Distractions, A Story Of Online Dating

6 Jan

Done any online dating?

You can meet interesting people online. And if you are like me: somewhere over 45 and not inclined to hang out at bars. And perhaps you are a little shy about saying hi to that cute blonde you have been passing in the grocery store for the last 15 minutes. Then this won’t be a news flash: there are not many places that you will meet members of the opposite sex.

Doing the online dating thing is pretty common these days, it doesn’t hold nearly the stigma that it used to. Besides there’s always a good cover story if you are a little hinky about it. “This is Joe, we met at a swap meet when we both grabbed the same desk lamp at the same time.”

Don’t get me wrong, if it wasn’t for online dating I’d have maybe one date a year. But to say I enjoy the process of online dating would be like saying I enjoy a trip to the dentist. What I do enjoy is meeting interesting new women. I count myself lucky if I make a friend or even more rarely make a connection with someone. So yeah, It’s important to retain your perspective.

 

Something occurred to me the other day when a lady I met online told me just exactly how many match.com emails she got last year. Meeting people is not so much the problem. The problem is establishing a relationship with them.

What with all the distractions.

 

Couple One, Joe and Mary

Late one Sunday afternoon Joe is at the grocery store and runs into Mary, literally. They collide in a shower of Cheerios boxes and cutouts of anthropomorphic bees. Untangling himself from his shopping cart Joe helps Mary to her feet. There is the clumsiness of strangers thrown into close proximity. Neither knows what to say next; awkward would be a good word to use here.

Their eyes meet.

The “click” is almost audible

Neither is sure exactly how it happened but they both end up at a table in the store’s cafe, their shopping carts parked behind them like dogs waiting to go outside.

Mary’s Hagen Dazs Chocolate has melted. Joe’s steaks now look like a morgue scene from CSI. The click is loud enough for other shoppers to notice. Mary and Joe have found several things in common. Politically they are both of the “shoot ’em all and start over” persuasion. they share a penchant for Roger Corman films and have both tried and given up on online dating.

Mary has noticed that Joe has tried to tear his eyes away from her cleavage and mostly succeeded in looking her in the eye. She is pleased that he noticed her eyes and that her new Wonder Bra is doing it’s job. She noticed his hands too. He has strong hands like her father, she likes that.

Joe has noticed her (nice but not cavernous) cleavage and then her brown eyes. There are little flecks of gold in Mary’s eyes and when she laughs they sparkle and turn a little green (Joe doesn’t know much about contact lenses). He is trying to sit so that she won’t look down and notice that he is enjoying thinking about her cleavage.

Joe and Mary’s co-workers notice that they both seem to be in a better mood the last couple of weeks. good call.

They are in a better mood, in fact they are having a blast. Mostly.

Every time Mary talks to her dog (in fact any dog) she uses a little baby voice and baby talk. Joe finds this somehow annoying and a bit of a turn off. But then there is that nice (but not cavernous) cleavage, those eyes (He still hasn’t figured out contact lenses) and their (almost finished) Roger Corman film festival last weekend. All in all a good trade-off.

Mary thinks that Joe doesn’t much like dogs, contrary to what he has said. But then she likes his hands even more, especially when he touches her right there, on the side of her neck just under the ear. When Joe did that she melted like a pint of Chocolate Chocolate Chip Hagen Dazs. She is, however, concerned that Joe thinks their congress-critter is doing “a decent job” even though they both still agree on lots of things political. Oh and that (almost finished) Roger Corman film festival was fun. Mary decides that on the whole the good outweighs her quibbles.

In fact as Joe and Mary continue to date they find more about each other that they like. They start to develop new interests together. As the months slide by Joe and Mary continue to build a relationship that they are both very happy about. Mary’s friends stop trying to set her up on even more blind dates and Joe stops trying to hit on his friend’s sisters. In fact they have a Relationship.

