature and romance dynamics. I knew ahead of time that I wasn’t completely ready for dating. But I had this strong sense of a need to keep moving forward. It wasn’t a matter of “getting back on the horse” though. See, I hadn’t lost anything in the romance department. Emotionally, I think I’d left a year or two ago. Romantically, it had been considerably more years than that. So, it wasn’t a matter of suddenly finding myself alone. I think I got judged as being not ready for a relationship, but in fact I’ve already gone for years without a good emotional relationship, and in some ways am more ready than ever. Put another way, I’m just terribly lonely and have been that way for years, despite being married. It seems even lonelier to be lonely while married. You don’t even have the chance to try—unless you want to go the route of having an affair. I didn’t.
I didn’t want to get into any long-distance relationship at this point, nor did I want to get too serious too fast, but I have known that ultimately a long-term relationship (“LTR”) was what I wanted. So I checked the “LTR” box in my profile. Maybe that worked against me. I’m sure I get labeled as a high-risk man, and probably am, without realizing it fully. I’m guessing that men leave women more than the other way around. I’m also imagining that these women who are scared off by my recent separation are projecting their own experience onto me, thinking, “He can’t possibly be ready for another relationship already, he just got out of another very serious one.” But I am feeling at least ready to start anyway. There were 3 women on Match in my town that I was interested in. I really didn’t want to go farther afield—sensing that I really didn’t have the energy to invest in a longer-distance relationship. I told myself it was worth paying $35 for one month, just to see if any of these 3 might be interested. I’d also been just “lurking” on Match for long enough to know that it wasn’t like there was a steady stream of interesting women coming along. It’s more like on the average, someone looking like a good match came along maybe once a month. They charge $19/month for a 6-month subscription; I just couldn’t see myself working that venue for 6 months. Seemed like it would turn up something within a month or else just not be the right thing for me. At any rate, I just wanted to try it out and didn’t want to commit to 6 months.
So, what happened? I spent an entire evening carefully crafting the words in my profile, then set it to visible. Right away I start seeing notices that lots of women had looked at my profile. That was exciting. I’d look at theirs, pretty much anyone that looked at me, I checked them out too. I wrote a carefully worded email to the one in my town that had really caught my attention. I wasn’t really interested in anyone else. I’d woken up that morning with her profile picture in my mind and feeling like I just had to make contact with her. Within 24 hours, she’d responded. “Doesn’t look like we’re a good match. Maybe I’ll see you around town sometime though.” Ok. I’ll accept that. But what was it? What eliminated me? I got no feedback on that. I went to woman of interest #3 and wrote her a carefully crafted message. Again, within 24 hours, a response: “Sorry, I just did this as a lark. I’m not really interested in dating right now.” Oh really? Her profile starts off saying how important honesty and open communication were to her. I messaged her back: “Seems like what you put in your profile conflicts with what you just told me. If you’re just having cold feet, then I’m still here.” She responded with, “I’ve been separated for 1 year and am just going through the divorce right now so things are kind of raw right now. I just set my profile to ‘hidden’.” Ok. I guess I need to give people the benefit of the doubt and move along. Only, I subsequently see Match reporting her online all the time. Sheesh. I’d rather just hear that I don’t look like a good match. So much for honesty. How serious are these women? Maybe I’m doing this wrong. By this time, I’d spent an enormous amount of time monitoring the website, searching for more interesting women, check out those who had looked at me. One woman even “winked.” I’m beginning to get the impression by this time that “winking” is a faux pas. Lots of women say “don’t bother winking.”, in a way that says “C’mon guys, what sort of jerk are you that you can’t be bothered to put any more effort into it than a wink?” I winked back, then wrote her a little note, saying that she didn’t look like a match to me because of religion. I expressed some of my frustrations with the online dating model. We exchanged a few friendly messages and I felt some real camaraderie. But no sparks, and no temptation to suggest some kind of less-meaningful fling. I did notice that she was on line a lot. By this time, I was beginning to recognize a handful of women who were on line a lot. I knew, because I was too.
I’ll close with WOI #2. Why out of order? Because she was actually the one I was second-most interested in. I didn’t want to blow it with one of my top interests, so I held back while I learned the ropes. Also by this time, I’d written more-than-casual messages to several other women that I’d found in the Bay Area (as in San Francisco Bay), and I was feeling like I was getting to many balls in the air. I was, however, starting to feel like I was doing something wrong and needed to try something different. So I winked at #2, with the plan of writing to her soon. I wanted to see if the wink would catch her attention enough to read my profile (my carefully worded profile). Well, she did then show up in the list of women that had viewed my profile, so I wrote her a message. The response from her was… nothing.
So, that’s where I stand with online dating. Zero. I’ve left out a few things, such as the very outdoorsy, super fun looking Berkeley woman who turned out to be a high powered attorney that I didn’t make enough money “to keep up with.” Or the super-athelete doctor in Hawaii that seemed more interested in my kayaking photo than me, and who told me I didn’t seem “remotely ready emotionally for a relationship.” You can see I went further afield, tho the Hawaiian doctor actually came to me, not vice versa. This Dr. in Hawaii claimed to be retired due to a non-progressive autoimmune disorder for 15 years, so how is it that she could be running triathlons yet unable to work. Ya got me.
So, it was all a little weird and I’m moving on. I’ve got other ideas on how to meet women. If I keep blogging, you’ll hear about it. There’s probably plenty more to say about online dating sites, but I’m not sure I’ve got the energy to write any more about it myself. I’m sure there’s plenty online. I just don’t think I’ve got much more to say about it. I’ll add just one relevant thing however: I just got a call yesterday from my 84 year old father informing me that he and his ladyfriend were going to get married in April. Guess where they met? That’s right: Match.com! Maybe I’ll be back, it just seemed like a dead-end to me.