To the men of online dating

English: Hugh Jackman at the Sydney premiere f... English: Hugh Jackman at the Sydney premiere for Real Steel in September 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Got it, Bucko? I. Don’t. Want. To. Be. Your. Everything.

Or should I say, everything you want me to be.

Online dating is not a fave of mine (see here and here). However, as many of you know, I was coaxed into joining a couple of sites by an editor who asked me to write an article on it.

I ranted and raved in this very blog about how I was not an online dater. Still am not much of one. Key word: much. Yes, I’ve remained on the sites. Sheepish about it but I’m realizing that if you have a career as a single mother and you’re raising two boys—and you would like occasionally to have a clean house, weed-free yard and maybe even read a few pages of a good book now and then—you need to meet people somewhere. The disco in my living room just isn’t cutting it. And unless I want to marry the gas meter man (I don’t), I need to be out in the world of grownups in a place that does not involve sitting at a bar and reliving my twenties.

I’ve had a few lovely dates. I’ll leave it at that. Nothing to write home about. So why the gritted teeth? The profiles, that’s why.

It’s Facebook on steroids, folks. Either he is years older than his photo or pounds more. Every single man out there seems to water or snow ski every weekend, jet off to the south of France on a monthly basis, dive in the Caymans regularly—and they do all this while training for the Ironman. At least in theory.

All of them want intelligence, thoughtfulness, adventure, fitness, back rubs and a great sense of humor. Sure, honey—and when I’m done getting up at 5 a.m. to run 10 miles with you every day, handling a full day’s work at my “other” job (you know, the one that pays the bills), getting buff at the gym and pretty at the spa, I’ll whip up a fab dinner with the gourmet cooking skills you require and then whisk you off to bed because of course I still have energy to spare. Oh, I guess I should fit my kids in there somewhere, eh?

Do any of these men ever just eat oatmeal at the breakfast table, take the kids to school, work and come home tired? Not that anyone wants that as a steady diet—but please. You can’t have it all. Didn’t your divorce or your 40-some years of unmarried life teach you that?

I love interesting people. I love to be interesting. I love traveling and vacations and gourmet meals cooked for me. I love it all. I want it all. But even Hugh Jackman is not all that at home, ladies and gentlemen.

I hear he’s no handyman and sucks at making coffee. I’m betting he’d be brave enough to put that in a profile.

Just ask his wife. The one he’s been married to for 17 years. The one he proposed to because they were “best mates” or, as we say in the States, best friends.

And the best part? She is not drop-dead gorgeous with six-pack abs. You, supermen, would have passed her up. And Hugh would still have scooped her up.

My teeth are still gritted. I can’t even be everything I want me to be.

So you, dear sir? You will have to wait. Or be more enlightened.

What’s that you say? That’s a tall order?

You’ve got to be kidding me.


38 Comments Add yours

  1. I have to chuckle because a girlfriend of mine is on a dating website now, going through this same thing. She tells me about this or that description or photo. What is it about all the guys whose picture has them on a motorcycle? For a long time, she didn’t have a picture of herself up. She wanted to have a man be interested in her for her personality, not how she looks. However, several days ago, after I offered to take a portrait photo of her, she took me up on it. It was fun. She’s straight forward and simple, and lives in the country- and her picture reflects that. It looks like her, not some retouched glamour shot. So glad I’m not in her position. And so happy with how her photo came out.

    1. candidkay says:

      Kudos to her for her bravery! And, yes, the motorcycle shots stymie me, too. I’m thinking they equate it with youth and testosterone. I equate it mainly with midlife crisis:)

      1. Laurel Bern says:

        And also the ones holding up a big fish! See my big fish? Wanna date me? lol BTW, match dot CON, generally sends me “matches” that are the LAST person I would go on a date with. And what’s with all the dudes wanting to date someone 20 years younger than they are? and they ain’t no oil painting, either. If a woman did that, they’d call her a cougar. Just lots of disordered freaks on that sight. Its the ones who say they don’t want any “drama.” hahaha! Those are the ones who provoke it! Looking for “passion and chemistry” means that they want a F-buddy. I could go on and on…

