I’m not ready yet; I’m barely divorced. And I haven’t refined my dating profile, but I have looked around and I cannot understand why every “he might be someone you like” match shows a guy on a boat holding a giant fish? This, by the way is not just men who are possibly “matched” to me, this is the bulk of men I see as I peruse these sites. Match.com. OurTime.com (because I am “of age”), Chemistry.com. Whatever.com, I don’t even know.com. And this whole Tinder swipe left or right thing, no. Don’t release me on that. It won’t end well, I am sure of it.
I do not have an official profile. Anywhere. I have not joined a dating service. I’m not out there, but I’ve poked around, so to speak, and I have seen a shit-ton of two things, giant fish and men with golf clubs. Neither of these attract me. In any way. Men, you may love to fish, and you may love to golf, and if we dated, I would not take that away from you, but don’t lead with that. Just don’t.
Would I start with how I like to hang with my cats, drink wine and watch chick flicks? And yes, I’m stereotyping like a motherfucker, but come on. Also, and you don’t have any way of knowing this, but my ex golfed. And golfed, and golfed, and golfed. Before we had kids, we golfed together, and I enjoyed it. And he golfed on his own, which was fine because I did my own thing. But fishing and golfing are all day events, so when you have kids, the freedom to do those things changes. And for him, it didn’t. In fact, golfing became a two week event. He and his best friend would jet off to Scotland every chance they got, cost be damned and diapers to be changed be damned. So, leading with your 3-wood, not a good club choice, pal.
Now, if you’d like to show me a picture that might endear you to me, how about one of you, folding laundry? Emptying a dishwasher without scowling? Cleaning up kid puke? Holding my purse while I shop? Or even just a nice smile? A nice looking human in a regular shirt smiling. That leaves things open ended. And not wearing a baseball cap, or holding a fish, or a golf club or for the love of God wearing a sports team jersey of any kind.
I don’t want to do this yet, so I know I’m not ready, but this will not be my first foray into dating services. Back in the dark ages, you know, the 1990s, I joined a dating service because I was 30 and wanted a grown up relationship. I kept picking assholes, and I hated the bar scene. So, I thought, well, I’ve managed my life with precision and planning so far, I’ll put a little thought into this. I had a wish list that included someone with a degree and financial stability; things that are hard to see after two margaritas when you’re looking down the barrel of a tight ass in good pair of jeans.
So, I joined Great Expectations and, I went on a lot of dates. It worked much like on-line dating only slower, with things like telephones and voice mail and the company did screening and you’d OK who could contact you. So, it was safe. I went on about ten first dates, and a few second dates. The key was the specificity of your profile, and theirs, so you’d pick who you met. I knew what I was looking for, for example, not religious, independent, and definitely college educated, and still I had men respond who would lead with:
“I am a Jesus-loving man who lives with his infirm momma. I’m fixin to get my GED and I love my dog and my God. Wanna meet for a Slurpee?”
Or, the guy who knew my general build. I didn’t put my weight on the form, but there was a full body shot picture and my height, 5’6”, and that I am athletic (read: not skinny) and he neglected to put his stats. And then, he shows up in a teacup. Luckily, he warned me he was “kinda short” or I’d have simply run . . . him over because he was so teeny waiting on line at the coffee shop. By the time he warned me, it was too late, the date was made and I felt like I’d be a real ass if I canceled. Honey, if I need you to sit on my lap, it’s not going to work.
Another memory that makes me cringe, and I won’t make this mistake again: Don’t tell the dude what kind of car you drive. It’s mean to think of making a clean getaway before parking, but I might have done it once. We were meeting outside a restaurant, so I casually mentioned, “Oh, I drive a blue Golf.” Well, when I saw him, I almost floored it. He was waving wildly from the entrance where there was a line around the fucking block, and I thought No, I cannot share a meal with that man. I can see this will go down in my history of worst dates ever. And we’ll never get in. Stop fucking waving at me. Shit. Everyone is looking, he looks so happy like he just got picked for The Price is Right. No!
So I parked and I met him. I pretended I had a lazy eye so I didn’t have to really look at him. We checked in with the hostess, “Yes, it will be a 50-60 minute wait.” As he was about to agree, and even ask for special seating, I blurted, “Um, can we sit at the bar, what about the bar? Is there a bar?” We sat at the bar. I ordered a salad. He ordered five courses. He and I were so clearly ill-suited, it was palpable. He was loud and goofy and just wrong. After the first course, his Brillo pad mustache had a permanent inch of food just there, stuck in it. Course after course after course. At one point a man from another party, with his wife and some friends gave me a quizzical look like “Girl, what the fuck are you doing with that guy?” I shrugged. I spent a lot of time in the Ladies Room. I offered to share the check and he declined and when he walked me to my car he went to lean in, I almost cracked my head on the door frame to avoid a kiss. He asked when we could see each other again and I said “You know, thanks for dinner, but, I don’t think so.”
He was surprised, but he said “Oh. Oh. Oh, OK. Well, thanks for being honest.”
“I hope that’s not too harsh sounding, but I guess I don’t see why I should say ‘call me’ when I know. But I do appreciate you taking me to dinner. Thank you.”
“No, he said, “It’s just most people aren’t honest.” He looked forlorn but what could I do?
And, I have to be honest again, I am not ready for that again. No. I have great PJs and even better cable now than twenty years ago, and much better wine.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good date, when I can get one, it’s just been so damn long. I was married for 17 years, a few of them good. And dates while we were married, even at the end, were mostly great. We had a damn good time, dinners out, lots of laughter, music festivals, comedy shows, even weekends away. But it was with my husband. A known quantity. The marriage was not so good. Once we had kids, and other things came up, things went downhill at rapid fire pace. But I stayed, I stayed for my kids, I stayed because I’m a stayer, and now here I am single. For me. So, that’s my priority and everyone’s talking about swiping left or right and I’m like, what the fuck? I’m barely me again. I think popcorn, wine and Netflix sounds about my speed.
I suppose that’s all I’m ready for right now, but at some point, I’ll be ready to date again. Maybe not online dating. Maybe I’ll meet him through friends, although does anyone even do that anymore? Do people have friends, like real people friends? See, I have no idea how this works. I’m still working my way out of my pajamas on weekends, so for now, I’ll stick to Netflix, my cat, wine, my girlfriends, my kids, and I think I’ll know when I’m ready. Then we’ll see which way I swipe.