Friday, October 3, 2014

Embracing the Single... online dating.

So... now that the "cat is out of the bag" and I'm openly happily single... can we talk about dating?

Here's the thing. Ok, things.

1. I'm 40.  Part of me finds the thought of dating completely ridiculous. I have no objections at the moment to adopting a litter of kittens instead.  Except, I can't afford them. Really, money is the only thing preventing me from being the cat lady.  Well, and the litter box.

2. I married my high school sweetheart. We were together 22 mostly fantastic years of my life, 17 of them we were married. That's a huge chunk of my life. He was the only guy I ever dated before getting married.

3. When I did start dating again - it was someone I knew.  The thought of dating a complete stranger of who we have no common friends at all seriously freaks me out.

(Points 2 & 3 = I honestly don't even know "how" to date, as strange as that sounds. It really is a foreign concept to me...and I'd be much more comfortable dating someone that at least one of my friends knows well.)

4. My friends are very much enjoying my single life.  Possibly because I amuse them.  Mostly M because she gets told e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.  No really. Everything. There are no secrets there, if I've thought it, she knows. If it happened, the look in my eyes should be a sign that I'm already planning to tell her in my head.  If I start laughing at inappropriate times, it's because I know her reaction already and am figuring out the best way to tell her.

All of these things (well, minus number 4) make me very leery/anxious/nervous about dating... and looking into how I can adopt a litter of kittens...or puppies, I like dogs too ;-)

What I've learned is that when people know you are single, they like to send you articles like this:

7 Things I learned about love when my dad  started online dating  ...Ok, truth be told, I actually enjoyed this one.

and this ... 

10 of the weirdest dating sites online   ... I'm not completely opposed to the option, - who wouldn't love to have someone pay all of their bills?!?  I'm slightly freaked out by the majority of the ones on this list.

and this ...

Tips for Using Online Dating Sites... Who doesn't love the satire of the Onion?!?

Not only do they amuse me but the peak my curiosity into online dating sites and who is actually on them.  Which lead me to Google this: Online dating in Central Illinois.   This entertained and amused me to no end. Probably more than it should have.

I've always been told I'm an "old soul" and it's true. While I may be 40, I have little no tolerance for drama and games. I'm set in what I like, what I want and what I will seriously laugh at the thought of doing... right before not doing it.  That quickly rules out anyone under the age of 38 - and honestly I was being super nice looking even that young. I really need someone in my life who is established, past the partying, past the drama and well... grown up.  (*yes, I am sure there are guys out there under 38 that fit this as well, I just haven't met any yet).

So I type in that I'm a woman looking for a man between the ages of 38 and 50 on several of the sites I found through my Google search. Here's what I learned about the men on these sites in this age group (and of course, not all of them... but a significant majority).

1. No one owns a shirt. Seriously. 98% of the profile pictures the guys were shirtless. Now, I am not opposed to a shirtless guy but let's be real. For us to go out in public, you need to wear a shirt. To be around my family, my children and my friends - you need a shirt.  I need to know that you own one...and are capable of doing your own laundry.

2. While spelling isn't my strongest suit, it's also not my worst and well... there is this thing called "spell check" and maybe even more obvious, a little red line that appears under your misspelled words (it's a hint that it's incorrect.)  Captions that say "Lookin 4 Mrs. Perfict" ... I don't even know what to say about that...except "you spelled "Perfect" wrong".

3. There are 3 things men from Central Illinois love... Hunting, Fishing, and Camping.
While I don't mind hunting and you may be impressed to learn that at one time I used to hunt (and by "one time" I honestly mean "1 time") - I'm not going to ever clean or eat anything you kill.  My dad would but I won't. However, I do like that you can shoot a gun and/or bow and that would be most handy in a zombie apocalypse and it will stop you from being freaked out that I have guns (and know how to shoot them.)
Fishing - this is actually a perk to me because Parker loves to fish and I really don't have the patience for it. And I don't like fish. Or worms. Or fishing. But Parker does and I'd love to have someone to take him fishing preferably without me or while I wait in the car.  In the air conditioning. Away from bugs.
Which probably can help you guess how far you would get with me and Camping.  The only saving grace slight possibility is the fact that Allison loves camping - for that reason alone I might try. But it's not likely to happen, she can camp with my mom. I prefer to camp in a hotel. With air conditioning and no bugs.

Not impressed with what I was seeing and at the urging of a friend who swears by (as do many of my friends who found love there) and who isn't ready to accept that I'm I have no desire at all to date right now, I agreed to log into her account and see who's out there.