      2. Danny Johnson says:

        To those critical of on line dating: At 65, retired 2 years here’s my input. For 45 years I was a good husband, father and provider. I did whatever I had to do to provide for my family. I worked jobs I hated, I didn’t buy the things I wanted. I did whatever I had to do to make sure my family was provided for. Two years ago they discovered a life threatening heart condition which forced me into retirement. It also made me really look at my life. My children are raised and have kids of their own. While not rich I have all I really need. I also figure I’ve got ten good years left. Now it’s my turn. I bought that motorcycle I always wanted. I bought a big motor home so I could go to the festivals and see the things I never saw. Now it’s my turn. Why on line dating? It’s the only game in town. The women dream that George Clooney is on line and desperately looking for them. He’s not.The biggest shortage I find? Genuinely happy people living happy lives. I’d like to find someone to share my happiness with but I can be quite happy alone. Sharing is better though. Relive my youth? No way. Enjoy every day that I live finally doing what I want? Absolutely.

  2. Danny Johnson says:

    Handsome, rich, charming and desperately looking for you to make his life complete. The dream of on line dating.

    1. candidkay says:

      Except, Danny, that I think many of us (men and women) don’t want someone that we can complete. I want someone who is complete and likes his life–but realizes a partner makes it all the better. I think the online scene can jade you because a lot of people who think this way don’t venture online . . . but they’re out there.

      1. Danny Johnson says:

        I absolutely agree with you. I see so many young people especially dreaming that “someone” will come along and make their lives perfect. When that doesn’t happen they are angry and disappointed. Good relationships are a team effort. Both working together to achieve agreed upon goals while complimenting each others strengths and weaknesses.

  3. Danny Johnson says:

    What is so ironic is that many of us don’t want to be in the dating pool. We’d honestly like to build a solid loving relationship and have fun with a “soul mate” while not cheating with other women. Things that most women claim to want. Unfortunately the fantasy of being whisked off by George Clooney on his yacht is far more attractive than working together to make a vegetable garden.

  4. Laurel Bern says:

    This one made me laugh so hard! (through the tears of the one I read before this) brilliant and so true!

    “Every single man out there seems to water or snow ski every weekend, jet off to the south of France on a monthly basis, dive in the Caymans regularly—and they do all this while training for the Ironman”

    hahahahahaha!!! yeah… wutup with that? I have a clause on my profile that says, “if your marriage broke up because you were the one who was cheating… please kindly move on to the next bimbo…” It keeps at least 99% of them away! lol Through Chump Lady I discovered that there ARE men who were the ones who were cheated on and are just as devastated. Where are these dudes? I want a real man. A real man wouldn’t even dream of hurting the woman he loves so dearly. But these men can’t really love. Not a woman, at least. They are misogynists… And the only way a misogynist can hurt a woman is to make her fall in love with him first…

    1. Laurel Bern says:

      ps: I adore Hugh Jackman!!! THAT is a real man through and through! and so effin handsome too!!!

  5. andmorefood says:

    I’m really loving these posts! you rant very eloquently.

    and hugh jackman is one pretty man – but everytime I see him now I’m reminded of that stint he did on broadway that seemed a little too -ahem- happy, and then I feel like I should bring him out for shopping instead of a date!

  6. mike in san pedro says:

    Good grins, candidkay. I’d say I feel your pain, but I don’t since online dating is a waste of time for most men given the 3 to 1 male to female ratio. Nice odds for the lotto. Dating? Not so much if you are a man.
    As a female colleague of mine said, “Dating is hard work.” Yep. Helps to keep expectations low. Real low.

    1. candidkay says:

      Hard not to get cyncial, Mike–but I try not to be. I think the hard shell that creates doesn’t help either.

