I overdid the on-line dating thing and am now in recovery. I have killed off my avatar of amour, my doppelgänger of dating. I am no longer on any sites, my phone is quiet, and I have stopped over-using the emoji library. Since we are mortal and I hate to think it was all a waste of time, here is what I learned from being Ladywriter99 on Tinder, Plenty of Fish, J-Date and OK Vapid.
1. I’m not a Commodity
Meeting new prospects required serious maintenance. No dirty nails from gardening. Dieting to remain at my “fighting weight.” No postponing appointments with my (ahem) hair colorist.
One Harley-driving fellow suggested I put up hotter pictures on my dating profile. Perhaps in heels and a tight black dress because I looked too girl-next-door. It’s hard to think of yourself as merchandise. Although it’s probably realistic.
One of my girlfriends met her soul mate within a few weeks of going on-line. She gloated “I don’t stay on the market for long!” I contemplated my far longer time “on the market,” i.e. Plenty of Fish, and felt like a cut-rate flounder. Maybe I should discount myself.
Enough. No more marketing myself to strangers. I groom less. I’ve stopped wearing eye make up. I eat lots of carrot cake. I’m in a happier place.
2. My Time is valuable
Even for an unemployed slacker like me, on-line dating takes a lot of time. Some guys proposed a first meeting on a day they claimed to have free time, saying they’d text me that day with the meeting time. And that day, I heard….nothing.
After I’d arranged my day so I wouldn’t be covered in gardening dirt or exercise sweat around the meet up. Which never happened. I hadn’t insisted on a set time because I wanted to seem flexible and chill. Actually, I am rigid and high-strung. If you don’t want to meet me, just say so. I’m a writer, I can deal with rejection.
3. Dating and Regurgitation Do not Mix
After a few first dates with the “not yet emotionally processed” divorced, I started to feel like Miss Lonelyhearts. This is a date. I won’t tell you about my acid stomach problems. Please don’t discuss your money-grubbing ex-wife, who didn’t appreciate you, and/or had an affair with your exterminator. After listening for awhile, I start to question YOUR judgment skills.
One otherwise charming fellow insisted on discussing “The Women who Ruined His Life” in excruciating detail. Like to understand him, I needed a topological map of his past relationships. Um…no.
And yes, I did used go on too much about my late husband. I’m working on that.
4. I’m Good at Meeting Strange Men for Vapid Exchanges
I was with my late husband for thirty-two years. After he died, I planned to melt into my sofa in a haze of dark chocolate gelato and Nicholas Sparks movies. I’d be the woman in the bourbon-stained bathrobe buying the giant, economy Bombay Sapphire gin and twelve Butterfingers at Bevmo.
But I “got out there.” Too much.
Still, I enjoyed the process. Most of the time. Having two or three meet-ups in one day, my multi-tasking skills improved. I can simultaneously text, e-mail, eat pre-made kale soup (fighting weight) and watch “Californication”!
Maybe this will prepare me for job interviews. Probably not. But I did feel socially adept. And resilient. Which is far better than isolated without options. Good bye for now, Ladywriter99.
You can find more from Debbie at www.thehungoverwidow.com.