A few people have criticized me for being in the world of online dating… saying that it’s a lost cause/dead end. And a few thoughts go through my mind. First – do you think that’s all I’m doing in my search for love? C’mon… But, secondly – why is the online dating scene such a dead end, when it’s at LEAST one step up from bar hopping? I mean, at least with online sites, I’m able to filter potential partners with some of my desired traits, right?
So…where do you GO to look for love? This is one of THE questions for us on the single scene. And if you ask around, you’ll get LOTS of opinions. Almost all of those from married or ‘taken’ friends. The same ones who apparently have NO single friends left to set you up with…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I guess when choosing your “pool,” you have to consider your end-game goal. So, for instance, I know I want a guy who has a real faith in God, so… where would be the logical place to meet him? That’s right –
– Church. This is what EVERYONE tells me. “Go to church. You’ll meet a good man there.” (you should’ve read that in a grandmotherly, yet slightly condescending tone).
But this is easier said than done!
Look – I already GO to church every week. It’s important, no – central to me – to be part of a faith community. And, no, I do not go to church to hunt for men. But, I do welcome the opportunity to find a great guy in this venue. The problem is…how? I mean..what’s the protocol here? Am I supposed to hand out my number during the greeting time? Can we set up a margarita bar in the lobby? Perhaps we can have a mid-week dinner, Bible Study and speed dating event? (and I am SO not kidding. I would go to this…let the record so reflect).
So, if church isn’t panning out, what are my other other options?
– Set-ups by mutual friends who know you well? Awesome idea. For me… this has happened ONCE. Yup. I’m one of the friendliest people I know, and yet – none of my friends know of anyone to match me up with. I don’t know if this is because they just don’t interface with single men my age? Or if they know how neurotically picky I am and don’t dare unleash me on anyone they care about? Either way… the magic isn’t happening…
– The bar scene. Everyone refers to this as if it’s an actual place. I should open a bar and call it “The Bar Scene.” Or maybe it’s more of a philosophical archetype?… I digress… People are constantly saying they don’t want to meet the “kind of people” you meet at bars. Really? I mean… if I’M a quality single woman and I go to bars… then, doesn’t it stand to reason that I may have a male counterpart out there who does also? Perhaps I should clarify the kind of ‘bars’ I’m talking about… I think people must picture me walking into some saloon-esque dive in the seediest part of town where the only people there are the unbathed guys who’ve been drinking since 10:00am, some rogue gang members and meth-heads, and me – slamming my entitled fist on the bar while demanding, “gimme the hard stuff! Line ‘em up and keep ‘em comin’!”… Unless you call a wine flight in Upper Kirby the ‘seedy’ part of town, that’s not my thing. No, I’m talking about wine bars or Happy Hour at the tons of fun restaurants Houston offers up, or the dance club/bars where I salsa or 2-step. Why is it so doubtful that there could be any good guys here?
And yet… I haven’t found any.
– Happenstance meetings. This is the way it works in romantic comedies, right? Two people shopping in the produce section… a chance tumbling of a red pepper, he hands it to her, she blushes…. Cut to: video montage of their love story set to a Taylor Swift song. This sounds lovely. But, guess what… even at Club Kroger (which is the name I’ve affectionately assigned to the Kroger in the Heights – because it is always teeming with handsome single men), this never happens. I have even taken the first step and started up light conversation with men. Last week I had to hunt forever to find ripe avocados, so when I saw a cute preppy guy (who, I could just TELL loved Jesus…) looking in vain for a ripe one, I said, “uh oh, I think I got all the good ones…sorry. But, hey, guacamole calls…” He smiled, shrugged, and then went on his merry way. Sigh…
I am always ready for my cinematically promised run-in… wherever I go. And, I’m not shy. I will give my card to someone if we strike up a conversation… but I can’t do this alone…the men have to participate!
– Speed Dating or Singles “Events.” Ok, again… RomComs have done us WrongCom. You remember that scene in Hitch at the end where the two women are speed dating? There’s a plethora of handsome, well-dressed, well-spoken men there – a veritable smorgasbord of dating opportunity. Wanna know what that looks like in the real world? I’ll tell you.
Last weekend, I dragged one of my single girlfriends to a speed dating mixer event (admittedly I bought my ticket through Living Social… no way I’m shelling out $35 for what could possibly be an hour of disaster or disappointment).
We got there (it was held at a nice tapas restaurant in MidTown) and filled out the paperwork, got a drink and soon were off and running. All the women sat at numbered tables in a line and the men sat across from us, each with our papers to write notes, indicate which ones we liked, etc. (I’ve scanned mine for your vicarious entertainment). Each man stayed for 5 minutes and then they’d switch and move to the next woman.
I will tell you this – I was on fire. I was witty, friendly, charismatic without being intimidating… I flashed my winning smile at the bevvy of lame jokes I heard. I answered the boring questions with grace. I even listened with rapt attention as one guy went into an unfortunate level of detail about his recent toe surgery. “I mean…it was really gross. They had to go back in because the infection was so deep….” (I’ll spare you the rest). But, really? He had FIVE. MINUTES. Five minutes!! And he spent at least 2.25 on the toe surgery…yum.
The problem was that the majority of the men there didn’t speak English as their first language (I’m putting this mildly…you can ask my friend…). A few were even new to the country. Everyone was friendly, but I felt like I was giving immigration interviews, not searching for the perfect romantic partner.
But…there was one guy. Let’s put it this way: a divinely appointed sunbeam might as well have shined on him as all the women in the room heard the angelic chorus, “Aaaaah…” He was handsome, intelligent, funny, well-traveled, had a good job and was a great conversationalist. He was also the object of attention from every woman there. When he came to my “station,” we exchanged witty banter, we laughed, connected, …it was dreamy (of COURSE I’m exaggerating a little bit…it’s more amusing that way). Afterwards, he sat across from my friend and I and we talked some more, he asked for my card, …things were going great. Until I dropped two bombs on him. I can’t be sure which one was the final blow – that made the light in his eyes snuff out – the fact that I have kids, or the fact that I’m “religious.” I think he visibly rolled his eyes when I mentioned that one… You know that moment when you can hear the record scratching followed by a disillusioned “womp womp womp…?” Yeah….
So, he quickly changed his strategy and struck up conversation with the pretty girl at the table next to us, practically stretching his body in front of us to get her attention. We took the cue and left.
The lady in charge told us that we’d hear from anyone who marked on their sheets that they were interested. You know how many I heard from? Zero.
And that brings me back to online dating.
Is it really so crazy that I’d look for a man in a place that’s full of men – where they’ve already given me more information than I can get at ANY of the above spots? Before I ever interact with a guy, I already know if he can use proper punctuation, what he deems significant enough to put in his profile, his age, what part of town he lives in, his spiritual preferences, and how he looks. Seems like a decent starting point to me…?