5 Lessons Learned in 15 Minutes on Match.com

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:

“If you havin’ girl problems, I feel bad for you, son.”

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.

26 thoughts on “5 Lessons Learned in 15 Minutes on Match.com

  1. eli says:

    I thought the same thing. I’ll never find someone online. I’m too old and weird and opinionated and set in my ways. But then again, I hate bars and I am not going to join a CLUB in the hopes I might meet someone and I am self employed so unless I am going to date my employees or clients I won’t meet anyone date worthy at work. But why is everyone trying to get me married again? The first one did not work out so great. What makes anyone think I even WANT a relationship. I love being alone. No really. I do. But that makes people uncomfortable, like I am actually really sad and lonely. I’m not. 5 years of wonderful singleness later biology took over and I started thinking maybe this being single thing had only one flaw…and I think we know what that flaw might be.

    So I went online. I’ve always been an aficionado of the newspaper personal ad. I loved the codes and the accidental gaffs and purposeful play on words…and the eyebrow raising perversions. And now that they come with pictures and unlimited word count, more rope to hang themselves with, I can be endlessly entertained on any number of sites, including Craigslist.

    But oh the horror. Why do most men take a picture of themselves standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom with the toilet prominently displayed? The dirty bathroom. Or in front of a pile of laundry on the unmade bed? Or sitting on an ugly home office chair in front of the computer where they were obviously just wanking off. It’s the little things, fellas. Choose your background wisely because some of us are reading a lot into your surroundings.

    But online, as in the big wide world out there, you will find a few who will be good friends, a couple who will be hot in the sack, and maybe even one or two who make you feel like you LOVE LOVE LOVE them so much. It’s a numbers game, I was told. You just have to put yourself out there and see what happens. Eventually, if you meet enough people you will find some who fit the bill. Not perfectly, because we are old and weird and set in our ways and so are they, but enough that you will see a glimmer of a chance that another person would be kind of nice to have around. I find online dating much better than in person dating. I get to chat with a person over a few weeks or months, see what they look like and get a sense of who they are without ever leaving my house or spending money on dinner or drinks.

    Meanwhile, enjoy the show, because it is so very entertaining. I worked really hard on my profile after a year of reading them and seeing what I liked and did not like to know. Be yourself, be positive and honest and open. And do not use of picture of yourself in the bathroom unless that is integral to who you are and what you are looking for.

    here’s mine.
    by the way, I found a boyfriend who likes to live alone, is weird and opinionated, and possibly the smartest and sweetest man I have ever met. We’ve been dating for a year.

  2. Susan Barmon says:

    Words do matter. I love this blog post!! It’s smart and funny. Congratulations. And, if you are like me, when you least expect it and don’t really give a shit anymore, is when your heart’s desire will appear!!

  3. push says:

    I’ve been doing this for two years and had a tiny bit of success after a lot of hard work, but the success was transient. I’ve written to hundreds of women (literally 400-500) and got only a few responses due to my strange ways or appearance. The few that liked me over e-mail or phone practically ran the other way once they actually met me in person. I did have a relationship with one of the women I met, and that ended a few months back. I am fairly honest in my profile, and I have a picture with other women (nuns). I’m a lot younger than you (36), and actually I’ve been seeing a woman who just turned 46 today. Maybe she’s willing to see me because the guys her age want someone younger. I can tell she’s not particularly interested but just doesn’t want to shut the door yet.

    I did accept that I’ll have to be willing to drive a decent distance and give up some of my age restrictions. The two closest big cities (Philly and Baltimore) are each at least an hour away. I’m not willing to consider anyone who is politically conservative. Eli’s profile was sweet, and I thought of sharing mine, but I’m too embarrassed. I never showed it to any of my friends (imagining them thinking “yuck, who would want to date you?”), so I may have made glaring mistakes.

    I’ve had my share of horror stories, like the time I met a woman who I realized was really a man. If you give it another chance, you’ll have your own horror stories, and you might meet someone if you take a lot of chances. I use the internet because I don’t have a chance in hell any other way. I’m sure you’ll have no problem attracting men in other areas of your life. Someone who reads your blog or one of your facebook friends would probably go for you.