 

 

Couple Two, Dave and Kim

Late one Friday night Dave is surfing the women’s profiles on match.com. He runs across Kim’s picture, clicks and looks at the other three pictures posted on her profile. He digs the short blonde hair and the pic of Kim and her friends. The one where Kim shows enough leg to make a giraffe jealous. With barely a glance at what Kim had written in her profile he dashes off a few clever lines to Kim and moves on to the next picture profile.

Sunday morning Kim is dawdling over coffee and the crosswords and decides to check her email. As usual she has about a dozen from men responding to her ad on match.com. Also as usual, most of them range from bad to creepy. Three, however, look interesting. She reads their profiles, pores over the compatibility chart, checks the astrological match and decides that one guy didn’t even glance at what she had written and deletes the email without responding.

The two men who remain, while not a perfect match, look interesting enough to respond to.

Dave and Kim exchange a few emails and decide that there is enough interest to get together. The other guy takes a week to get back to her but as his explanation seems reasonable she responds. In time she finds that he almost always takes a week to answer an email.

Meanwhile Dave and Kim have managed to get through the perpetually awkward first date. They meet again for lunch Saturday and on the spur of the moment decide to go see a movie. Dave fancies himself an intellectual and when Kim suggests Syriana he readily agrees. Dave is a bit restless in the movie but Kim chalks it up to the grandé cappuccino he had with lunch. She is wrong.

Dave is having a good time. He is happy that Kim didn’t lie about her weight like most of his online dates have. He is also glad that she didn’t notice that he had lied just a little about his height. She looks great in the jeans she wore today, and every opportunity to have a look he does. His only reservation is that she seems so much smarter than him. He vows to do his best to keep up and actually start listening to that PBS station she mentioned. “Gotta keep up my image as an intellectual, after all!”

They exit the theater after the movie. Dave holds the door for Kim. Mostly so he can enjoy how she fits into her jeans.

“Besides, chicks dig it when you hold doors for them.”

They walk across the street to a little park and have a seat under a big shade tree. Kim loved the movie and starts talking about how she enjoyed the complex plot and all of it’s twists and turns. Surprisingly Dave had some problems following the action. They talk some more and Kim fills in the blanks on the few things he missed. Dave feels relieved that he didn’t miss that much and come off as a total doofus.

By now it’s getting dark and Dave walks Kim to her car. The goodnight kiss takes Kim by surprise. Dave is pleasantly surprised that she responds. Five minutes later they come up for air and say goodnight.

The next morning Dave and Kim are both checking their morning email. As usual there is that daily “your matches” email with twelve new profiles/matches from match.com to check out. Not able to resist temptation Dave checks out the profiles. One is a new redhead. Dave has a particular weakness for redheads and fires off a quick email.

Kim deletes the “your matches” email. Glancing over the rest of her inbox she notices an email from the other guy, Phil. Again with the plausible explanation for the delay in writing. It’s a long email. He talks about a lot of stuff and made some comments about a couple of movies he saw recently. His comment about Syriana showed some remarkable insight. Before she quite realizes it she has written a response and included a couple of snarky comments about the movie. Quite pleased with herself she sends the email and gets up from her computer.

Dave and Kim get together a few more times. Each date is fun and they have a good time. And every day they get the “your matches” email. Kim gets a response to her snarky comments and this time the response only took a couple of days. Before long she has what she is calling a “pen pal.” Meanwhile Dave, unable to resist the temptation, has had a first date with the redhead. Though she did lie a bit about her weight he has a major thing for redheads and decides that makes up for the weight thing.

On their last date Dave and Kim get together after work for a drink. Dave had a bad day at work and is a bit on edge. He tries to put it behind him and doesn’t say a thing about what an asshole his boss is. Kim can see that something is bothering him and because he didn’t say it was work feels that it was something that she said last night on the phone. When they say goodnight Dave is so preoccupied with the day at work he only gives Kim a perfunctory kiss and says goodnight.

