I feel like the Y2K of my dating career is about to occur.
At midnight on Thursday, my age on all the dating websites where I have a profile will flip to the next number… effectively changing my own age settings and the responses I’ll get from men whose cutoff parameters for their ‘high end’ was 35… awesome. Who KNOWS what gloriously wretched profiles/messages I have ahead of me. What’s the dating equivalent of hunkering down in a bunker with a year’s supply of canned corned beef?
Am I officially eligible for “cougar” status now? Somehow I feel like I can no longer grasp at the deliciously adorable 30-year-old men without being a cyber Mrs. Robinson.
I feel the Walgreens reading glasses and subscription to CatFancy inching closer and closer…
So – as a tribute to the impending end of my 35th year, and as I pontificate over the last year’s foray into dot-com dating, I thought I’d use the opportunity to clear the bloggy air on a matter of some confusion.
Let the record show, that, while I write about the horrors and travails of the online dating community, it turns out…
I DO have good dates.
I DO meet sweet, thoughtful men.
I DO interact with intelligent and witty guys.
…and yes, I’ve met them all online.
You don’t hear about it often because it’s not as entertaining to talk about an evening of witty banter as it is to discuss options for fleeing the scene of an abysmal date. I know I would rather hear the running internal dialogue of a woman contemplating gnawing her own proverbial arm off than endure another moment of her self-indulgent, narcissistic date’s thoughts on…well…probably himself, than to hear about the nice guy I met who took me on a nice date and did everything right.
But, I want the record to reflect that there IS a good side to the online dating scene. There are smart, charming men on the ‘ol interwebs who are honestly looking for a legitimate long-term relationship with a quality woman. (Are you asleep yet? See what I mean? Not as riveting as ‘nothin’ but a tie’ dude…am I right?)
Now, I WILL stick by my assertion that for every decent guy on the dating scene (at least from my experience), there are easily 50 jerks.
And that may be a conservative ratio. If you think I’m exaggerating…just talk to any single woman in her 30’s or older and see if she doesn’t give you an overly enthusiastic “Amen.”
As you may guess, I have a theory about this…
I think that there are probably an equal number of good guys and bad guys out there to begin with. But, by the time you’re searching for a good one in your mid-thirties, sadly, many of the good ones have been weeded out by various methods. The good guys are like a herd of African Elk that have steadily and tragically been thinned out by the perils of their surroundings. The herd starts out strong, but the relationship predators have picked them off, one by one:
– Many have been snatched up by women who saw a good thing and locked it down. (married or in committed, monogamous relationships). No harm no foul there…
– Some have been so severely hurt and damaged by a relationship or divorce, that they aren’t fit to offer what a woman wants/needs in a relationship. These guys can go one of a few routes in the working out of their woundedness: They can retreat from the dating world (thus, taking themselves off the market), they can enter into more relationships inordinately needy and unhealthfully, or (the worst option), they can overcompensate for their own insecurities by being jerks or players.
– Some have been so conditioned by the equally damaged women out there – that they can just hunt for sex-only relationships, that they play the numbers game looking for vapidity rather than substance. These are the McSmarmy’s of the world. And, I am the first to admit that we have the McLoosey women to thank for proving that they probably CAN live a life of casual-sex only.
– Sadly (for me), some of them have discovered that they’re gay (hey – a lot can happen between your early 20’s and your mid 30’s+)
– And some have just become so disillusioned by the exact same situation in the women’s camp (the fact that there are so few decent ones left, and that most of the available women are cray cray), that they’ve simply given up hope.
This leaves very few decent guys out there who haven’t been winnowed out by love’s lions, wolves and bears (yes…I had to Google the natural enemies of Elk. There’s now officially a hunting site on my internet history…embarrassing…).
So, if I write about the bad ones WAY more often than the good ones, the reason is two-fold:
1. There simply aren’t THAT many good ones left… so, just statistically speaking, the number of posts of baddies vs. decent-ies is going to reflect the true-life ratios.