    • reallyrealatlantahousewife says:

      400-500?! I’m truly impressed by your perseverance. You need to be on the internet a lot more – not trying to date necessarily, but just commenting on blogs and Facebook. I always love reading your thoughts.

  4. Dern it. I needed you as a wing woman.

    p.s. my profile(s) have long disclaimers, w/ asterisks & evarythang.

  5. Diane says:

    Josh’s best friend Doug met his wife Deb on Match.com. They met about 9 years ago and they have 3 kids now, they are very happy together.

  6. Susan says:

    After your ad for match.com, I decided to be a little crazy (aka drunk) and take a look for myself, unfortunately my work firewall won’t let me access, so now of course I’m determined to view. Is it really that depressing, we’re not that crazy so maybe other non crazy men are out there, just wishful thinking, quite frankly though are we really missing out?

    • reallyrealatlantahousewife says:

      Well, if we do it then yes, it would follow that there are some normal, reasonable men out there, too. The question is: are we willing to invest the energy? Especially seeing that we’re quite happy on our own??

  7. AnnMcK. says:

    Plus sides:
    1. You get to do the whole pre first date thing in writing rather than in person. Don’t know about you, but I’m WAY more charming and witty in writing than in person!
    2. Quickly and easily screen out men who don’t know the difference between you’re and your.
    3. Get to see lots of pics of headless legless abs and/or penises in various states of angry. Just kidding. That’s a minus. What are these guys thinking?
    4. Fresh blog material! Lib, you can’t make this shit up.

    Keep us posted. Post-divorce dating can actually be a blast.

    • reallyrealatlantahousewife says:

      You have really made some excellent points here, Ann. #4 could be my favorite. The funny thing is that I have NO interest – none! – in being with anyone right now, not in a relationship way. But I do find all of it fascinating. Maybe that means the time’s right for a fantastic man to come along…

  8. Amy says:

    I met my first husband online. He turned out to be gay – which is fine.. though less so when you’re married to me. I wonder if he told his second wife…

    • reallyrealatlantahousewife says:

      I almost just spit wine across the keyboard! “Which is fine – though less so when you’re married to me.” That killed me…

  9. DXD says:

    I married him and I am 3 years older:-)
    It will promise to be good fodder for the blog!!!!!

    Before I married my match.com guy – I decided to make a list of 10 guys that I hadn’t dated before:
    1. A Sugar Daddy
    2. A photographer
    3. A writer
    4. A Latin Lover
    5. A Broker (I lived on Wall St at the time so it seemed appropriate and fit the prerequisite)
    6.The Younger (much younger) man 10 years my junior
    7. A musician…

    You get the idea…

    Well I found them all on Match and I only got to #6 before I was totally diallusioned by this match.com dating scenario. But along the way I met a lot of liars and ego, laughed so hard at all the bad (and some good) dates bur most of all I can recount endless funny stories about that time in my life. I’ll bring a bottle of white by one eve for a porcher with Andy:-)

    Anyway at least I had 10/12 great meals – yes some of them made it to date #2 and some decent wine along the way! But what it made me really appreciate was when I winked (on a whim) at the cute guy who lived uptown – mind you I never dated above 23rd Street at the time – who cycled and had a Harley (although he sold it before I ever saw it!) – who knew – that would be my Mr. Right. Only after that list of Mr Wrongs would I have the sanity to know who Mr. Right was at that time.

    So the moral of the story here – just have fun, go have a nice meal and a glass of wine and I PROMISE you’ll have some great stories to share with the rest of us!

    • reallyrealatlantahousewife says:

      Oh Dana, I LOVE this! I guess I’ll do it when I’m ready for it, you know? In the meantime, you do need to come over and give me the whole rundown . . . 😉

  10. Push says:

    After at least 500 attempts, I finally found someone who wanted to be in a relationship with me. Today is our 6 month anniversary. I had to make a lot of compromises, but she is crazy about me, and it is very good for my mental health to wake up next to a woman who feels that way. Most people I know are astonished that I’m actually in a relationship. It wouldn’t have been possible without the internet.