Kim is home and still upset about her date with Dave. An email from her “pen pal” Phil arrives to cheer her up. She responds in thanks and dashes of a rather long email filled with her hurt and confusion. Ten minutes later her computer bongs with a response. Phil offers sympathy and sends his phone number. They spend the rest of the night on the phone.

A couple of days later Dave calls Kim to apologize for being such a schmuck the other night. But Kim doesn’t check her answering machine for a few more days. You see she went out with Phil, twice. By the time she gets a chance to check her answering machine, and then her email, she is flying high on the “new relationship buzz” with Phil. Dave’s email follow-up to his apology rings hollow in her ears. Though Dave was honest about what was going on Phil has so carbonated her hormones that she just closes the email meaning to respond some other time. Besides she feels vaguely guilty about seeing Phil behind Dave’s back.

From Bloom County, No Doubt ©Copyrighted by Berkley Breathed.

From Bloom County, No Doubt ©Copyrighted by Berkley Breathed

 

Dave doesn’t think about calling Kim till it is too late. He has been busy with the redhead. But the redhead decides that Dave is too much of an intellectual for her (actually the word she uses is “Brainiac”) and gets back together with her ex-boyfriend the chopper mechanic.

Meanwhile Kim has spent the night at Phil’s. That morning while Phil is out getting them breakfast and a paper she hears a noise from his computer. In a fit of idle curiosity she wiggles the mouse. The screen turns back on and Phil’s inbox is displayed. Kim is horrified to see recent correspondence from about five other women. Looking a little closer she sees one sent to someone named BustyBlonde1105 went out at 3:30 AM, shortly after they both supposedly went to sleep last night. It seems Phil also wasn’t out of town on business this past week.

When Phil gets home Kim is nowhere in sight.

 

 

Back Somewhere Closer To My Point

I met someone online recently. A very attractive and interesting lady who is a bit burned out with online dating. She told me that she got in excess of 100 emails a day from men on match.com. That is more than enough to have a date with a different guy every night of the week plus a couple each day on the weekend. In the time she has been on match.com she’s gotten seven thousand emails.

Even with all of that to choose from she still didn’t make a connection. It is easy to say that there was something wrong with her. All too possible, but that misses the point: Too much lying, misrepresentation and guys that she just didn’t click with or that never called back. She was pretty much burned out.

Which reminds me of something a friend back in New Jersey said the other day that struck a chord

 

“A woman needs to dig thru a lot of dirt to find the diamonds.” They are in fact a woman’s best friend right? You just keep your sparkle, they’ll see you!

 

Seven thousand emails is a damn lot of dirt. But for all I know not uncommon.

The problem with trying to establish a relationship with someone you meet online are distractions. Distractions that are engineered by the web site. Distractions designed to generate traffic. Traffic means they can sell more ads. More ads mean more money. After all it is a business and the purpose of any business is to make money by providing goods and/or services. And you maximize your profits by making sure that you are at the top of your customer’s minds. Email is a great way to do this.

Joe and Mary didn’t have the distractions. They met by chance not through a business who’s goal it is to generate traffic on their web site. They didn’t get a daily email showing them pictures of people they might meet. they didn’t get emails from people responding to their ads. They didn’t get emails wondering where they have been, “hey how about we go get a cup of coffee?” In fact their friends soon found out that they were dating and stopped pushing blind dates.

So what do you do about all these distractions? What do you do when you get what you think are signals of disinterest. If you met online you go back online and look for someplace where the grass might be greener.

But if you are like our first couple, Joe and Mary, you don’t have that option. That is a good thing. You wait it out and put the work into making it a relationship instead of jumping ship the minute you see ice in the water

Online dating, for some of us, is almost the only way we meet someone. So there has to be some good in it. But you gotta know when to ignore the distractions and concentrate on why you are dating online in the first place: to find someone special. And to do that you have to be better at ignoring the distractions. Now all I have to do is follow my own advice.

 

Occasionally I do get feedback. A lawyer friend of mine has some interesting comments.

Originally posted before I added WordPress to this site. Published date is approximate.

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