2. I doubt it would be nearly as entertaining…
BUT… Since –
a. I don’t want any of you thinking that I’m joining the “all men are pigs camp,” (which I’m not), and
b. I also don’t want you thinking that, because I write about so many failures, that I never have successful dates or exchanges with men (I had a reader tell me, “I’ve been following along with your musings on the blog and I’ve come to the conclusion that you either have the absolute worst luck of any girl in the entire world ever, or failing that, there’s got to be some subtle issue with [your] technique that must be tracked down and addressed. Or perhaps some combination of the above.”)
For these reasons, I thought I’d tell a couple stories about “the good guys.”
Almost all of the dates I actually GO on are good. I’d like to think this is due to my incredibly picky screening process.
But, the men I meet up with (you know… the ones who DON’T stand me up or show up at the club with a woman half my age…) are generally just lovely. Up until this point, there hasn’t been a ‘perfect match’ (yes, yes… settle down, I know there’s no such thing as a perfect match…but you know what I mean), but the guys have been intelligent, funny, engaging, respectful and charming. And several of these guys are so cool that, while we don’t end up in a romantic relationship, we’ve cultivated fun friendships.
Here are some snippets from recent dates:
– One guy goes to a church that I like to playfully make fun of. We’d been bantering about that topic as we got to know each other a bit in e-mailing/texting, so when we met for drinks, he brought me a gift. It was a cool pen with the name of that church on it, and he’d tied a ribbon in a bow around it. haha! – adorable.
– Another guy, while I was in the restroom, ordered a bottle of wine for us that he remembered I liked, from a conversation long before that. That kind of attention to what I’d talked about showed so much thoughtfulness.
– I’ve gotten to play darts, pool, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, ping pong and go bowling – all with fun guys who played up the competition with flirty trash-talking.
– On one date, we just hunkered down in front of the jukebox and played songs, talked about artists, laughed and basically deejayed for the entire restaurant/bar.
– For another date, when I texted to get the details, the guy texted back that we should meet at Taco Bell. I was…how shall we say… less-than-thrilled, but didn’t know how to respond without sounding like a total diva, so I asked why he chose that spot, to which he replied, “they have excellent chalupas.” I bit my tongue (which, for those of you who know me, know – is a feat in and of itself), and when I showed up, he told me that he was totally playing me, and took me to a lovely tapas restaurant where we got to sample all sorts of delicious Spanish cuisine. He remembered I was a foodie, and thought he’d have some fun messing with me.
– One guy won a second date with me over a Words-with-Friends bet (I don’t usually LOSE that game!?), and we’ve ended up becoming the best of friends. I can call him almost any time to take me 2-stepping.
– A man I’d gone out with a couple of times invited me over and made me the most delicious meal. He asked me all about my preferences and if I had any allergies and if I was in the mood for any particular ethnic cuisine… all very thoughtful. When I arrived, he (remembering I have an affection for mojitos (it’s on my profile)) made me blueberry mojito. Then he served up (just to make your mouths water): Wine & herb braised short-ribs with basil mashed potatoes (amazing), and for dessert, a Prosecco-poached peach tarte tatin with homemade lemon ice cream. Yes – that actually happened. (He MAY have gotten a smooch…but I never dine and tell)
– A particularly charming guy met me for drinks, then took me to one of his favorite live blues spots and spun me around the dance floor, despite the fact that we were almost the only people there.
And there are many more stories of dates gone well. No epic love stories YET, but I’ve acquired some of my best guy friends by spending time with these men I’ve discovered online.
So, yes – my dating life is full of funny stories, unfortunate misfires and some sizeable flops. And when you combine those with the photos and messages I receive online, we have AMPLE fodder for years of bloggable entertainment.
But there are also some sweet, thoughtful guys still out there too. And I figured it was about time I told you so.