  11. Drew says:

    I am a 41 year old man and I want to share my match.com experience. It has just been terrible. First off a little about me, I’m 5’8″, I am thin and in good shape. I have a very good job and make good money. I also happen to look VERY young for my age. I can easily pass as 31 and in fact people are truly shocked when they hear my age.

    Now you can call me shallow all you want but we are all a little shallow when it comes to these sites. I am not interested in dating woman over the age of 32. 28 is my ideal age and all my GFs have been in their 20s. Well guess what, I just through my money away on this site. Being forced to revel my real age essentially pigeonholed me into only being seen by older woman.

    I have sent 130 emails and get ready for it… I have had 0 replies!! I have had 0 emails for anyone and I have had 2 winks from women in their mid 40s. This is a total joke. In the real work I can meet a lot of girls that like me and are interested. But because of having to revel my age (and height) online I am instantly crossed off every girls list that I am interested in.

    Bottom line… these sites are for people that are ready to really settle for someone below their standards. Maybe they work better if you look like Justin Timberlake or someone but that’s probably about it. Guys… don’t waste your time or money. All it will do is make you feel bad about yourself.

  12. Leslie Magarian says:

    Ok… My experience is that online dating seems to be a freak show. I met a 51 year therapist that appeared on big rich atlanta. We talked on the phone quite a bit. He seemed nice and sincere but there were red flags. I chose to keep an open mind… Mistake number one! By the time we met in person all the guy (mr well respected atl therapist) talked about was sex! How is combination of meds prevents him from “finishing ” etc…
    This guy is a loser. Warning girls. Look out for a therapist who wears dark rimmed glasses! He’s a playa!

  13. Tami says:

    I’m 50 and am bombarded with men from Match – averaging 75-100 responses a week (I live in a big city). I’ve been on that site for 8 months. I joined because I’m a caregiver and don’t meet many people my own age. I’m also genuinely happy with my life and found out that most join because they’re unhappy. Also, hurt people hurt people. If you respond with a “thanks for contacting me, good luck in your search” men get angry and beat you down. If you don’t respond, they get angry and call you a snob. If they’re younger than you, they say you can’t handle them and the list goes on. Simply put – you don’t respond because men have very delicate egos and being nice about it doesn’t work. Let’s face it, we all used the excuse “I have a boyfriend” when approached by a guy because we didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Guess what? Time to hurt his feelings because there are no excuses and you need to brace yourself because hurt people hurt people. Not only that, the chances of you lashing out on an innocent are pretty good which means you’re just perpetuating this cycle of abuse.

    Match.com was in a class action lawsuit recently because they say that they have 15 million members when in all actuality they only have 1.5 million “paid” subscribers. 90% of the people you email are phantoms who only joined for the free two-week trial period. They shuffle the fake profiles into your email and on your pages, hoping you write them then they forward your email hoping they’ll pay for a subscription to read it. It’s all a racket but there are some fools (like me) who do pay.

    My tips:

    1. Most are professional daters that make Match.com their life or have free memberships. Therefore, if they’ve been on the site longer than a year or two, you don’t want to date him since you’ll be Ms. Spring, Ms. Summer, and so on. They’ll constantly remind you that they “can just find another online.” So can you 🙂

    2. Don’t date anyone with alcohol in their profile or photos unless you like to party a lot. Never meet anyone in a bar. (I’ll spare you the obnoxious drunken horror story.)

    3. Don’t date someone who has a matchmaker contact you. If he doesn’t have time to find you then he doesn’t have time to date you and you’ll be talking to his personal assistant. (Of course, if you’re dying to ride in a limo then you might want to date him but believe me, he’s got a gal in every city.)

    4. A lot of men hire professional writers. Compare his photos to his profile – some simply don’t jive. (One guy had a beautifully written profile asking women not to contact him as a sugar daddy. His photos? One in his red sports car, of blondes on his boat, his motorcycle, house, pool – the man is advertising for a hoochie momma but is upset when they contact him. Go figure?)