    2. Danny Johnson says:

      There’s an old saying that may be appropriate here: ” When do you play in a crooked poker game? When it’s the only game in town”. I think that phrase applies to on line dating also. Is Ms. Perfect going to just show up at my door? Probably not. That means I have to find her. I still believe she’s out there somewhere. Are the odds against me? Very definitely. Have I given up yet? Not yet and I hope I don’t become so discouraged that I do.

  7. Love the post and completely agree. It is a sad reflection of the society we live in today. Appearances first, substance later. 😦

    1. candidkay says:

      And yet, how many marriages are created and/or sustained based solely on appearances? Certainly not the successful ones. I wonder if there are any cultures out there that get it right or if this is just a basic human thing . . .

      1. jbl05 says:

        Basic human thing… if you believe in the psychobiological explanations around mating; and if you realize that humans are “cognitive mizers”.
        Psychobiological explanation: men and women do what they are instinctively wired to do — procreate to propagate the species. Men assess via looks (and their brains are set up to do this) for a suitable mate to carry their genetic code into the next generation. Women assess around status (and fMRI supports this thinking pattern) for a suitable mate to provide/protect them while they rear their young to adulthood.
        Cognitive mizers: humans make assumptions, stereotypes, and utilize biases and heuristics in order to reach conclusions quickly because our brains are optimized to take very little time deliberating, and can go directly to execution. And when we don’t, we suffer “analysis paralysis”, and the faster/wiser specimin gets the prize instead.
        Success comes from finding an optimum channel through all this, usually in spite of ourselves, not because of.
        Now to re-word your question: how many meaningful relationships are created based solely on appearances? Probably none.

      2. Danny Johnson says:

        I look at societies where the parents choose their children’s mates and wonder if they are right and we are wrong. I look at who my oldest married and knew from the beginning that it was a disaster. I was right.
        The reverse could even apply. I’ve actually been introduced to several nice women by my adult children. It’s rather reassuring that they have been “screened” and “approved”.

  8. jbl05 says:

    I don’t want to fall “in love”… and I said as much in my online profile. WYSIWYG. Faults and all. I don’t post photos, I tell men if they want to see a photo of me, contact me and convince me why I should send it. Funny thing, I get tons of contacts. Challenge, I suppose. I scroll right past the ones who are looking for a “good Christian woman”, or “traditional”, or “soulmate”. No LTRs for me, either. I’m all done with marriage, have no need for it, mine have never worked out, and I’ve always been on the losing side in the divorce too. And no, I’m not the least bit interested in doing any soul-searching to “fix” whatever is “wrong” with me that I can’t succeed at marriage.
    Given up? Not me… I’m having the time of my life. The man pays for all dates — when it gets to the point where he starts expecting me to split expenses, then it’s gone too far. Sorry, dude, you’re out. Tell me you love me: we’re done. I get treated super SUPER well, again and again. Better than I was ever treated when I was a wife, that’s for darn sure.
    I love online dating — lots to pick from, and since I’m not looking for a soulmate, lover, husband, what-not… all I’m looking for is your next message, or our next date… I don’t have to impose super strict standards. I’m not going to marry you or even live with you — so I can enjoy you exactly as you are. And under those circumstances, I have found that most men are quite delightful, in a precious sort of way. And they all seem to truly enjoy my company, too (nope, not sex). Don’t mean to break their hearts, but they do tend to “fall in love” with me a lot, and then I have to dump them. I kind of feel sorry for the men of online dating — they are all out there trying so darn hard, they really are, and adorably clueless.

    1. mike in san pedro says:

      Girl is participating in that fishing program — Catch and Release.
      She sounds like a real catch herself. Uh, yeah . . . sure.

      1. jbl05 says:

        Ha ha — Nope, I am no catch at all. And I don’t want to “be caught”. That’s the entire point. Thing is — I am totally up-front and transparent about that from the get-go.
        The cool part about that attitude is — now that I’m not looking for a “soulmate” and I’m not trying to become anyone’s “catch”, I can relax and truly enjoy the men I date. As people. As flawed, sure, but so what — aren’t we all? I can focus on what is truly wonderful about them. Once we’ve established that the man is not a serial killer or a sociopathic liar, everything else becomes trivial. Looks, income, status, all that stuff that we claim is superficial but then use as criteria anyway… it’s all gone. We just become two people who enjoy each other’s company for a couple of hours. That’s it. No further agenda than that.
        It’s probably not for everyone… but it works for me.