I altered her profile to match me... that's not so fun.  Mostly because every guy describes himself as "athletic and toned" (which is amusing when you look through their pictures) and is looking for a woman who is "slender, athletic or toned" - rarely are there guys looking for "no preference" or "curvy, a few extra pounds or heavyset" - most are looking for women about 10 years younger too.
I simply refused to answer that question about my body type.  I said  had 2 kids who live with me and I don't mind dating someone with kids (although, I'm not sold on that and would prefer their kids are older than mine or someone who doesn't have kids) but I do not want any more kids - not to mention I can't have anymore.  (I can have kittens though and puppies... by adoption for anyone who needed clarification on that!)

I filled it all out honestly.  I put I was looking for someone from 3 foot to 8 foot tall (because I don't care what your height is) , I have no preference on their hair color, eye color or body type (because it's who you are inside that matters to me).  I listed family, friends, animals, volunteering, comedy, music and movies as interests. I said I preferred a non smoker, I don't mind a social drinker, no preference on the ethnic group, and I don't mind if they have kids.Oh, and I checked that they needed to be single (why is this a choice?)  Then I let match work their magic.

The first profile that was a "98% match" ... I kid you not... well, this is the last 1/2 of his "about me" I deleted the top part about his name and where he lives.

I'm sorry, but what part of my "no preference on ethnicity" let you to believe this person and I would be compatible? No where did I check a box saying I am interested in a racist jerk. I really wanted to email him to tell him exactly what I thought of his personal description but chose to walk away. Really from the line "And I don't take any crap" and down is nothing but a huge red flag. And FYI... I'm not the one it sucks to be.  Smh. Seriously, what year is this?

The next match started out sounding great with talk about being open to getting to know other people, "not being judgmental on their appearance" but finding out who they are on the inside because that is who you ultimately fall in love with - who someone is on the inside.  Nice.  I like this perspective so I read on to the next few lines that said what he was looking for.  "A toned woman who spends more time at the gym than at the refrigerator, she must be athletic, toned and slim to show she cares for herself and her body." He has a lot of "high profile" friends and "appearance is important"  um. Wait. Didn't you just say people shouldn't be judgmental based on appearances? Where is the box to check for "hypocrite? "

To say I was not impressed with the first 2 "matches" is an understatement. Not being one to give up (translation: one who is extremely curious) I keep looking.  Actually the other 10 "matches" for the day were pretty good.  I enjoyed reading about each of them, looking through their pictures and actually thought for a moment or two that dating would be fun. I even searched "woman looking for women" to be sure I wasn't overlooking anyone.

Then panic set in and  I remembered they were all complete strangers, we have no common friends (well, I don't know that for sure - I don't know their names - it's not as easy as Facebook to see our common link!) and a slight panic attack occurred in at the thought of meeting someone I don't know in person and - well, dying. You know, because anyone with an online profile is certainly out to kill me. Not that I'm anxious or paranoid or anything.  ;-)

The other reality of it was I knew in my heart that if I wrote a profile about myself it wouldn't matter how toned my body was (although it's totally not even close to toned, lol) or how beautiful I may be on the outside - I come as a package deal.  And my package is unique and going to be seen by most as an impassible obstacle. I'm not willing to invest time and certainly not heart to anyone who wouldn't be accepting and supportive of the entire package. I'm still in the finding peace process, I'm simply not sure I am ready for any of this.

I'm content.  I'm busy.  I'm happy. And life is very uncomplicated at the moment. I have incredible focus.  I like that.  Shaving my legs is optional. Sleeping diagonally across the bed with Sully is the best. And having complete control over everything in my house: the temperature, when I take the trash out, if I clean (that was funny), or cook or paint my walls pink.... they are my decisions.  I like that. I have all the time in the world for my kids without distraction and when they are not with me, I can do whatever I'd like or visit who ever I want without questions or guilt. It's nice to be able to show my daughter how a woman can be strong and independent and happy.  I'm rather proud of that.

Maybe one day I'll show her that her mom is capable of falling in love too... just not today.

And for your entertainment... if I can stay awake long enough - I'll write one more blog of what my profile would look like if I were to join, I'm positive it will be amusingly enlightening! I did!  It's here.

And for anyone looking to build a dating website... I would find it extremely helpful if people listed all of their friends and family so that I can see if we know any of the same people - I would find that a bit more comforting ;-)

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