    5. Look for one phrase, “I’m not ready to start a relationship yet” or any variation. He’ll probably write that “if someone special comes along he’s all for it” – he’s not. Believe everything you read and know he’s a time waster. Actually, there’s no point in reading profiles, just skim for that one phrase and look at his photos.

    6. Don’t go out with anyone who just wants to meet for coffee. I think enough is said when they tell you they don’t want to make a financial investment. Men should pay for your meal – always. You can pay him back by cooking for him some day or sending him a private sexy photo. Wink-wink!

    7. Remember, a lot of people who join do so because they’re shy. You’ll probably never meet 90% (of the 10% who are actual paid subscribers). I have all kinds of imaginary relationships with men who make imaginary dates with me every Wednesday but blow me off on the weekend. When they ask me what I did the next Wednesday and I tell them “dating” they get angry like jealous boyfriends. Cut those time wasters loose.

    8. Email for a while to get to know him but not for too long (remember the 2-week free trial because they’ll disappear). Like I said, men are shy and some are players, fakes or just chatting you up for snicks. A lot are married who just want to sext or email something racy.

    9. MOST IMPORTANT – if you have FB and all your contact information on it then give your phone number to a guy, they have all that information too because FB sync’s with your cell phone. DON’T DO IT. Block your FB contact information BEFORE joining any dating site – you don’t want a guy to be able to look up your address, family, friends until you make sure he’s not a total crackpot.

    10. Never date anyone spur of the moment because that’s all you are to him. Don’t get all wrapped up in the emotional drama of “virtual reality dating.” There are men who are “in love with love” and live for that online excitement… it’s not worth the emotional investment to get happy about an email when he’s going to email another woman in a few minutes. Men are hunters and Match.com is his hunting ground. He’s in it for the thrill of the hunt and you’re not that desperate.

    11. Ask him about his ex-wife and LISTEN closely. I don’t have children but if he does, he had better be manning up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a date tell me that his ex wasn’t supportive of his hobbies, sports, friends or extracurricular activities. Trust me when I tell you every woman supports money and his hobbies don’t contribute to her household. I’m sure she supports spending time with their children, their folks, housecleaning, running errands, driving the kids hither and yon, etc. Some women are nasty but if they have children together, give her a break if he starts complaining from the get go. If he hasn’t learned anything from his divorce or accepting responsibility for his part, she couldn’t train him and you won’t be able to either. Please don’t be a catty woman. If she gave him healthy babies, he pays the price for them.

    12. If you’re out on a date and all he talks about are his past dates, he’s not interested. Move along. Vice versa if you’re a guy.

    13. Remember, there are needs-based and shared-based relationships. Once the needy get their needs met (sex, dinner, house, children, food, movies, drinks, money), you’re history. Choose wisely.

    Age doesn’t matter for women. If you’re 50 and look hot, you’ll get hit on by twenty year olds. If you’re a man, your wallet speaks volumes to anyone who has children. It says nothing to me as much as your confidence. I’m tried of taking care of people and if you can take a load off me, you’ve got it going on.

    Publish flattering photos, keep your children and folks out of them. Be honest and realistic. I had one guy tell me that he met a woman and she was ten years older than her profile photo. Guess what? Yep, he was ten years older than his photo when I met him. Listen to what they complain about because they’re doing what they hate and eating dinner with someone who looks like your father but is flirting with you is awkward. Mother of God!

    So far, Match.com has been one of the most emotionally abusive experiences of my life. I’m on a breather because men order you, get excited, take offense and I’m a nice person. I have high standards but other than that, I want an independent guy that can be my companion. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t have a life outside his work. It does matter if he wants me to entertain him. Can he live in the same house without being a dependent? Does he know how to be in the room with you? Does he like the company he keeps or is he trying to run away from himself?

    Oh! One more thing! I had a guy who lived far from me. He kept telling me that his neighbor met a woman online, they fell in love, she relocated, they married and started a family. Listen to what he says. He wants you to relocate and as much as this is okay for someone in their twenties, I’m 50 and I find him too selfish. He wants me to give up everything to become a mother to his children (and if you’ve read this far then you already know I’m pro-kids). This might be a good deal for some other woman but it’s not for me. You’ll also get marriage proposals from men who live in small towns that drive forklifts and wear overalls. Be nice and tell him good luck.