    2. candidkay says:

      Careful, there. I think you went from “I do my own thing” (which is great) to condescension. At a base level, I think we all need to respect each other–and what’s not for you, you walk away from. I’m sure there are plenty of men out there who enjoy your arrangement–it’s just not my cup o’ joe . . .

      1. jbl05 says:

        Oh… no condescension intended at all. Quite the opposite! I find it very easy to focus on the positive and joyful aspects of a man as a real live human being. Not a potential mate, or anything else where I am measuring him against some standard. Simply “as is”.
        The only thing that isn’t “for me” (other than the aforementioned serial killer/sociopath) is someone who thinks they are “falling in love” with me. Yes, I walk away from that.
        But to that point — guys and gals both — here is my personal opinion (for what it’s worth, and I’ll tell ya right now, it’s not worth much): men tend to “fall in love” with me precisely because I accept them exactly as they are. It probably isn’t actually *me* they are in love with, per se. My guess is, they are actually just loving the fact that for once, a woman isn’t measuring them against an impossible standard. Kind of like the original point in your post, CandidKay, only with the genders reversed. Maybe there is too much judgment (and too little compassion and respect) on both sides of the gender-fence.

    3. Danny Johnson says:

      Unfortunately I find that you are more the rule than the exception. On line dating is a terrible alternative. It compares to answering on line job postings. Unfortunately it’s often the only alternative.

      1. candidkay says:

        Hi, Danny–Did you mean I’m more the exception than the rule?

  9. Much to think about here – especially how profiles turn the organic process of finding a mate into a sales pitch. it’s a shame that levels of competition are such online that people have begun to lie, using very out of dates photos, claiming talents they wished they had!

    1. candidkay says:

      And it’s a shame that we feel the need to package ourselves. I don’t need an Ironman–wouldn’t want one because of his intense focus on one thing–but the online thing doesn’t allow us to slowly get to know the whole package. We screen with the flip of a pic, an e-mail, a phone call. Just doesn’t seem to do justice to basic human interaction.

      1. mike in san pedro says:

        Aw, come on, kay. You mean those shirtless photos of the dude standing next to his Porsche don’t impress? Really? I’ll never understand women.

      2. Danny Johnson says:

        On that we can agree. I do however stand by my statement that dating and finding mr/ms right is identical to a job search and often just as frustrating.

  10. Anne says:

    You hit the nail on the head – men want it all & more & are more interested in having fun on line than serious relationships & as when they were younger, not afraid to mislead women on their true story. I know woman do this too but I believe there are more sincere honest woman on line than there are men.

  11. says:


    One of these days we should meet out here in Lombard and discuss.  You should see what the women write!  No way the men can be worse.  We can trade stories.  I demand equal time on your blog!


    1. candidkay says:

      I’m sure the women rival the men . . . I don’t think it’s a gender thing so much as, unfortunately, a stupid human thing . . .

  12. Peeksi says:

    Love this entry! It’s about the way you see someone…the spark and connection, not the way the algorithms stack you up.

    1. candidkay says:

      Absolutely! And seeing them in a natural way, not a contrived way in which they strive to impress. Some of the most attractive men I know are not so in photos–it’s what’s inside and genuine that makes them that way . . .

      1. Peeksi says:

        I completely agree. I’m not going to sell you anything, but that’s why I have been working 2 years on the launch of a new dating website that does exactly that. It’s based on the natural process of falling in love, not a program picking your “match.” Best of wishes to you!

      2. Danny Johnson says:

        Yet how many are willing to put forth the time and effort to actually look inside? Dinner at The Hilton, A Porsche and looks that make your friends envious is more the rule than the exception.

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