Should I or shouldn’t I? Is this the time to give online dating another shot? Yes, I did venture into it a couple of years ago with, shall we say, less than stellar results, and I did not even get as far as the dating part. As a widow who was blessed to have experienced a long, loving marriage with the best the male species had to offer, I was not looking for a serious long-term relationship. I was looking for companionship and fun. Someone with whom to enjoy a concert, a play, dinner, great conversation, and hearty laughter. In my overactive imagination, I was hoping to find someone who still rode a motorcycle and could transport me back to the joy of my carefree youthful days of riding with the wind in my face and my body in tandem with every curve and turn of the bike. When reality woke me up and slapped in the head, I adjusted my expectation to looking for someone who still drove a car at night.
I dutifully and truthfully filled out my “profile”, listing the activities I enjoyed, my personal attributes, taste in music, political leaning, religion, as well as what I was looking for in a potential date.
This particular dating service must have had faulty algorithms (those mysterious mathematical rule things that seem to control everything you see on the Internet) or actual humans who pay no attention to the profiles they are reading. I have no other explanation for the “matches” they sent to my inbox.
I am passionate about my political beliefs and would prefer someone who shares similar ideals, but am not so close-minded that I need to date someone who agrees with me on every single issue. However, the matches that were sent to me were akin to pairing up a Southern Confederate slave owner with a Northern abolitionist during the Civil War. Not a lot of agreeing points.
The same with religion. At this stage of my life, I do not need to date someone who shares my religion. It’s not as if we are going to marry and be concerned about which religion we want our future kids to follow. I respect everyone’s right to practice their religion of choice, and I would expect the same from someone I dated. Simple enough. I thought. Apparently, this dating service did not see it that way. They sent me matches who were Hell-bent on preaching and converting anyone within reading distance.
But the worst was my potential dates’ requirements list. Honestly, this is something you would think I made up for your reading entertainment. I did not. What I am about to tell you was not the work of one aberrant oddball with an over-inflated ego. No, no. Many of the men posted a frighteningly similar list of requirements that their potential date MUST possess. She must be beautiful, THIN (That one was always emphasized.), well-groomed, have perfectly manicured nails, be well dressed, preferably in high heels, be perfectly coiffed, intelligent, independently wealthy, healthy, athletic, carry no emotional baggage, and not use men as free meal tickets. These old codgers also listed age requirements between 18 ( yes, 18! ) and 35. Based upon their profile pictures, none of them came close to the requirements they demanded in their potential dates. Um, neither did I, so that considerably reduced the pool of applicants to whom I could respond.
Although there were a few men who piqued my interest and to whom I thought I would seem acceptable, the truth is I plain old chickened out. I never contacted any of them. Even though online dating sites have replaced older, more conventional methods of meeting potential partners, and I personally know a couple who met online and have now been together happily for 4 years, I think I feared encountering a smooth-talking con man or a charming serial killer. Or perhaps, although lonely, I was simply not yet ready to date. Whatever the reason, that was the end of that.
I did not renew my membership, nor did I give it another thought until………………the COVID19 Pandemic hit. I thought– Hey, wait a minute, this could work to my advantage……online daters are Face Timing and Zooming one another, rather than meeting in person. I won’t have to worry about escaping from the grips of a serial killer after all. If the video conversation goes well, we can continue talking and plan another “virtual” date. If it’s obvious we’re not compatible, one of us can simply admit it and say goodbye. No public scenes, no awkward extrication moves, no embarrassment. Just…Bye. Click. Fade out.
With this safety net in mind and a little bit of confidence that although not rail-thin, gorgeous, athletic, or 18, I am cute enough to spur someone to inquire about me, I signed up for one month at a different online dating service than the previous one with the faulty algorithms.
One of the choices of answers to a question about my personality was…………..”I make lemonade out of lemons.” I clicked that one. Surely finding something positive about a worldwide pandemic fits that bill. Oh my, I just checked my email…. 6 inquiries. Stay tuned.