    I can’t remember why I found this site now? I commented because too often people join and don’t know what they want. Relationships take work and if you’re not ready that’s okay. Be honest with yourself. Having fun is important too and if you’re not having any, take a time out. Men love to chase woman – let them chase you but remember, it’s all a game to a lot of them. Some are serious but you don’t match. If you thought about being at a stadium with thousands of people, chances are you won’t meet “the one” because it’s hard. It’s luck but you’re not doomed either.

    Most important – don’t take it personal and if you start, take a time out because hurt people hurt people. Good luck! And thanks for writing this!

  14. Match makes me feel like a cheap prostitute, putting the goodies on display so some HotLoneRanger or CumToMe can get his rocks off and make lewd comments. My profile started fairly positive, now it is downright rude….if you don’t like animals, you won’t like me. If you’re holding a beer, a fish, a grand kid, a dead deer, or your penis in your profile pic, don’t contact me. If there’s a beach or boat in your background, don’t contact me ‘can you not fucking read? I don’t like beaches or water sports!’ I am 59 but look younger. All I’m getting are old dudes intent on killing themselves with a vegan diet who made working out a full time job so they can keep their sex drive going, or the complete reverse…55, retired, who (you guessed it) drink beer and want to ride into the sunset with their honey in their boat. I’ve met a few nice guys, many blocked, and will likely give this up after initial membership expires…one other rant, you think Match plants great looking guys’ profiles here and there? Some look and sound great, but they disappear when you wink or favorite. Like bait to get people to join hahahaha!

    • RealATLHousewife says:

      I truly LOLed at this! So “matches” my experience on Match!

      • May says:

        Wow, glad I found this thread… I’m a 49 year old woman, live in a busy suburban city area. I am attractive, in good shape, articulate, and have a nice profile… One of my photos is in the Sox dugout, for crying out loud. In under 3 months, almost 1,500 separate views to my profile… but… can you hear the crickets? I will go DAYS without getting a decent email. And by decent, I mean someone under 63, less than 40 lbs overweight, and able to construct an actual sentence.
        So email them, you say. I did, went out with a guy who thought he was all set to get laid in his car 4 hours after we met. I guess my email gave him the all clear? I don’t know, but I’m not taking a chance on that again.
        So that’s that, I’m almost done with my subscription, and I will be well rid. Whoever used the word “damaging” nailed it.
        And I went into this with optimism, and realism too… but I wasn’t expecting it to leave a scar.

  15. Mikki says:

    Well, I am now totally discouraged. After reading the stories here, I may just give it up myself. Do I really want to date this much? I don’t think so.
    I couldn’t help but laugh at the comments about spelling and proofreading. I know that I’m not without my own mistakes, but really, I haven’t seen such bad grammar since the notes we used to pass to each other in grade school. If they can’t write or communicate any more effectively, what kind of conversations would we have? Would I find myself having to explain what I’m talking about, or “dumb down” my conversations so he can understand?
    Come on guys, profile names can’t be that difficult to come up with!!! If your name is “SinMike”, followed by a picture that allows me to actually count your nose hairs, here’s your sign, you’re an idiot! Seriously, do women really respond to that?
    The only site I am currently on has a “Meet Me” button that allows the user to send a request for a meeting to anyone they want to meet. This button should be blasted into oblivion. Don’t push that damn button requesting to meet me if you can’t take the time to even READ my profile, Honestly, guys, how the hell did you make this far?

    So, here’s my last question…Where, Holy Mother of God, do I dare say, “semi intelligent” men go? Where can they be found?

  16. Mike T. says:

    It’s just as hard for men to meet someone nice if not actually harder. If your over 60, as I am, it’s probably damn near impossible. I console myself with the knowledge that in the past at least I did love someone once, or maybe I just thought it was love, but the feeling was real. I have my music to keep me sane, and I do have a few memories that still will let me smile when I recall them.

Talk to me.

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