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ROMANCE & DATING IN THE 2000s:
Tales From the Trenches : Online Dating 2008
All names have been changed, including those of locations, so if you think it's you, you're wrong!
Chapter 1: March 2008 Yahoo Personals
Dating on an internet singles site is rather like shopping. You get to pick out men and try them on for size, see if they fit and make you feel and look good. So far I still prefer retail therapy to dating, but I suppose that’s because I haven’t found the right fella.
I’ve been serial dating on yahoo personals for about two weeks. I make dates and make myself go, because frankly I am shopping for a man. It’s not easy to get gussied up every night and get ready for an evening of small talk, but I have to do it to weed out the frogs and find my prince.
I date the lazy way; I don’t browse for men at this point; I check my account every few days to see who has singled me out for attention and written me some interesting prose. That’s how you approach a potential date one the net; you write them a little blurb saying you liked his or her personal profile and want to communicate. You can do this by writing a little note, or by clicking on one of the canned responses Yahoo has generously provided. Phrases like “wink”, “your profile made me smile” or if you email me I will respond” are among the drab choices available to those who aren’t inspired to write their own opening spiel.
I ignore those men who use the canned “icebreakers” as they are called. I figure if they can’t even come up with their own opening line they will probably be a very boring date. Sometimes I get annoyed and actually write back that “icebreakers” are for wimps, and if they want to meet me they had better come up with a little ad hoc material of their own.
I seem to attract men in the service. Maybe because I wrote in my profile I like to give orders.
My first date with Charles, from the navy, went pretty well despite the vast differences in our backgrounds and education. He was sexy, and that makes up for a lot.
Unfortunately, after the third hour of our marathon date he started talking about available apartments where we could move in together. I pretended he was talking about the weather because what else could I do without making a fool of him or a bitch out of me? I guess I shot him a querulous look because he finally said, “well, it’s not like we have to get married or anything.” We walked and talked about the war in Iraq, where he had been, our weird families and weirder exes. He "texted" me several times on my way home.
Then the next day I got a Dear Jane letter, accusing me of calling him on a private line (one that did not display a name or number on caller ID). I thought “psycho talk” and for a while was bummed out that he turned into a freak over night.
But I eventually (the next night) moved on to Jon, the old liar. He was not 48. He would have been lucky to be under 55. I was pissed, but couldn’t show it. He complimented me right and left and even brought me a book in Classics, which I had studied in college. Let’s just say that old fart will never see that book again.
He thought all of modern medicine was in cahoots to keep the American public ill for their own profit. I wanted to tell him he had "twitching mouth syndrome", which had been discovered yesterday, luckily for him Bristol-Meyers had come up with a cure: prescription duct tape –to be applied across the offending yapper. I had to sit through a long coffee and a longer movie, and by the skin of my teeth I was able to avoid a dinner invitation by feigning illness.
When he called the fourth time I made the mistake of picking up but saved myself by “being on the other line.” I mean, if your gonna lie about something, lie about something that can’t be immediately disproved, like your income or your religious or political affiliation. Hide that you are a scientologist of Tom Cruise proportions, or that you recycle cans to pay your electricity bill. To lie about your age or race is not only stupid but insulting as I couldn’t really say,
Alas, old lying Jon was not the “one”. A plague on his hut.
By now I was wising up. I would meet Brian in the mall, as I had done with the others for safety reasons. I told him to meet me at the roasting company across the way from the Mecca Of Fashion Bebe.
Pretty nifty thinking on my part, it turned out, as he turned out to be another old fart who had posted a picture of himself when he used to have hair. The sales girls and I hid behind the mannequins and ogled him while he trod about looking for me. I felt guilty, but not enough to stop shopping and go out and meet him. After all, he was the one who lied, wasn’t he? I knew if I met him I wouldn’t get away from him for hours; I am a wimp about ditching someone, even ever so politely.
This was a skill I would have to learn with much celerity, not to do so puts me in for a large amount of incredibly depressing sympathy dating. I assuaged my guilt and disappointment by buying several consoling outfits, mostly on sale. A small victory of retail therapy to mend the broken afternoon.
Next I went for Gabriel, who had been writing me sassy e-mails for several weeks. He was cute and funny and kind, but there was zilch chemistry. We had a nice chat over the mandated cappuccino and smoked a cigarette in my car.
We had a humorous conversation about the trials of internet dating, which he had been doing since 2001. I had to ask him if that didn’t seem ominous, having been out on the field for so very long. He seemed to think it was all worth it, but maybe that was because he had just met a policewoman in whom he was very interested. A rather optimistic chap, bestowed with the gift of gab.
A pleasant couple of hours not entirely wasted because he gave me the number of a great neuron/bio feedback specialist whom I adore. I wouldn’t mind having Gabriel as a chum, but that is yet to happen. His new copper girlfriend must have him handcuffed to a large piece of furniture rendering him unable to return my call.
I was quickly learning this skill of weeding out the dullards and the aged, although I had the misfortune of going out with several men who thought I looked like the kind of person who wanted to hear all about how psycho their exes were.
Isn’t there a ubiquitous saying “never talk about exes on the first date”? It’s a good saying and I wish more men would adhere to it. Sorry Xavier, Ron and Dave. Gong!
I’ll end on the less sour note of Stuart, the ex-navy seal. He had a nasal twang which annoyed me over the telephone, but I overlooked it. Lucky for me because it turned out to be a Kentucky accent and Stuart turned out to be built like a brick house and purty darn cute.
There is something amiss though, because he wants to do the majority of our communication via cell phone-texting, so I doubt our petite love affair will last, what with me being a women of words and all. But I’m having fun-
Stuart is a de facto boyfriend and I still go out with a newbie or two every week. Stuart doesn’t like this, but when he learns to use the telephone we’ll talk about commitment. If I have to read “what r u doin” or “I want 2 c u” much more I think I’ll flush his or my cell phone done the toilet.
His cell phone. That works out better for me, financially.
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