The World of Online Dating

A Singles by the Bay Travel Club member offers an interesting take on her experience with online dating:

“Hello beautiful, you look real and great to me”. That was how the message to me began. I looked at the screen with an immediate thought, “I look real? What does that mean?”

At the urging of my therapist, my mother and several friends I have spent the better part of the last 4 years exploring my online dating options. My mother was acutely disappointed that I remained single. I had a pretty diverse social life so it wasn’t for a lack of effort on my part. One night she called, and abruptly tells me, “I saw a commercial on TV where you can go on the computer and they find you a boyfriend”. I blinked, my mouth opening and closing like a fish for what seemed like a Matrix moment.

“Mom,” I began carefully, “I think that’s still illegal and frankly I don’t think I’m at that point yet to purchase male company.” Turns out she was talking about eHarmony where the questions are designed to match people based on core traits and values, characteristics, beliefs, values, and emotions. I quickly said no, and avoided her persistent suggestion for several more months. It seemed that my mother, my friends and everyone else were in on the same conspiracy so I relented and signed up for eHarmony. When I had dutifully answered all 250+ questions I pushed my little button to see what magical partner it produced for me!

I waited ever so patiently until, at long last the dating site revealed – “We’re sorry but there is no match for you.”

Here’s where my balloon deflated quite dramatically. Even the damn computer couldn’t find a match for me! My mom didn’t believe it, said I must have answered the questions wrong even though I explained it wasn’t a test to get a right answer. I went back to eHarmony four more times over an 8-year period. Each time changing up answers and re thinking my position on key items to be “more open” as my friends and family suggested. Four more times the match making site told me “We’re sorry but there is no match for you.” Clearly they weren’t making it very easy for me, or I was doomed to spend eternity wandering solo like David Banner.

I’ve had profiles on,,, and OK Cupid. At the urging of my therapist (who insisted that I really wasn’t trying) I searched the sites on a regular basis and emailed/messaged/winked at least 10 guys that I found interesting. I specifically recall a gentleman who emailed me that my lips were so nice and wouldn’t it be great to come up to where he was (3 hours away) so we could try out my mouth??? He was kind enough to mention that he was 46, unemployed, living at home with his mother, and would drive down to where I was but his license had been revoked.  Oh how could I resist such charm? Somehow I managed. Do the math, 10 guys every week for almost 5 years. That’s a lot of guys. Out of that, I got one date, a proposal to join a polyamorous relationship and several short-term propositions.

Online dating isn’t for me. I know there are many success stories but I find that it’s too easy to be only part of you, or to be someone completely different. I didn’t understand some of the user names these guys chose and how I was supposed to interpret what kind of guy Pepelepoo, Dorkapontamus, MustacheRodeo, MiniSirloinBurga, easybutruff, or Muttmule really was? Their profiles claimed sensitive, intelligent men, who were looking for a woman they could laugh with, snuggle with and put on a pedestal. Their pictures were with fluffy dogs, holding ski equipment. Pouting, gazing sensitively, or the intense, brooding gaze at the camera which often made me wonder if I’d end up on the back of a milk carton after meeting them.

I eliminated all of my profiles, forgot about OKCupid, which is where the last message generated. The last couple of weeks I’ve decided to engage a couple of guys in conversation. They are actually having a conversation so I’m already encouraged. The one exception is Mr. M. His quick messages were benign until he asked if I liked younger men. Mr M is 26, and I’m over 40. I’m not naïve enough to believe Mr M is looking for a long-term relationship from me, the question is, am I looking for a casual fling? The answer would be no, its not what I was ever looking for. I don’t think I was ever anticipating a soul mate, or true love but I hoped to find someone I had things in common with. Someone who I could enjoy a good debate, a dinner, a weekend, and who would indulge my strange desire for pie in odd moments.

In the movie “Must Love Dogs” John Cusack’s character Jake is talking about someone named Sarah (Diane Lane) that he met for dinner “Charlie, you should have seen this girl. She’s shy, she’s fragile, she’s self-conscious, she has no idea how beautiful she is, she’s a mess, it’s fantastic, the evening didn’t end up great, but there were moments in there… where we were completely and utterly ourselves, I was completely psychotic, but she was completely lovely”. Sure it’s a movie with an online dating backdrop, but there is so much truth in those words. I guess that’s what I hoped to find by posting profile after profile, winking, messaging and emailing week after week. A “Jake” who would see how imperfect I am but find the loveliness in it. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll give OKCupid, but to please my mother and my therapist, it can’t hurt to keep trying a bit longer.

While online dating may be a struggle and let down for some, there may be a better way to meet people: on vacation! The best part of traveling solo with a singles travel club is how laid back and easy it can be. You get to see people for who they are; up front and personal. There is none of the fake profiles & personalities that can flood the online dating world. Going on a group trip with other singles is a great way to let go of your inhibitions and maybe even find love! After all, your relaxed and on vacation anyway!

By stevejuba

Club Organizer and travel lover...

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