As a 7-year veteran of online dating, I have made a lot of observations about dating, men, life and relationships.
I had my very first online dating experience in 2003. Back then I was a bright-eyed, naïve, inexperienced young woman, determined to find a man, and in short order! I was completely trusting of people; if their profile said such-and-such, well then, it had to be true!
In these years of online dating, I have been lied to, stood up, cursed out; have been the recipient of nasty emails and text messages that would make a truck driver blush, have been led on and dumped, have had men initiate unwanted phone, text and cyber sex, have walked out on dates and had them walk out on me, have conversed for weeks and had the other party disappear without explanation, (and two years later ask me out again) and other experiences I have since blocked out in my mind as a coping mechanism.
My very first online date’s profile said he was single, made over $100k a year as horse trainer, lived in a house alone and was all around just a great guy. Awesome! By our third date, he admitted that in reality, he had previously been homeless in New York City for 6 years, lived with his ex-girlfriend in her basement until she could get rid of him, didn’t have a job, car, or a driver’s license. And those were his good points. He was addicted to prescription painkillers, had a thing for porn, was a gambling addict, and was a pathological liar.
One date met me at an Italian restaurant. Our waitress came over after the meal and announced his credit card had been declined. I didn’t have enough money to pay the bill and I sure wasn’t going to do dishes. He seemed a little weird anyway what with the mumbling to himself and all, so I excused myself, went to the ladies room, and began crawling through the ventilation system so I could make my escape without him seeing me.
One thirty-something woman watched me with amusement, commenting, “Bad date, huh?”
Another date began crying over his angel hair pasta. His wife just left him and they’d been married for 22 years. I tried to console him, assuring him he was a great guy. He speed-dialed his psychologist and spent 45 minutes on the phone with him, until I finally realized there was no one on the other end.
Again I excused myself, escaping through the kitchen, but he was outside heading towards my car. Luckily, a police car was driving past and I flagged him down. I just said, “Bad date!” He said, “Hop on in” and he took me home.
Then there was the 5-hour trip to western Ohio to meet a guy who I’d been chatting online with for about 6 weeks. It really seemed promising. When I stepped out of the car he seemed hesitant to come over.
“I thought you were blond and 5 feet 2 inches?” my date said.
“I never said that. I thought you were Caucasian and at least 4 feet tall?”
Unruffled after years of dating abuse, I shrugged my shoulders, calmly got back in my car and said, “See ya.”
After a while it just came full circle. I no longer cared if I was lied to, or if they were featured on America’s Most Wanted. I wasn’t looking for a man to marry; I was merely meeting new people and out to have fun.
One New Year’s Eve I was set to go out with a guy for the first time. I got ready, full on makeup, high heels and sexy dress. When I arrived at our appointed destination, I noticed he was dressed well too – in drag. I wasn’t going to let that spoil the fun of a good New Year’s Eve!
So now it just kind of goes like this as I sit down with my first date:
“So what’s your deal? Did you cheat on your wife, shoot her lover, break out of prison, or rob an old lady? Are you a closet homosexual? Or are you a druggie with 19 kids in 12 different states?
Mostly they just gaze at me with their head cocked and they become speechless. Some walk out. Some of them laugh and say, “Yeah, I was just going to ask you pretty much the same thing.” Those are the ones I get along with best; seasoned dating veterans like me who have even worse stories to tell; those who have been crushed, trampled, scorched and tortured by this wonderful experience of internet dating.
I must go — another date waits.