Whenever the subject of my recent uncoupling (some might call it “divorce”) comes up – and it does fairly often – some well-meaning friend asks when I’m gonna go on Match.com. Not IF, but WHEN. Always. The men friends in my life push it the hardest, backing up their claims by giving me numbers and facts and science and other stuff that makes my delicate girly head hurt. I always respond that not only does the concept of online dating depress the shit out of me, but also that I am way too weird and opinionated for even the most sophisticated algorithm to classify me in any useful way.
So last night, after a couple Karma Supratinis (don’t judge) with a couple good girlfriends, I succumbed. I gave my email address so that I could get in and view some exciting profiles of singles near me! Some of whom are even “online right now!” After an initial giddiness – “Oh my God, what if this works and I miraculously find some supercoolguyandwebothhavekidsandenduptravelingtogether and EEEE!” – a few more minutes on the site brought me back to my initial misgivings. I lasted all of about 15 minutes but at least I have some intel from the very outer edges of the front lines – basically in another city – that I can share.
1. If you’re a woman over 40, face that you’re gonna have to date an older dude.
Guys my age and even older seem to have an age cut-off of 40. That’s the just the way it is. Sorry 44-year-old guy that I’m too old for…at 44.
This one really bugs. One of the men I saw on the site is someone I can’t say I know, but I have heard of him because he’s a best-selling author. When I saw him speak a few years ago, I actually remember thinking he was funny, smart, and very, very attractive – just my type. (Jewish, too. Bonus!) He’s 46 and – you guessed it – looking for women 35-40. Grr.
This brings me to my second lesson…
2. You will see someone you know.
And you’ll be like, “Whoa! They got divorced?” Followed by, “Hmm. Makes sense. He was always kind of an asshole.”
3. Some men are really, really honest.
Single friends of mine complain a lot about men not being honest. I’m sure that’s especially true in the online dating world because we’ve all heard about the guys who neglected to mention they had kids, or used a profile pic from 10 years and 30 pounds ago, or “forgot” their wallet on the date. But ladies, there are some honest fellas out there. I saw a profile that began with the line, “I’m bi-polar but trying to find meds that work for that.” Appreciate the honesty? I guess? Also, I saw a chubby dude who confessed that “I don’t get to the gym as much as I should, but I’d probably do better with someone to motivate me.” Oh, terrific! Now I not only have to drag my fat ass to the gym, I’m supposed to have extra motivation lying around to share with your fat ass?! Again, thanks for the honesty?
4. Many men do not have friends who will help them proofread.
The errors. The ERRORS! Ugh, so depressing. And I hate to get political, but the men who were reckless with grammar and spelling were much more likely to identify as conservative. (There’s a reason why all those Tea Party signs are barely readable.) I guess I’m just an elitist liberal but I prefer people not play fast and loose with the conventions of the English language. I mean, I know I use commas incorrectly all the time, but if I’m sending a resume or fercrissakes writing a DATING PROFILE, I’m gonna have someone read over it.
5. Profile pics contain volumes of information.
I came across more than one guy whose profile pic is him and a woman. WTF? Are you married? Do you not know women well enough to know that we don’t like to be reminded of limited resources? I don’t even get that one. And again: friends! Why don’t these men have friends who will say, “Yo. Do NOT do that, son”? And then there was the guy whose picture included a Bluetooth ear piece. I immediately texted the friends I’d been out with earlier and said, “I’m not gonna be able to do this. Add ‘uses an ear piece’ to my deal breakers list.”
It’s not nice and it’s not open-minded, but hell, if men my age can exclude women over 40, I’m gonna exclude NASCAR enthusiasts, fervent Romney-Ryan supporters, men whose usernames are stupid – looking at you, “Mr2Good4u” – and men who wear fedoras. Or can’t be bothered to use spell-check. I’m not even gonna pretend we might have a chance.
I lasted about 14 minutes before I closed the Match.com window, literally and figuratively. And then I had second thoughts about my judgy-ness, thinking that I come with plenty of deal breakers of my own. For example, age-inappropriate love of hip hop music. I customize wine labels to reflect favorite lyrics. Exhibit A:
I have to remember that not everyone is gonna think that’s cute.
And what the hell kind of handle am I gonna come up with? Really Real Housewife? Again: probably someone’s deal breaker.
But then Leigh summed it up perfectly.She’s right. If I ever do have another man in my life – and I’m NOT counting on it – he’s gonna have to be able to accept not only Jay-Z, but also my age, my kids, my neurotic tendencies and occasional complete freak-outs. He’s also gonna have to accept that we probably won’t meet on Match.com.
What about you? Someone tell me a happy story about online dating.