I was ready.
I mean it, ready.
Two years out of a divorce. Lessons learned. Progress made. Ready to try to fit someone into this crazy life.
If you know me, you know I hate online dating. I’ve been clear about that already.
But I also know that with a schedule and locale like mine, meeting anyone besides small children, teens and their married parents gets a bit tough. These tend to be the people by whom I am surrounded.
And given that none of those folks are going to keep me warm at night and put up with me into old age on a one-to-one basis, I figured I had best cast my net a bit wider.
If I could force each of my friends to round up one suitable suitor and present him to me, I certainly would. Chances for a great match are pretty good that way. Life, alas, does not work that way. Most of us get married and stay that way into our middle age.
Sans coercion of friends far and wide, online dating seemed the logical route.
I was loath to try it again but promised myself I was in a different place and would keep an open mind.
Which I did. Until about 12 hours in.
When I burst into tears.
My friends tell me I’m nuts. I burst into tears because I was overwhelmed by the response to my profile. They think the flurry should make me happy. And it would. If these men were anything remotely close to those I love and respect.
Out of the many men that reached out, I saw one that seemed like he might be a kindred spirit.
One. Who faved me and then went radio silent after I emailed him.
One out of . . . well, a lot. Just not a lot who seem to run in my circles. Who seem to have much in common with me other than the fact that they would like to have a love life again.
Do they just look at the photos? And not read the clues in my profile?
I’m thinking so, as I get headlines from them that speak only to what they like about the way I look.
Now before you tell me I’m being too picky, listen up Bucko.
I just know some things at this point in my life.
Like . . .
If you’re wearing a gold chain or flashy ring of any sort, we will not have great, intelligent, engaged conversation. If, at the end of that chain, is a medallion depicting a mermaid, an Italian horn, a money symbol or an astrological sign, we won’t have any conversation at all.
If you are on a motorcycle with beer or whiskey bottle in hand in your pic, we will not meet. Not even virtually. I respect your right to burn rubber—just nowhere near me. “Two on a hog” is not my Saturday afternoon motto. And I hung up my chaps after a recent horseback riding stint in California.
If you live states away, why are you contacting me? I can barely find time for Friday night wine or Sunday AM coffee with someone local, let alone an interstate commute.
If you like to dress up like a pro football player every time you watch your team play, we probably will not have a lot in common. I do not wear a tutu when seeing Martha Graham’s old-school takes.
If one more of you tells me you just want a woman who is “fun” to “go on an adventure” with you, I will gag. So many of you want to rediscover the youth you lost and you’re quite sure your ex-wife stole it from you. Let me tell you something—she doesn’t have it. And my job in life right now is to raise two young men and make a living. Making you feel young again is not on my chore list. Having fun together? That’s ok. Helping you feel anything but middle-aged? Not so much. Newsflash: we are middle aged. Act like it.
I like college degrees and have an advanced one. Chances are, if you work in a factory on the night shift, we will not have a lot in common. That’s not snobbery; it’s just common sense.
I like a modicum of success. That can mean you’re a wealthy investment banker or a rock star teacher. But show me you figured something out.
I don’t like cutesy comments about women who wear capri pants or carry an extra 10 pounds. You’re talking about some of my best friends there. They are married to men who seem to care less about the pounds and capri pants than more important things.
And now, after that bout of crankiness, here’s what the tears came down to: most of these men make me miss my ex.
There. I said it.
Not my ex in his last few years with me. But my ex as I fell in love with him.
Kind. Caring. Intelligent. Loved boxing and a good cigar but also art museums and classical music. Looked delightfully nerdy and handsome all at once when reading a good book with his specs on. Brought me flowers and appreciated my fledgling attempts at gourmet meals. Talked politics and nonsense with me.
Damn. I miss him. Truthfully, I’d give anything to go back and give us both advice on how to navigate the rapids we did not know we would hit.
But, I cannot.
But please, gentlemen—could at least a couple of you give him a run for his money?
Who knew a new beginning would bring back old sadness? I held out so much hope before facing the online onslaught.
It’s about a message to the universe, I guess. Hey, I’m here. I’m going to dinner parties solo. Going to parent nights solo. Being the third wheel cheerfully. And now, doing this God-awful online cattle call—well, at least sort of. Do you see I’ve put some skin in the game?
Meet me halfway, Universe. Just not on a Harley with any bling. And let’s let the word “adventure” rest for a bit.
I’ve had my fill of those for a while.