There are so many ways that separation and divorce are awful I don’t even know where to begin. It is the saddest, most painful thing I have ever been through but I just want to talk about a new level of horror I recently discovered…ONLINE DATING.
Finally, some comic relief in all of this.
Before I jump right in I should tell you a couple of things about myself…
- I personally know several people, my sister included, who have been in great relationships with people they met through online dating sites, so I am not completely cynical about them.
- I am seriously technologically challenged. It’s a miracle I was even able to get this blog post uploaded.
- I am young enough to embrace technology like cell phones and the Internet but old enough to not totally understand or trust things like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, nor do I have any desire to learn about them.
- I am going through a divorce after many years of marriage and I hated dating in my 20’s. I’m completely terrified of it now that I’m almost 40…
I mean, really, where do people meet each other? I’ve done freelance work, mostly from home, for the last decade, so meeting someone at work is out. I’ve got young kids so I’m rarely out past 7pm, so bars are out too. Almost all of my friends are married.
So in an effort to be more open to things I decided, on a whim in the middle of the night, to sign up for one of the more popular online dating sites. (I haven’t been sleeping well and this is where the Internet gets tricky…it’s way too available late at night when we are exhausted and not making the best decisions.)
I didn’t sign up expecting or even wanting to actually meet someone.
I just wanted to look around a little, see what all the fuss was about, maybe blog about it…
I uploaded the only 2 recent photos of myself that exist (both taken by my daughter) and I wrote 4 or 5 sentences about myself on my profile page. I didn’t answer most of the questions they ask you to include in your profile. Apparently, there is no need to do so because I started getting messages from men right away.
I should have done my research before I signed up but remember, it was very late, and I was tired. I thought it would be more like Facebook where you can kind of sneak around on the site and check things out and no one will know. But these online dating sites are WAY more in your face. You immediately see who has viewed your profile even if they don’t attempt contact. (Which means anyone YOU look at knows you checked them out too.) Strike 1.
I didn’t actually want contact with the people I was viewing!
When I signed up I had to include my email address on the form and suddenly my inbox was inundated with messages from singles cyberspace. I panicked that they could actually see my email address (I don’t think they could) but I made up a dummy address anyway and changed it in my settings immediately. For some reason I just thought I would see the emails if I went into my account on the site itself. It kind of freaked me out to see them showing up in my normal email every few minutes. Strike 2.
There are so many people on these sites it’s overwhelming. It’s just like on Zappos or Ebay where you type in what you want, narrow down the choices and suddenly 200 pairs of boots that fit your criteria pop up and you scroll through them, maybe save a couple in your cart. Except with people. Yuck!
Then you have to decide if you want to “wink” at someone or save them as a “favorite” or just plain email them. Ugh. That feels just as awkward as flirting in person, by the way. I couldn’t do it. I don’t want to pursue people online…or in real life for that matter. Call me old fashioned but I still want a guy to ask me out. A normal guy. Who actually meets me and then wants to ask me out.
And the usernames! Oh my gosh, they are so bad. Any Sex and the City fans reading this? Remember when Stanford started chatting online with a guy from one of these sites and his username was “BigTool4u”?
Well that is officially NOT the worst username I have heard now.
I’m sure I could have gone out with some of the men who emailed me but I immediately realized I’m not ready for that at all. I have no desire to go on a bunch of blind dates that my computer fixed me up with and try to connect with a complete stranger over coffee. I’M A MOM for crying out loud. All I kept thinking was stranger-danger, stranger-danger!
And here is where you’ll see how utterly inept I am when it comes to the nuances of today’s technology…I swear I’m not a stupid person. I used to read a lot of books, I have a college degree, but technology does not come naturally to me. Plus I get frustrated with it when something goes awry. I’m not one of those people who loves to figure out why my phone isn’t working right. I just want to throw it against the wall. So, as I was looking through some of the people who had viewed my profile and scrolling through person after person on my phone with a pit in my stomach, thinking about how much I don’t want to be doing this, I suddenly saw that when I thought was scrolling, I was actually “liking” everyone.
NOOOOOOOO!!! Strike 3.
I called my sister right away and asked her how I could undo that and she said, “How did you even do that?!”
I canceled my account immediately and decided I am not a good candidate for online dating.
And while I clearly may not be the best person to give dating advice, being as my marriage is in the toilet and I haven’t actually dated in 16 years or so, I am a fairly normal, well-adjusted woman and I feel compelled to let some of the men from these dating sites in on a couple of things…
1. Scowling in your profile picture doesn’t make you look tough or mysterious. It makes you look mean and creepy.
2. Put a damn shirt on for your profile picture! That’s wonderful if you have a nice enough body that you want to show it off but we don’t think that looks hot. We think it makes you look like a jackass.
3. For the love of God, don’t be holding a gun in your profile picture. I know this is Montana, I get it, you’re a hunter. But these sites are all about first impressions and a picture of a strange man staring at me and holding a gun doesn’t give me butterflies, it gives me chills.
4. And I shouldn’t need to say this but good grief, you need to have a profile picture! You know these sights are the exact venue where people do judge a book by its cover, right? How bad is it that you can’t throw a picture up there? Don’t over think it, just smile, put a shirt on and don’t hold a gun.
Good luck ladies.
Adrienne is a freelance photographer and has a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and eCornell. You can check out her blog at http://www.theveggiehouse.com